Irvin Yalom on the meaning of life


Irvin Yalom On The Meaning of Life

Globally renowned existential psychotherapist and author Irvin Yalom speaks to John Armstrong about meaning, fulfilment and the greatest struggles of human existence.

Irvin Yalom has dedicated his life to investigating and helping others address the largest human questions. A pioneer in the field of existential psychotherapy, he is recognised internationally for addressing the greatest fears of humanity: isolation, meaninglessness, freedom and mortality. At age 86, following the publication of his memoir Becoming Myself, Irvin Yalom joins The School of Life Australia via live video to reflect upon his life’s work, and to share the most important lessons he has learned along the way.

Yalom will be interviewed by The School of Life’s philosopher in chief John Armstrong. This once-in-a-lifetime event is an opportunity to hear from one of the most prominent psychotherapists and thinkers of our time, and an invitation to explore the deepest questions about meaning and fulfilment in our lives.

Please note: Irvin Yalom will appear via live video feed.

Proudly presented in partnership with Scribe Publications.

Photo: Reid Yalom


11.00am        Doors Open
12.00pm        Welcome & Introduction
12.10pm        Irvin Yalom & John Armstrong In Conversation
1.10pm          Audience Q&A hosted by John Armstrong
1.30pm          Event Concludes


'Meaning ensues from meaningful activity: the more we deliberately pursue it, the less likely are we to find it.'
– Irvin Yalom 


Irvin D Yalom is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. The author of two definitive psychotherapy textbooks, Dr Yalom has written several books for the general reader, including Momma and the Meaning of Life and Love’s Executioner, collections of true and fictionalised tales of therapy; Staring at the Sun; and the novels When Nietzsche Wept; The Schopenhauer Cure, and The Spinoza Problem. Dr Yalom has an active but part-time private practice in Palo Alto and San Francisco, California.


John Armstrong was born in Glasgow, educated in Oxford and London and moved to Australia in 2001. He is the author of nine books, including In Search of CivilisationLove Life GoetheThe Secret Power of BeautyHow to Worry Less About Money and Life Lessons from Nietzsche. His books have been translated into 23 languages. For five years he was Senior Advisor in The Office of the Vice Chancellor, University of Melbourne and in 2014 was a Professorial Fellow at the University of Tasmania.

John is currently the global philosopher-in-chief of The School of Life, which has branches in 11 countries. His latest book Art as Therapy was written jointly with Alain de Botton. He is based in Hobart and Italy.


Leading writers, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, artists and other thinkers offer provocation, inspiration and consolation in the form of advice for living better. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject.