• The Middle Passage

  • From Misery to Meaning in Midlife
  • By: Dr. James Hollis
  • Narrated by: James Hollis
  • Length: 4 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (576 ratings)

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The Middle Passage

By: Dr. James Hollis
Narrated by: James Hollis
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Publisher's Summary

Author James Hollis' eloquent reading provides the listener with an accessible and yet profound understanding of a universal condition - or what is commonly referred to as the mid-life crisis. The book shows how we may travel this Middle Passage consciously, thereby rendering our lives more meaningful and the second half of life immeasurably richer.
©1993 Dr. James Hollis (P)2004 BMA Studios

Critic Reviews

"With a calm tone and a friendly voice, Hollis leads listeners through this perilous period and advises on ways to negotiate it." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about The Middle Passage

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Briliant in every way

When I was 37 I quit my entrepreneurial career to become a film director.
The world thought I was "LA-LA" and at times I thought the same. THis is the book that made me understand my path. I read it twice in the last 2 weeks and I feel I just scrached the surface.

My wife, an avid Jungien, stole my IPOD to listen since her's broke down.
Now we can talk Jung for the first time...

Great book

Mitch

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Where would we be without Hollis?

For those of you who had a perfect upbringing and are now surrounded by understanding and supportive friends and family and feel perfect contentment, this book may not be of value. But for the rest of us, it's priceless. Hollis reassures that discontent and confusion at midlife is not only normal, they are opportunities to enter a necessary phase of maturation. And for those of us who, because of acculturation, find ourselves and our impulses particularly challenging in this "dark forest" (to quote Dante), James Hollis provides a map, a flashlight, and breadcrumbs enough to find the trailhead.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly good

I'm in my early fifties, and have always taken self-help type books with a grain of salt. But for the most part this was a rational and logical explanation of the psychological changes we progress through as we age. I had quite a few 'ah-ha moments.'

I think most anyone 40+ yrs old would get something out of this, but particularly those with a less than ideal upbringing. It's sobering to know how long a dysfunctional background affects you all through life, something I was well aware of before listening to this audio book.

The author talks about a 'second adulthood' we experience later in life, and in doing so he put a name to what I have been experiencing myself during the past few years. Namely, yet another layer of the onion being peeled back in an effort to live an authentic life with less baggage.

The narrator/author is a psychologist, after all, so don't expect a lively telling. But the sound quality is good and the substance even better, so personally I wasn't put off by that. It's deep stuff, so I found myself listening to it a little at a time so that I could digest it all.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Roadmap for Midlife

Whether you have arrived at a turning point in your life due to a traumatic event or are just looking for ways to relieve a gnawing sense of boredom, this book is for you. Dr. Hollis does an eloquent job of explaining where we are on the map of life while not making the reader feel like everything up to this point has been a mistake. His descriptions of the ruts, pitfalls and misconceptions that we sometimes all face encourage the reader to more closely examine his/her past from new perspectives. His examples from case studies are relevant and nicely integrated with the narrative of each psychological theory. He identifies the milestones on the road to our second adulthood in a way that is encouraging while still emphasizing that true change does not come easy.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

I have read all James Hollis's books, being an avid Jungian scholar, but I found him reading this book, particularly useful. I have learnt so much over the last few weeks, listening to it. Not everyone will enjoy this book though - if you are unable to reflect soberly on your life and childhood, you won't be able to recognise how much of your childhood you are still reflecting in your middle years.

Now I just need Audible to make What Matters Most available to current members. It is a book that you can get when you join, but I can't find it on the site, and have contacted them repeatedly about it, with no results. A friend of mine joined last night to get this new member offer, but when he had joined, the book was suddenly nowhere to be found.

Perhaps this review will be read and taken note of.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful news for journeying the Middle Passage

What did you love best about The Middle Passage?

I'm still listening to it. I keep going back over thing Dr Hollis says as it seems to reasonable and worthy to skim over. I need to hear it again and again to make sure it sinks in. This is advice and depth of emotional knowledge at it's best.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I love that it's the man himself reading to us.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

I love the section on projection. It gives me a clearer understanding of why we sometimes can't help ourselves become free of the stuff that keeps us locked into patterns of damage and sadness.
A wonderful book.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good info but boring narration

I enjoyed the content of this book, and I liked the various anecdotes and illustrations. However, it is fairly heavy on the Jungian concepts and jargon, so at times it seemed rather abstract and hard to follow on an audio basis.

Also, the narrator has an even, expression-less style that perhaps is useful because it conveys no judgment -- but it also conveys no excitement or interest. Indeed, my player (the Audible app for iPhone) would go right from one chapter into the next without even a pause.

Perhaps would be better to read in print?

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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If Jung/myth is your lodestone, this is for you!

What made the experience of listening to The Middle Passage the most enjoyable?

Authors grasp of myth and story. Of how depression or losing one's way is both suffering
and possibility; humiliation and salvation.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Middle Passage?

His use of poetry and literature to help the listener better understand the inner journey of discovering and living a more meaningful life.

What does James Hollis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His passion and warmth. Yet, a calmness of experience.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

That if one can endure and engage one's own life, change is possible.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent book on the mid-life passage

Any additional comments?

This book was assigned for a graduate level psychology course on lifespan development. It was red by the author, and was a fantastic overview of the mid-life passage, which drew on poetry and literary works, and was very well done.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Appetizers

If This by Janes Hollis doesn’t wet your whistle and rouse your palate for more and deeper Jungian reading or personal work don’t waste your money, just keep eating TV dinners and fast food.

He appropriately draws in a fair bot of poetry which is a fitting metaphor for his amazing ability to distill vast volumes of knowledge into sutras that are, at once, mundane threads holding our daily garments together and yarns spun from Jason’s Golden Fleece.

A midlife stone polished toward its essential center by rough waters becomes more whole through subtraction.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • 01-18-10

Brilliant

This is a great book. It's such a pleasure to listen to a complete masterpiece such as this. If you are a bit on the clever side and are looking for something intelligent to get your teeth into at the same time as enlightening yourself about midlife, this is the book for you. It's full of poetry and literature as well as indirect guidance for those suffering the traumas and depression that come with a midlife crisis. This book really has changed the whole way I look at things and dragged me out of a dark place. It's given me hope and also motivation to look forward in a way that I never considered before. For the first time I think that the second half of my life could actually be better than the first half!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Suzanne
  • 07-03-10

The Middle Passage

One of my favourite books now read by the author, who is warm and human. This book was a life line for me and is now like a friend on my ipod. Delightful.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 01-17-19

Better than years of therapy

I learnt more about my life in this book than I have in years of therapy. In this book James Hollis lays out a clear map on which we can navigate where we are, why we aren't somewhere else and why that may or may not be important. It is not a rah-rah self help book. It is more like a travel guide, explaining where you find yourself and things you may wish to explore. It is a masterpiece.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nory S.
  • 12-11-16

Hard going

Topic was something Im extremely interested in at the present time but the language used makes it difficult to pay close attention.

I'm reasonably well read academically but the author lost me at critical times by using fancy words and terminology. Makes this book more of a slog than it should be.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Alan
  • 09-26-10

THE MIDDLE PASSAGE

I was disappointed in this book as it came highly recommended. I found it monotonus and somewhat boring. If you are looking for something along the same lines, I would recommend Dale Carnegies book on Worrying as it is a far more intriguing book. Unfortunately for me The Middle Passage was a let down.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Konstantin
  • 07-10-21

interesting but no practical advice

really great book to read. I though wishe there were more practical advice in chapter 6. There are only few reference to Jung practices.

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  • Gary
  • 02-09-21

Truly life changing. You must read this book.

I found this book through Audible, searching for "mid life". James Hollis, (Ph.D) explains, in the most powerful sense imaginable why we struggle so much in mid life, and how we can use that suffering as the fuel for changing our entire conception of ourselves, others, our world and the very essence of life itself. While also illuminating how we might find true meaning in life. If I was only able to ever read one book in my life this would be my choice. I can not recommend this book highly enough. I have 153 audio books in my audible account, and this is the first review I ever submitted. The printed book (smaller than I imagined), is also available on Amazon, I recommend that as well as it is great to read the numerous poetic passages the author also refers to, and for ease of noting down the many powerful points the author makes. The book is narrated by the author and the narration is world class. Congratulations on finding this audio book, if you are at a stage in your life where you are looking to move forward through mid life (regardless of your actual age), you have found the best place to start right here. This book is a true gift to humanity.

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  • DeeDee
  • 12-24-20

Wish I'd read this years ago!

Amazing from start to finish. The familiar & the eye opening of aha moments & clarifies why we do what we do & how to move forwards from it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-09-20

Essential reading

Excellent book and still as urgent and relevant as ever. James Hollis’s entire bibliography is worth looking into as the different books help analyse different aspects of our journey. This one, his first, is a classic and sets the high standard for his later work.

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  • K Parmar
  • 10-11-20

Insight from the Anima herself

James Hollis again provides a super analysis on midlife. This alongside Through the Dark Wood are amazing must reads for anyone trying to get a grip on their psychological life. I too have a lost a child who died suddenly after being run over at 3 years old and his books have given me incredible solace that no grief councillor could ever provide. Thank you. And the books are read wonderfully by Dr Hollis.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-13-17

Life-changing

Very good and challenging book l totally recommend it you won't be the same again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-20-22

life affirming

beautifully expressed and readily received
this is a highly recommended listen
for the searchers