There's certainly a lot of information about mental illnesses and antidepressants in this book, and the author had enough foresight to write it in a w...moreThere's certainly a lot of information about mental illnesses and antidepressants in this book, and the author had enough foresight to write it in a way that wouldn't leave it immediately outdated. I also like that the author doesn't buy fully into the chemical imbalance theory of depression, which is good based on its complete lack of evidence (which is noted in this book).
However, I feel like this book paints newer antidepressants in too much of a rosy light. They do have a lot of side effects (which I think was well known even by 1999 when this book was published) and do not work for everyone. The author also states that there is no evidence that antidepressants cause some individuals to be suicidal, which is a HUGE inaccuracy.
Ultimately, this book disappointed me because I wanted information on stopping antidepressants and going through withdrawal from them. This can be a normal part of some treatments; indeed, the author mentions that sometimes it takes many tries to find the right medications. However, the severe discomfort and mood swings associated with withdrawal, even with a medication taper, are not mentioned at all. I was hoping for some more information on a timeline of what to expect when going off meds. I really think a chapter on that would be a great addition to this book.(less)
This book delves into the topic of why the exclusive pursuit of happiness and positive emotions can be counter-productive. The main theses tends to be...moreThis book delves into the topic of why the exclusive pursuit of happiness and positive emotions can be counter-productive. The main theses tends to be very commonsensical, and the authors do an okay job explaining and rationalizing their ideas.
The thing I hate about this book, and all other pop-psych books, is the "science" they use to back up their claims. I know I'm biased as a physical scientist, where I can run an experiment and get a concrete answer; much like a math problem that has a verifiable solution. Social science, however, in my mind, isn't really science. It's asking a bunch of people to fill out a survey or do some weird experiment that always tends to prove the hypothesis of the experimenter. This is always prone to sample bias, experimenter bias, sample size problems, questionable interpretation of results, etc. However it always makes for flashy PR. (A sort-of made up example that is very close to one of the studies used as concrete evidence of human nature in this book: "We made a dozen people angry before having them throw darts and they did better than the dozen people who we made happy before the dart-throwing. Therefore being angry improves performance by 500%!!!!!")
At any rate, many of the concepts in this book are related to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which has also been "proven" to be one of the most effective therapeutic methods for people with depression, anxiety and similar mental illnesses. So a lot of the concepts can be boiled down to DBT's four main areas: mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness. It makes sense that people who understand their emotions, can deal with them (even if that means distracting oneself while backing away from the metaphorical ledge), communicate assertively with others, and be mindful of the moment they're living in (instead of projecting into the future or dwelling on the past) are going to have, if not a happier life, then at least a life with less stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Incidentally, I thought it was funny how, in the last chapter, the authors discuss being present in being bored (instead of continually distracting oneself with TV, smart phones, etc.) as being "mindless", when actually it's an amazing example of mindfulness, which the authors think is not worth the hype. I don't think anybody argues that being mindful 100% of the time is beneficial for anybody, but still, the authors have to sell books.
Really, I liked this book, and I think it's worth reading. But being the research scientist / skeptic that I am, I am unable to read books like this without finding at least a million flaws. So don't take my word for it, read it yourself. There's still a lot of good stuff packed in here.(less)
I generally love books by Julie Anne Peters, although at time they can get a little formulaic. I really enjoyed "Lies My Girlfriend Told Me," because,...moreI generally love books by Julie Anne Peters, although at time they can get a little formulaic. I really enjoyed "Lies My Girlfriend Told Me," because, even though it's a quick and easy read, the story is captivating and interesting. The characters are all diverse, believable, and easy to love (or hate, but in a good way). I highly recommend it to people of all ages who are interested in lesbian fiction.(less)
A very interesting read about nonagenarian Olga Kotelko, who has world records in many track and field sports in her age group. The book focuses a lot...moreA very interesting read about nonagenarian Olga Kotelko, who has world records in many track and field sports in her age group. The book focuses a lot more on the science of longevity and aging than on the sport of running itself. I was disappointed in how heavily the book focuses on evo-psych, social science research and anecdotes.(less)
I was very excited to receive a copy of this book through the Early Reviewer program, and then a bit disappointed when I looked inside to see that the...moreI was very excited to receive a copy of this book through the Early Reviewer program, and then a bit disappointed when I looked inside to see that the book is in poetry form. However, the poems flow very well, and follow a linear storyline, and actually enhanced my enjoyment of the book. (What a wonderful surprise!)
The story follows Laura, a high schooler whose mother suffers from an unnamed mental illness that nobody will talk about. I think it does a wonderful job describing the stigma of mental illness and Laura's search for her identity and questions about her own susceptibility to mental illness while still maintaining a somewhat "normal" everyday life as a teenager.(less)
This book didn't really cover much that you can't find in other, more helpful books such as Understanding Depression. A lot of information here is ext...moreThis book didn't really cover much that you can't find in other, more helpful books such as Understanding Depression. A lot of information here is extremely outdated, especially as medications have changed and the ACA was passed. There's also a ton of self-congratulatory back-patting about how her and her husband did so much for people with mental illnesses. Sure, it may be true, but it's just annoying to read.(less)