The Examined Life

  • by Stephen Grosz
  • Narrated by Peter Marinker
  • 5 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

We are all storytellers - through stories, we make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales. There must be someone to listen. In his work as a psychoanalyst, Stephen Grosz has spent the last 25 years uncovering the hidden feelings behind our most baffling behaviour.
The Examined Life distils over 50,000 hours of conversation into pure psychological insight, without the jargon. This extraordinary book is about one ordinary process: talking, listening, and understanding. Its aphoristic and elegant stories teach us a new kind of attentiveness. They also unveil a delicate self-portrait of the analyst at work, and show how lessons learned in the consulting room can reveal as much to him as to the patient. These are stories about our everyday lives: about the people we love and the lies that we tell; the changes we bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves but how we might find ourselves, too.


What the Critics Say

"I couldn't put this down-I read about other people, but learned about myself at the same time. Real stories can be so much more fascinating than fictional ones, especially with Stephen Grosz. No preaching, no clichés-just wisdom." (Victoria Hislop )

"Grosz's vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare illuminating fiction... It is this combination of tenacious detective work, remarkable compassion and sheer, unending curiosity for the oddities of the human heart that makes these stories utterly captivating."
( Sunday Times)

"Excellent. this book arrives like a box of chocolates. Thirty-one elegantly presented chapters which, when you bite into them, each reveals something sweet, rich or crunchy. Every one of these case histories bears repeating. All offer worthwhile insights." (Susanna Rustin The Guardian)

"Brilliant.. Grosz is a superb writer, yes, but it is the stories his patients tell him that really make you marvel. An elegant, jargon-free expedition into the secret business of our minds written with such wisdom and kindness. After reading [Grosz's] absorbing accounts of his patients' journeys you might feel that The Examined Life ought to be given out free at birth" (Melissa Katsoulis The Times)

"A fine and moving book... The tact, patience and understatement, which are particular components of Grosz's wisdom, remind the reader that this writer's insights and empathy result from thousands of hours with patients. This book is not polemical literature. nor is it an academic work or a popular self-help book. It is a true literary work and a very modern one." (Jewish Chronicle)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I first heard some of the chapters from this when it was broadcast as Radio 4's book of the week and was so impressed that I had to download the audiobook. It is definitely my listen of the year so far. I loved the insights into people's lives and behaviour and the reasons offered for why we do the things we do really resonated with me. This is beautifully written and the narrator absolutely does justice to the writing with the slow, hypnotic reading. Stephen Grosz' words have stayed with me long after listening. An absolute must for anyone interested in the human experience.
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- Saffy

Great listen, Great Narrator

Really enjoyed this, very different from what I'd normally listen to. There is about 30 stories in here, allowing you to listen in to peoples lives for a while, very engaging. I also loved the narration, it was almost hypnotic which really suited the audiobook.
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- James

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-01-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios