s, has powerful and unexplored implications for the human family as a whole.The survivors I see in my practice have known undistilled fear, have seenhow nakedly terrifying life can be, and in many cases have seen how starklyugly their fellow human beings can be. Listening to their stories, no one atall could be surprised that they consider the possibility of not going on. Ina struggle with the power of their past experiences, even the biological imperative to survive is puny.No. Their choosing to die would not be surprising. What is so extraordinaryabout these people is that they choose to live-not just to not die, not just to survive, but to live.Why this choice gets made, and how it gets put into practice, are two of themost interesting personal, psychological, and philosophical questions I can conceive of. And one of the greatest privileges of my life has been to know the people who are my patients, to be able to sit with them, to be a part of their lives for a while, and with grateful and undisguised self-interest, to listen. For I have become convinced that these courageous people, in winning their struggles, must learn things about genuine living, and about genuine sanity, that the rest of us have never even imagined.ACKNOWLEDGMENTSFirst, I would like to thank my friend and brilliant colleague, Carol Kauf fman, on whose patio this book was invented one sunny Memorial Day, and who has seen me all the way through to the end. Without cease and without complaint, she has provided motivation, note-perfect advice, and the priceless favor of her expert commentary. And I would like to thank (a million times thank!) my heaven-sent agent, Susan Lee Cohen, whose wisdom, balance,and loveliness of spirit inaugurated the project and kept it alive.Thanks to the gifted Beena Kamlani, for her integrity, for her beautifuland meticulous editing, and for that uncanny guiding voice in my head, andto Carole DeSanti, for recognizing the manuscript in the first place, and for her relentless advocacy of the book at Viking. My gratitude also to Alexandra Babanskyj, and to Jaime Wolf.For having helped me in their various crucial ways to complete the book, I would like to thank Jane Delgado (an inspiration even now), Paul Horovitz, Deborah Horvitz, Judith Jordan, Howard Kielley, Martin: Seligman, David Stein, and Len Thomas.And I would like to thank my patients, every single one of them.