Lisa's Reviews > Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

Crazy Like Us by Ethan Watters
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's review
Sep 05, 2010

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Read in May, 2010

Let me state up front I am not a huge fan of non-fiction books such as this. However my book club recently read it for our group discussion and I was pleasantly surprised how 'readable' the book was. I expected a very dry - and confusing - dissertation on today's East/West approach to mind and medicine. What Watters delivered was much more powerful thanks to the way he divided the topics into credible, relatable and (in a few instances) high profile examples. He did alot of data as background, but they didn't detract from the overall impact he was striving to create.

Whether it was anorexia in Hong Kong, or post-traumatic stress from the tsunami in Thailand, the author has harsh words for how Western cultures try to force Western cures on Eastern communities -- without bothering to learn about the cultures they are dealing with. Whether Western societies truly mean well or are trying to impose their 'superior' knowledge when helping out these countries, the result is the same: failure from the get-go.

While I felt this was a worthwhile book to read, it seems best to approach it as a primer to raise awareness, not as a "how to" guide. Watters provides plenty of details and information about the existing problems, but not the practical next steps in how he would go about solving them.

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