The Story Behind Life is a 4-Letter Word by David A. Levy

05 Feb 2020

Do you remember the childhood dread of getting a shot? I do. Or more grownup fears, like being exposed as an impostor? I’ve certainly felt this way. What about the sense of loss that makes itself known in a variety of ways, like the pain of saying goodbye to a beloved pet, having your trust betrayed, or falling in love with the wrong person? Well, let me put it this way: Loss and I are very “well acquainted.”

Each of us had lived through innumerable everyday experiences—embarrassing moments, distressing episodes, moving encounters—that nearly everybody can relate to. In midlife, I started collecting meaningful anecdotes from my past and, when they seemed relevant, sharing them to engage and encourage my patients and students. I was struck by how frequently they resonated with others. I came to realize the impact of these stories is a result of their being both real and personal.

This led me to gather them together and share them in the form of a book. I wanted to trace the arc of my life, drawing on my expertise as a veteran psychologist, and the wisdom of both hindsight and maturity—as well as the ability to laugh at oneself. It is my hope that they will offer valuable nuggets or morals to the reader. My goal is to entice others to look back on – and find meaning in – their own humbling attempts, impulsive decisions, silly mistakes, and happenstance occurrences. In closing I would like to remind those I know and my readers of one of these morals: With age, the absence of catastrophic news is great news.


An engaging take on self-help and self-discovery, LIFE IS A 4-LETTER WORD: Laughing and Learning Through 40 Life Lessons is a collection certain to resonate with baby boomers and many readers of all ages. I look forward to exploring your interest.

DR. DAVID A. LEVY is an award-winning Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University, where he has been teaching since 1986. He received his BA in theater arts from UCLA before earning two MA degrees and his PhD in psychology. In addition to two bestselling textbooks, diverse research studies, and a widely acclaimed self-help book, Tools of Critical Thinking, he has published numerous satirical articles. A sought-out media consultant for psychological perspectives on current events and insights into issues in the mental health field, Dr. Levy has appeared on more than 70 broadcasts on major networks, including CNN, PBS, NPR, and NatGeo. He has also worked as a director, producer, writer, and actor in films, television, and stage. He received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Network Television Series and was a guest star on the popular sitcom Cheers, where he portrayed the leader of Frasier’s low self-esteem group (a role which he adamantly maintains is not type-casting). He lives in Santa Monica, California.

David A. Levy is the author of the new book Life is a 4-Letter Word.

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