A pioneering and timely study of how to navigate life's biggest transitions with meaning, purpose, and skill
Bruce Feiler, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Secrets of Happy Families and Council of Dads, has long explored the stories that give our lives meaning. Galvanized by a personal crisis, he spent the last few years crisscrossing the country, collecting hundreds of life stories in all fifty states from Americans who’d been through major life changes—from losing jobs to losing loved ones; from changing careers to changing relationships; from getting sober to getting healthy to simply looking for a fresh start. He then spent a year coding these stories, identifying patterns and takeaways that can help all of us survive and thrive in times of change.
What Feiler discovered was a world in which transitions are becoming more plentiful and mastering the skills to manage them is more urgent for all of us. The idea that we’ll have one job, one relationship, one source of happiness is hopelessly outdated. We all feel unnerved by this upheaval. We’re concerned that our lives are not what we expected, that we’ve veered off course, living life out of order. But we’re not alone.
Life Is in the Transitions introduces the fresh, illuminating vision of the nonlinear life, in which each of us faces dozens of disruptors. One in ten of those becomes what Feiler calls a lifequake, a massive change that leads to a life transition. The average length of these transitions is five years. The upshot: We all spend half our lives in this unsettled state. You or someone you know is going through one now.
The most exciting thing Feiler identified is a powerful new tool kit for navigating these pivotal times. Drawing on his extraordinary trove of insights, he lays out specific strategies each of us can use to reimagine and rebuild our lives, often stronger than before.
From a master storyteller with an essential message, Life Is in the Transitions can move readers of any age to think deeply about times of change and how to transform them into periods of creativity and growth.
About the Author
Bruce Feiler is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including The Secrets of Happy Families, The Council of Dads, and Walking the Bible. He's the writer/presenter of two primetime series on PBS, and his two TED Talks have been viewed more than two million times. A native of Savannah, Georgia, Bruce lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Linda Rottenberg, and their twin daughters.
“One of those books that’s so profoundly aligned with the zeitgeist that you end up underlining the whole book. . . . Bruce Feiler is the perfect person to lead us on this journey.” —Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global
“This is a remarkably poignant read about the pivotal moments in our lives. Bruce Feiler gets to the heart of how turning points shape us—and how we can shape them. The wisdom and stories in this book will change the way you tell your own story.” —Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
“Crammed with cutting-edge research and compelling real-world examples, Life Is in the Transitions provides a framework of striking originality that explodes with thought-provoking insights. It has profound implications for how we view and handle the transitions—voluntary and involuntary—that increasingly disrupt our lives. And it’s one of the rare books that is a pleasure to read in the moment and impossible to forget once you’ve finished the last page.” —Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project and The Four Tendencies “I don’t know what’s more astonishing, the range of stories Bruce Feiler has found in asking people about their lives, or the wisdom he extracts from them. There is no more powerful reminder that the stories we inherit define success—and that definition constantly needs updating. This beautiful book is an indispensable guide to accepting change—as it really is, rather than what it’s supposed to be—and becoming who we really are.” —Charles Duhigg, author of bestsellers The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
“Life Is in the Transitions is essential reading for anyone in the act of becoming—which is to say, all of us. Timely, wise and ultimately uplifting, the 15th book from Savannah native and self-described ‘lifestorian’ Bruce Feiler (The Council of Dads) offers an insightful, pragmatic toolkit for navigating the unexpected, uncertain and often upending disruptions of our lives, and for rewriting the next chapters in our ever-changing stories.” —Charleston Post & Courier
“[Feiler] offers in this insightful work timely suggestions for anyone adapting to significant life changes . . . He also presents evidence discrediting the notion of the midlife crisis and demonstrates that everyone’s life contains multiple significant ‘upheavals and uncertainties,’ which should thus be accepted as normal, contrary to conventional wisdom. The findings buttress practical suggestions for responding to major change, including identifying emotions, giving up old mindsets, testing alternatives, and seeking help from others. This logical, persuasive resource will resonate with any self-help reader.” —Publishers Weekly
“This highly recommended title couldn’t be more timely. . . . Feiler details a model for life transitions based on thousands of interviews with people from all walks of life and tells readers how to memorialize changes and give up old mind-sets. A helpful bonus is the complete outline for writing one’s own story or that of others.” —Library Journal
“An engaging consideration of how people navigate the highs and lows in their lives . . . [Feiler’s] relaxed, informal style is reassuring, and the numerous anecdotes gleaned from his wide variety of interview subjects keep the narrative fresh. His encouraging counsel will appeal to many.” —Booklist
“In Life Is in the Transitions, Bruce Feiler listens to, synthesizes, and helps make meaning of the American story at this complicated moment. With a big, open heart, he helps us all better understand our own stories, what it means to be human and how to navigate challenges and change. Along the way, he powerfully reminds us of the singular importance of honoring each other’s stories and lives through listening.” —Dave Isay, founder, Storycorps
"Bruce Feiler has a real knack for helping us see what is not obvious but is right in front of our eyes. In this clear, terrifically compelling book, full of instructive examples, he names and describes the ‘lifequake’ personal transitions that affect so many of us today and offers genuine wisdom, valuable counsel, and moving inspiration that make the journey easier. Read this book to open your eyes and lighten your heart!” —William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes and author of Getting to Yes with Yourself