November 13

Review: Becoming Myself

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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First, let me explain the picture. Usually I just get the stock photo of the book cover from the web. But for this book I took. Picture of the book, along with other Yalom authored books I own (and there are at least two others I read but can’t find, likely because I lent them, “On the Couch” and “The Gift of Therapy”). In addition to my collection of Yalom books, there is a mug visible on the shelf given to me by someone I mentor. It’s there because of its direction to be more like me you need to do several things, one of which is, “Read and Breathe Yalom”. The point I hope you are already aware of is, I love Yalom.

As for this book, an autobiography of his life as this master existential therapist nears death, well it isn’t one of my favorites. Let me cover what I didn’t like first. When you have someone as prominent a figure as Yalom writing his autobiography, it must be difficult to avoid sounding self-aggrandizing. There are parts when I cringed internally at what I felt was self-aggrandizement. Cognitively I’d challenge it, noting his prominence and, as I said, how difficult it must be not to sound like you’re patting yourself on the back. I’m also aware that Maslow (a prominent theorist about reaching one’s full potential) felt that the fear of standing out from the crowd makes many people act with false humility, and it held them back, so they never even achieve their greatness. So, congratulations to Dr. Yalom on all his accomplishments, honors, travels, and relationships with prominent theorists. But some of it made me recoil a bit.

I also found some just an analog of what he’s done. As someone who attempts to write and has winced at his own retelling of events as dry and cumbersome, perhaps I get the difficulty in explaining some history of one’s life that isn’t gripping. Perhaps, because I love his writing so much, I expected too much.

What I loved about the book were the stories behind the books he’s written. Many of the chapters are titles of books, and he explains some of the inspiration and other factors that went into the book. Another aspect I loved was getting more insight into a man I hold in the highest regard. I enjoyed learning about his life.

 

Overall I recommend the book if you have any regard for Yalom and his work.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 at 9:48 PM and is filed under Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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