On Getting Better – Adam Phillips

On Wanting to Change

From the UK’s foremost literary psychoanalyst, a dazzling new book on the universal urge to change our lives.

We live in a world in which we are invited to change—to become our best selves through politics, or fitness, or diet, or therapy. We change all the time—growing older and older—and how we think about change changes over time too.

We want to think of our lives as progress myths—as narratives of positive personal growth—at the same time as we inevitably age and suffer setbacks.

Adam Phillips’s sparkling book On Wanting to Change explores the stories we tell about change, and the changes we actually make—and the fact that they don’t always go, or come, together.

On Getting Better

On Getting Better is a thoughtful and compact book about self-improvement from Britain’s leading psychoanalyst, author of Missing Out and On Kindness.

To talk about getting better—about wanting to change in ways that we might choose and prefer—is to talk about pursuing the life we want, in the full knowledge that our pictures of the life we want, of our version of a good life, come from what we have already experienced. (We write the sentences we write because of the sentences we have read.)

How can we talk differently about how we might want to change, knowing that all change precipitates us into an uncertain future? In this companion book to On Wanting to Change, Adam Phillips explores how we might get better at talking about what it is to get better.