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Bookmarks

Disrupters and Lifequakes: Moving Through the Big Transitions

By Diane Cole

September/October 2020


Review: Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age. By Bruce Feiler. Penguin Press. 366 pages.

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Bestselling author Bruce Feiler researched and wrote his newest book, Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age, before COVID-19 emerged and upended the world. But its subject is spot on for this moment: a journey through the psychological skills necessary to adapt, reshape, and reinvent one’s life after loss, trauma, or, um, an unforeseen calamity such as a worldwide pandemic.

And so, as we swim through waves of havoc in the world right now, how lifesaving are the tips, tools, and case histories Feiler presents to help keep us psychologically afloat? It’s likely that therapists will be familiar with most of the coping strategies he outlines. At the same time, clients and other readers might benefit from using his book as a supplemental guide or motivational prompt for seeking out additional ideas on how to adapt to life’s unexpected transitions, including the new normal that’s continuing to unfold around us.

Feiler takes his title from the American psychologist William James (1842–1910), who asserted that the real stuff of life lies not in the smooth stretches of our years, but “in the transitions,” the traumas and challenges that spur…

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