On Balance (Paperback)
Every day, we are told that balance is a good thing. We are supposed to make balanced judgments, balance our budget, and preserve a balance of power in our government. Disturbed people are described as unbalanced. In this insightful, charming book, the philosopher and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips looks afresh at balance (and its shadow, excess) and asks if achieving the former is such an admirable goal. From this perspective, Phillips examines the explosive topics of money, sex, parenthood, faith, and education. In his exhilarating and casually brilliant explorations of case studies, fairy tales, works of art, and literature, the paradoxes inherent in our appetites and fears are revealed.
About the Author
Adam Phillips is one of the foremost psychoanalysts practicing in the world today, and a visiting professor in the English department at the University of York. He is the author of many books, including On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored; and On Balance. He is also coauthor, with the historian Barbara Taylor, of On Kindness.
“A refreshing, invigorating experience…Adam Phillips is one of the richest and most rewarding essayists of our time.” —Los Angeles Times
“Highly pragmatic…Phillips's authority as a writer comes in no small part from his own experience as a highly regarded therapist….Like a priest, he is concerned with damnation and salvation, under the secular names of sickness and cure.” —Adam Kirsch, The Boston Globe
“Transformative…Phillips can tease out contradictions with extraordinary delicacy….He shows that pleasure and desire are not simple; they can be feared…and used to hide things we should really see.” —The Guardian (London)
“Gently provocative reading on themes of need and desire…Phillips's ideas are fresh and inventive, casting new light on counterintuitive topics from the psychological importance of punishment to the questionable pursuit of happiness.” —Financial Times
“A set of beguiling essays…the author provides polished ponderables for all readers.” —Kirkus Reviews