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"Staring at the Sun: A Book Review on Finding Peace and Reflecting on Mortality in Just 1 Minute

Staring At The Sun: Being At Peace With Your Own Mortality – by Dr. Irvin Yalom

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A quick note first: there are two editions of this book; the content is the same, but the cover is different. So if in your region it has a bright yellow cover and the subtitle is the excitable “Overcoming The Terror Of Death” rather than the more measured “Being At Peace With Your Own Mortality”, that is why; different regional publishers made different choices.

For most of us, dying is the last thing we want to do. We may fear it; we may ignore it; we may try to beat it—but it’s a constant existential threat whether we want it or not.

This book is about “death anxiety”, either direct (conscious fear of impending death) or sublimated (not necessarily realising what we’re avoiding thinking about it). In its broadest sense, the fear of death can be described as rational. But angst about it probably won’t help, so this book looks to help us overcome that.

The style of the book is largely anecdotal, in which the author uses examples from his therapeutic practice to illustrate ways in which the fear of death can manifest, and ways in which it can be managed healthily.

Subjective criticism: while this author developed existential therapy, many of the ideas in this book lean heavily on the psychodynamic approach derived from Freud, and this reviewer isn’t a fan of that. But nevertheless, many of the examples here are thought-provoking and useful, so it is not too strong a criticism.

Bottom line: there are many ways to manage one’s mortality, and this book brings attention to a range of possibilities.

Click here to check out Staring At The Sun, and manage your mortality!

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