Book About Living

Book About Living

The Four Things that Matter Most: A Book about Living

Byock, M.D., Ira





Four simple phrases — “Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you” — carry enormous power. In many ways, they contain the most powerful words in our language. These four phrases provide us with a clear path to emotional wellness; they guide us through the thickets of interpersonal difficulties to a conscious way of living that is full of integrity and grace.

In The Four Things That Matter Most, Dr. Ira Byock, an international leader in palliative care, teaches us how to practice these life-affirming words in our day-to-day lives. Too often we assume that the people we love really know we love them. Dr. Byock reveals the value of stating the obvious and provides insights into how we burden ourselves by hanging on to old grudges unconsciously and unnecessarily. He shows us how to avoid living with those awkward silences and uncomfortable issues that distance us from the people we love and erode our sense of well-being and joy. His insights and stories help us to forgive, appreciate, love, and celebrate one another more fully.

The inspiring stories in The Four Things That Matter Most demonstrate the usefulness of the Four Things in a wide range of life situations. They also show that a degree of emotional healing is always possible and that we can experience a sense of wholeness even in the wake of family strife, personal tragedy, divorce, or in the face of death.


“This beautiful book, full of wisdom and warmth, teaches us how to protect and preserve our most valuable possessions–the relationships with those we love. It shows that the things that matter definitely aren’t “things,” and how to empower your life in the right direction.”
–Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“The 4 Things That Matter Most provides simple, insightful words and stories that move the heart and the soul. Dr. Byock shows us a graceful way to nurture relationships and heal those that need mending.”
–Zorba Paster, M.D., author of The Longevity Code, host of public radio’s On Your Health, and host of the public television special, How to Live a Long, Sweet Life [airing post-Thanksgiving]

“A tender read I highly recommend — The Four Things That Matter Most offers simple but solid solutions for healing our complex and fragile relationships — wisdom that will surely enrich our lives.”
–Maggie Callanan, co-author of the bestselling Final Gifts

“For anyone who believes that years of therapy are required for transforming relationships with others, this book will come as a pleasant surprise. Great wisdom has always been simple – that is why it is elusive – and great wisdom is what this book contains.
–Larry Dossey, MD author of HEALING BEYOND THE BODY, REINVENTING MEDICINE, and The New York Times bestselling HEALING WORDS

“The Four Things that Matter Most is a book of common sense wisdom that has the power to dynamically change your life. It is a pleasure to recommend a book that encourages you to transform the quality of your life in simple ways that actually work.”
— Caroline Myss, author of Sacred Contracts and Anatomy of the Spirit

“Ira Byock’s compassionate and important work in the field of dying has given him the four great treasures of love and freedom that all of us can use throughout our life. This wonderful book opens the doors to these jewels of compassion”
— Joan Halifax, Ph.D. author, Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, former research assistant to Joseph Campbell, founder and director of Ojai Foundation and founder, Upaya Foundation


Too often in the midst of our everyday lives, we neglect to tell the people who mean the most to us how much we care. In this book, Dr. Byock gently shows us how to heal from even profound separations from the people who have touched our lives.
After reading this book, I feel that I am able to express my gratitude to friends and family daily. I try not to hold onto negative experiences and have forgiven some grudges that were years old.
Thank you, Dr. Byock.

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Barnes & Noble

I purchased “Four Things” after reading about it in the newsletter of the National Caregivers Assn. I have read it,reread it, highlighted and flagged excerpts, used it as a tool in the grief support group I facilitated and have given it as a gift to others so they too could benefit. There is compassion in every page. It’s the one book, I would never lend to anyone else lest it never find its way home again.

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I loved this book!! I would wish that all my friends and family would also read it – and let the power of 11 words impact you. Please forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. WOW! This is a great book and life practice that can alter relationships on many levels, not just for those who are dying. Yes, in hospice and palliative care these words and the power they present to connect, build bridges, clear the air, say things that haven’t been spoken, are phenomenal, but what relationships couldn’t be stronger and better if we practiced these 4 sayings daily! I love this – and it will stay with me forever and that’s a great book!

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