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Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life is Adam Phillips's 17th book and is a characteristic blend of literary criticism and philosophical reflection packaged around a central idea. The theme here is missed opportunities, roads not taken, alternative versions of our lives and ourselves, all of which, Phillips argues, exert a powerful hold over our imaginations. Using a series of examples and close readings of authors including Philip Larkin and Shakespeare, the book suggests that a broader understanding of life's inevitable disappointments and thwarted desires can enable us to live fuller, richer lives. Good things come to those who wait.

Does he see himself as a champion of frustration? “I'm not on the side of frustration exactly, so much as the idea that one has to be able to bear frustration in order for satisfaction to be realistic. I'm interested in how the culture of consumer capitalism depends on the idea that we can't bear frustration, so that every time we feel a bit restless or bored or irritable, we eat, or we shop.”

The Guardiaguardian.co.uk, 1 June 2012. Adaptado.

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