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Compulsive Acts: A Psychiatrist's Tales of Ritual and Obsession
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Compulsive Acts: A Psychiatrist's Tales of Ritual and Obsession

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  16 reviews
In this compelling book, we meet a man who can't let anyone get within a certain distance of his nose, two kleptomaniacs from very different walks of life, an Internet addict who chooses virtual life over real life, a professor with a dangerous gambling habit, and others with equally debilitating compulsive conditions. Writing with compassion, humor, and a deft literary to ...more
ebook, 191 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Robert Chartrand
Jun 11, 2008 Robert Chartrand rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of psychology literature, people interested in human disorders
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
I am usually rather wary when it comes to reading psychological literature. Not because I'm not interested in it, I am, but because it tends to be very dry and difficult to get through. Nonetheless, I picked up this title and decided to tackle it anyway. I must say, it is a very easy read. The author writes as if he is having a conversation with you, and if jargon must be used he is quick to either explain it or put into layman's terms.
The structure of the book is also rather well done. Each cha
...more
Kathryn
Summary: Dr. Elias Aboujaoude is a psychiatrists specializing in OCD and its related disorders. Follow the lives and progress of several of his patients including those diagnosed with OCD, trichotillamania, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, and internet addiction (though, he points out that we shouldn't refer to it as such).

Review: While its difficult to enjoy a book on such a topic, I'll certainly admit that this book was fascinating. The human psyche is so interesting, and by presenting both
...more
Sandy D.
This was a pretty good memoir by a psychiatrist who deals with compulsions and impulse control. I expected it to be mainly about OCD (my interest, due to some family members who deal with it), but only one essay focused on OCD. The others were on trich, kleptomania, gambling, and problematic internet usage.

Aboujaoude tries to intertwine his patients' stories with that of his office administrator - which works well in some of the chapters, not so well in others. It's an interesting and education
...more
Leigh
Not impressed. The stories are interesting in themselves, but Aboujaoude's attempts to fictionalize them and use the assistant's storyline for continuity feel incredibly strained. There were a lot of ways this book could've worked--e.g., changing names and minor details rather than getting, um, narratively creative; letting it stand as a short-story collection rather than as an awkwardly loose sequence--but here Aboujaoude's pretty clearly a doctor and not a writer. It's a shame; I think I would ...more
Bassamlebnan
This book of Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, "Compulsive Acts: A Psychiatrist's Tales of Ritual and Obsession," was so enjoyable to read. Well, it is not accurate to say that I "enjoy" reading about other humans' problems and miseries. The truth is I enjoyed the style in which the novellas were presented by a psychiatrist who has a talent to tell a story and make it intriguing. I can almost predict that someone would soon take this book and write a movie script based on various characters -- the patients ...more
Deb
*A compulsive read*

I cannot say it better than Irvin Yalom himself who praised this book as "A wonderful read." The author does an amazing job in weaving highly readable clinical information together with captivating and nearly-impossible-to-put-down stories. (Yes, it does seem quite appropriate that stories on compulsive acts make for such compulsive reading!) What an impressive symphony of rhythmical writing, fascinating vignettes, up-to-date medical information, and compassionate therapy.
Leslie
In the same genre as Oliver Sacks, Atul Gawande and other doctor-writers, Aboujaoude's stories of compulsive behaviors are entertaining and thought provoking. Not quite the master of medical literature that Sacks is, and perhaps not as focused on the underlying questions as Gawande, Aboujaoude is still worth reading and enjoying.
Nathanial
Jun 12, 2009 Nathanial is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
engaging vignettes, a la Oliver Sacks, minus a certain degree of empathy and wonder at the variety inherent in humanity. more of a 'gotcha' attitude. also, the glib dialogues where everyone speaks with the same cadence--that sure doesn't help.
Micah
This book is very informative but lacks in writing quality. Dispite the cheesy narrative, the book gave a good insight into the minds and habits of people suffering from compulsive disorders.
Eric
Several stories about a psychologist treating patients. There is no real point or theme to the point but the stories are very interesting and engaging. I had a hard time putting it down
Donna
Found it quite interesting, but it was an odd approach, fictionalizing true stories. Not sure how successful that was, but if you're curious about how compulsions work, this spells it out.
Ryan
several true(ish) stories about different types of compulsion. the stories themselves are interesting, but the author's style makes me think he's writing a resume, not a book.
Bethany
A good addition to the plethora of medical writing for a general audience. Particularly interesting if you suffer from an obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder.
Trentz
Well written and very interesting. Deep exploration of some the more odd and rarely talked about compulsions. Would definitely recommend it!
Traci
This book was not only an enjoyable read but was information packed about OCD. It was good.
Lisa
Wanted more stories, less information re: OCD. Not greatly written.
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