Past Forward: How Nostalgia Can Help You Live a More Meaningful Life

Sounds True. Dec. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9781683648642. pap. $19.99. SELF-HELP
Routledge, an expert in existential psychology, begins this book with a fascinating thesis—that nostalgia is constitutive of rather than antithetical to progress—and he drives the point home faster than the DeLorean in Back to the Future. He delves into the history of thought surrounding nostalgia, from Darwin through 20th-century research, and makes the case that humans have always had complicated views on when to look back and when to move forward. With some writing prompts and exercises scattered throughout, this actionable book sheds light on the stories people tell themselves and why they matter, and gives readers a foundation for looking at their pasts as vehicles that drive their futures.
VERDICT Routledge brings a clinician’s eye for evidence-based research and a lay person’s fascination with everything from Star Wars to pop psychology to the topic of nostalgia, giving readers reasons to think back on their lives, their families, and their histories and consider who they want to become.
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