I was delighted to be asked to summarize this work – giving me the opportunity to situate the book, both with respect to the history of ideas, especially in psychoanalysis, and with respect to current trends and decisions in psychological treatment.

Kelsey has identified a personal problem, the fear of failure, and – I think rightly – argues that this has a mass base. Certainly, the current zeitgeist of endless choice and “reaching for success” encourages this, and encourages writers such as Kelsey to tackle it. Yet he actually taps into a rich tradition going back to 5th-century BC Greece.

The people of Plato’s Athens were depressed because they had lost sight of what was good for them and were ...

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