Life, and How to Survive it

Life, and How to Survive it

Paperback

By (author) Robin Skynner, By (author) John Cleese, Illustrated by Bud Handelsman

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  • Publisher: Mandarin
  • Format: Paperback | 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 30mm | 358g
  • Publication date: 24 June 1996
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0749323205
  • ISBN 13: 9780749323202
  • Illustrations note: 1
  • Sales rank: 56,213

Product description

Brilliantly entertaining, enlightening and inspiring, Robin Skynner and John Cleese take on the big issue: life, and the challenge of living, in all its myriad forms. This book is an essential guide to surviving life's ups and downs - at home or in the workplace, as a member of a family or society. Presented in the same lively style as the best-selling Families and How to Survive Them, Life extends Skynner's and Cleese's study beyond the family to relationships and group interaction in life outside it. The book deals with such pithy issues as: -Why life gives you all the lessons you need, -How grief can be good for you, -Why work is essential to our psychological health, -What mid-life crisis means for you. We are all searching for healthier, happier, more satisfying lives, but it's the journey that matters, not the destination. Skynner and Cleese are the perfect travelling companions.

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Author information

Robin Skynner qualified in medicine at University College Hospital, London. He has been a pioneer in group and family techniques of treatment and one of the founders of both the Institute of Group Analysis and Institute of Family Therapy (London). John Cleese was born in 1939 in Weston-Super-Mare. He studied Law at Cambridge University and has a successful career in comedy, theatre and film and television. He attended Robin Skynner's therapy group in the mid-seventies and encouraged him to make his knowledge and techniques available to the wider public.

Review quote

"Breathtaking... On every page of Life and How to Survive It you will find insights that will cut straight to the heart of your own life" Daily Mail

Editorial reviews

You'd think Monty Python creator Cleese tackling health, happiness, and life after death would make for hilarious reading. Well, think again. Cleese and family therapist Skynner have followed their successful Families and How to Survive Them (not reviewed) with a dialogue on healthy mental living. The gist of their theory boils down to the need for the parent and child in each of us to be well integrated and flexible. In a rote repartee that consists of leading questions and summations, Cleese and Skynner apply their psychological analysis to individuals, families, corporations, nations, and societies. But even with ITT and Karl Marx on the proverbial couch, Cleese's occasional jokes fall flat. Bud Handelsman's cartoons, which depend too heavily on the text, provide the only comic edge - for while the give and take of discussion might be invaluable in therapy, it is tiresome to read. The book's rambling format is all the more distressing because some of Cleese and Skynner's points are solid. They touch on everything from child rearing to the recipe for happy marriage, as well as grief, work fulfillment, near-death experiences, the Holocaust, and the current mayhem in Somalia. They cite an equally wide a range of sources, from a 30-year study of Harvard students to Plato, Coleridge, and Dale Carnegie. Many of their conclusions - e.g., that sexual experience before marriage can demystify sex and prevent conjugal infidelity, or that strong, hands-off leadership makes for both good business and happy families - are poppsych boilerplate. But Skynner's clinical experience gives such basic comments a bit more heft than they usually receive in popular magazines and on talk shows. If the "Parent" in the authors had been firmer with the "Child" and insisted on heavy editing and strong shaping, this work might have moved beyond self-help mediocrity. (Kirkus Reviews)