Irvin Yalom is an author whose best-selling trade books and novels tell compelling, dramatic, and illuminating stories that give readers that "aha" moment where each of us can say "yes that's me...I've felt that too...And now I understand something new that brings it all home..."
At 74, Yalom's new trade book is the climax of his lifework, focusing on the universal human issues of mortality and death. He suggests that what he calls the "awakening experience" can help us acknowledge, accept, and utilize our fear of death in a very positive manner. Such an awakening experience can be as simple as a dream, or quick as a sudden insight. It is often a loss (getting fired, divorce, having to move), a trauma (9/11, natural disasters, accidents), the death of a loved one, a personal illness, the illness of a child, terminal disease, or just plain aging.
Yalom shows us how such an awakening experience can be the turning point for a more meaningful life, how people can make lasting and definitive changes in their lives after they expose their fear of death, rearrange their priorities, recognize their power to choose, communicate more deeply with those they love, appreciate more keenly the elemental beauty and value of life and eliminate interpersonal fears of rejection, and increase a willingness to take risks for personal fulfillment and a life filled with love.
This is a book with tremendous utility, including methods and technique for dealing with the most prevalent kinds of fear of death: that which is hidden and appears to be other problems, the common feeling of never having fulfilled one's dream (start now, he says, it's not too late), living in the here and now, and what he calls "rippling" or appreciating the influence and impact we all have that has a life beyond our own.