On Giving Up (Hardcover)

On Giving Up By Adam Phillips Cover Image
Currently Not Available In Store - Usually Available for Shipping, In-Store Pickup, or Curbside Pickup in 1-5 Days


From acclaimed psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, a meditation on what we must give up to feel more alive.

To give up or not to give up?

The question can feel inescapable but the answer is never simple.

Giving up our supposed vices is one thing; giving up on life itself is quite another. One form of self-sacrifice feels positive, something to admire and aspire to, while the other is profoundly unsettling, if not actively undesirable.

There are always, it turns out, both good and bad sacrifices, but it is not always clear beforehand which is which. We give something up because we believe we can no longer go on as we are. In this sense, giving up is a critical moment—an attempt to make a different future.

In On Giving Up, the acclaimed psychoanalyst Adam Phillips illuminates both the gaps and the connections between the many ways of giving up and helps us to address the central question: What must we give up in order to feel more alive?

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.

Praise For…

“Phillips has rendered the term ‘giving up’ spacious and flexible, having woven together psychology and literature to reveal suggestive points of contact . . . Phillips makes an ambitious case: that giving up is as important to our psychological well-being as hope and love are . . . The best form of giving up, it seems, may just be to take up a book.”
—Sarah Moorhouse, Los Angeles Review of Books

“One of the most arresting things about Adam Phillips’s work is how it resists easy summary, dissolving into a trace memory the moment you try to describe it. . . . Phillips doesn’t try to prevent us from thinking whatever it is that we want to think; what he does is repeatedly coax us to ask if that’s what we really believe, and how we can be sure.”
—Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times (An Editors' Choice)

“Phillips continues to find inspiration in Freud—not only the provocative concepts, but the allowances for speculation in Freud’s language . . . The connectivity between his observations carries a certain charge, an impetus to be curious rather than strictly determined about and by our wants.”
—Ron Slate, On the Seawall

“If this collection marks the beginning of Phillips’ late style, we have a lot to look forward to.”

“A thought-provokingly cerebral meditation.”
Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374614140
ISBN-10: 0374614148
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: March 26th, 2024
Pages: 160
Language: English