Staring at the Sun

Irvin Yalom delves into the ultimate existential concern, and how therapists can help clients in facing death anxiety.


From the author of the best-selling Love's Executioner, The Gift of Therapy, and When Nietzsche Wept comes a book that confronts the most demanding challenge we all face: overcoming the terror of death.

Written in Irv Yalom's inimitable story-telling style, Staring at the Sun is a profoundly encouraging approach to the universal issue of mortality. In this opus, capping a lifetime of work and personal experience, Dr. Yalom helps us recognize that the fear of death is at the heart of much of our anxiety. Such recognition is often catalyzed by an "awakening experience"—a dream, or loss (the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job or home), illness, trauma, or aging.

Once we confront our own mortality, Dr. Yalom writes, we are inspired to rearrange our priorities, communicate more deeply with those we love, appreciate more keenly the beauty of life, and increase our willingness to take the risks necessary for personal fulfillment.

Filled with touching personal stories of people who are grappling with the terror of death—including the author—Staring at the Sun offers specific methods to cope with terror and is ultimately life affirming. Most important, Dr. Yalom encourages us to strive for more direct engagement with others. Compassionate connection, combined with the wisdom of the great thinkers who have wrestled with mortality, enables us to overcome the terror of death and lead happier, more meaningful lives.


New York Times

“Yalom is the Scheherazade of the couch, his work a marvelous exercise in storytelling.”

Rollo May

“Irvin Yalom writes like an angel about the devils that besiege us.”

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