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Sane New World: Taming The Mind

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  5,523 ratings  ·  426 reviews
Comedian, writer and mental health campaigner shows us why and how our minds can send us mad and how we can rewire our thinking, especially through mindfulness, to calm ourselves in a frenetic world. Ruby Wax - comedian, writer and mental health campaigner - shows us how our minds can jeopardize our sanity. With her own periods of depression and now a Masters from Oxford i ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 2013 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
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Chloe I think this book will help! The chapter on mindfulness targets separating and giving yourself a break from the relentless, harmful thoughts of the mi…moreI think this book will help! The chapter on mindfulness targets separating and giving yourself a break from the relentless, harmful thoughts of the mind. Since anxiety is a lot about catastrophizing and continuously worrying, her technique may help you in developing a strategy to deal with anxiety. (less)

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Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I got a lot from this book. I was rather churlishly expecting some descriptions of light neurosis, followed by a collection celebrity soundbites about how to make things better. In fact that was not too far from what we got....except Ruby obviously has suffered from real depression, not only in terms of her hospitalizations, but in terms of her extreme emotions and mood swings. She speaks about these things with a moving honesty, but also sometimes very funnily.

When Ruby's career as a comedian c
Jan 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
I'm a little surprised about all of the high ratings for the book. I recently reached the halfway mark in the book after forcing myself to continue to read it after even a quarter of the way through. This book is full of opinions and unfortunately, they are not very good ones. In addition to being rampant with generalizations, the author attempts to force jokes onto every page. The paragraph that made me close the book for good was:

"When you're building up clusters of neurons by habitually movin
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
AN EPIPHANY. If you suffer with or have regular contact with someone who has depression then this book is the detailed souvenir guide book. She describes exactly what a wily, manipulative, all consuming, destructive bastard depression is. Then explains how by practicing mindfulness (or trying to) you can manage the black dogs. Either a good place to start with forming a plan or a reference book for when the black clouds start rolling in. CBT, drugs, mindfulness, exercise and support- there's act ...more
Aug 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I was really surprised to see so many good reviews of this book. I write this as I have just reached 50% and have moved it to my 'abandoned' shelf.

I wouldn't have read the book if I didn't think the topic was an important one, but the flippancy with which it's handled is irritating. Many reviewers have said Ruby makes this topic 'accessible', whereas I found myself learning a lot more about the person writing the book than its supposed subject.
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

People ask me if I’m busy, I tell them, ‘I’m so busy I’ve had two heart attacks’. They congratulate me on this achievement. (c)
Have you read The Secret? I didn’t read it but I know 80 million copies were sold. I did read page one, which informs you that ‘the secret’ was handed down to us by the ancient Babylonians and clearly it worked for them; that’s why there’s so many running around, you can’t move for all the Babylonians living in London. (c)
On the toilet no one is a star
James Barker
Ruby Wax became famous (in the U.K. at least) for being a loud, bright, borderline cruel comedienne. She was quite a fixture on our TVs for many years, from early days appearing in the underrated 'Girls on Top' sitcom (which an ancient Joan Greenwood stole week after week in her bit-role as the grand, acid landlady who lived downstairs) to her later appearances as a loud-American interviewer parody of herself. I suspect a nadir was interviewing Sarah Fergusson in those toe-sucking days. Ruby was ...more
I’ll go into detail later but I want to mention one fact right away; the gold at the end of the rainbow is that YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND AND HOW YOU THINK. This is called neuroplasticity. Your genes, hormones, regions in the brain and early learning do not necessarily determine your fate.
If you don't have even a slight sense of gallows humour about your depression, this is not a book for you.

If you expect an introduction to mindfulness, you will also be disappointed; this is a why-to, not a how
Olivier Vojetta
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book because of Robin Williams' decision to kill himself. I wanted to understand how the mind could push anyone that far into despair. None of us is meant to become a slave, let alone of one's own mind. But the mind is like a wild animal and can slowly become anyone's master. 'You have to send this email', 'You have to meet this deadline' etc. Sounds familiar? We feel bad if we don't do what our mind tells us to do but if we do it all the time then life becomes nothing more than a to ...more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: counselling
Hmmm…a book on taming the mind written by a comedian. This could be interesting, I thought. In the first few pages I began to worry that the author, Ruby Wax, was going to treat mental illness with sarcasm, or belittle it; but as I continued, and as I read about her direct experience of depression, my concern turned to admiration. It’s a fantastic book particularly for anyone who has ever wanted to take control of the endless blah blah blah of our thoughts, and also wants to know the science beh ...more
Ellen-Arwen Tristram
Jan 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: e-books, reviewed, reread
I'm really surprised at how many positive reviews there are for this book - I have to say now I am not in agreement with general consensus. I can't remember why I bought this book (possibly because one of my friends gave it a high rating on GoodReads) but it has been sat gathering proverbial dust on my Kindle shelves for awhile, and became part of 'clean up Kindle' project.

The level of actual neuroscience in this book is fairly basic, and I have read better elsewhere. One of the things people hi
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I like the author, but didn't enjoy the book. The comedy seemed to have no flow to it, she just seemed to feel compelled to put a joke in every line. The whole thing in general had no story which made it nearly impossible to keep reading.

I have felt depression, but my experience of it bears very little resemblance to Wax's. I feel no compulsions to shop. No compulsions at all, actually. And I don't have her voices of envy or anxiety, so overall it was close to incomprehensible to me in those par
May 30, 2017 rated it did not like it
Didn't work for me at all. I thought it would be more about the subject and less about the author, but it wasn't. The second half is dedicated to mindfulness techniques, for people who want to learn these. Otherwise give this a miss. ...more
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I'd give this 2.5 if I could. It's a big hot mess of memoir, neurology, psychology and mindfulness textbook. Wax's writing style really grates at times, with constant 'witty' asides, plus there's some casual homophobia in there that really ought to have been edited out (references to "the gays" and references to "lesbians and their cats" in lieu of marriages. come on) alongside default male pronouns. Sheesh.

Basically, a tighter edit of this book would have improved it no end and made it a bit mo
Mar 21, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
This was so awful I couldn't even force myself to read up to 30% which is my minimum before quitting a book. So much glorification of 'simpler times' when we were happier and 'aren't animals so happy in their ignorance of awareness'. I couldn't take this seriously with so much bullshit in it. I wanted to like this, I even laughed a few times but no, just no.
I tried skipping ahead to see if it improved but it did not seem to get better.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book in the midst of a deep depression was the wrong time to do so. I feel I may have enjoyed it more had I not been in such a bad place myself. Starting this book expecting to gather coping mechanisms I came away disappointed. In my opinion I found the authors recalling of her own experiences a little self indulgent and detracted from the more informative technical aspects found elsewhere. I found a couple of useful techniques I can use, and do so on a daily basis, but came away af ...more
Aug 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i swear this book made my year
Mar 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
Mental health is a sensitive and important subject, which Ruby Wax bludgeons in order to leave her fame-grabbing mark.

Unfortunately, Wax attempts to adopt an 'expert' position, presents a medicalised account of 'illness' and uses little research to back up her (often completely mis-stated) claims. I hope that readers cast a critical eye (or ear, as I did listening to it on audiobook) when broaching this book, rather than passively accepting the ill-informed diatribe presented as fact. I'm sadde
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you've not encountered how mindfulness techniques can help with depression before, this book by Ruby Wax is a good place to start. It explains the concepts simply and wittily, and provides useful exercises at the end to help put the theory into practice.

I found the second chapter - 'For the Normal-Mad' - superfluous (it seemed a case of stating the obvious to me) but still I'd recommend the book overall, especially if you're down. The short chapters make it easy to digest when concentration i
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ruby Wax – as might be expected – is an amusing writer. In this interesting guide book to the mind she intersperses her own experiences – frequently bad – with the knowledge she gained from going to university and gaining a Masters degree in mindfulness based cognitive behaviour therapy. Honesty and clarity make this in an excellent little book for anyone who wants to understand their own moods and feelings and to deal with and control them in a way which will help them live a more productive an ...more
Mar 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty interesting read. Will need to talk about this in depth in a video but I found it really comforting to read about what is actually happening in the brain when your anxiety levels are high and what your brain is attempting to do. Some of her points were a little over dramatic (solving war and poverty with mindfulness? Really?) and a lot of over-generalization but I LOVED learning about the brain again - didn't realise how much I missed Psychology!

(Probably the most effective mindfulness bo
Julie McCoy
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An eye opening insight into how depression and anxiety works within the brain and body. I've had few epiphanies in my life but this but was definitely one. A must read for anyone with any kind of mental illness, from depression to anxiety or even someone who just wants to bring the practice of mindfulness into their daily lives. Easy to follow exercises mixed with personal stories of Wax's with a few funny musings thrown in, make it an absorbing read. ...more
Mar 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really cannot believe it's a best seller. I found nothing to take from the book. There's a very looooong intro on how the author came to write this book, etc. I was really bored and i decided nit to spend any more time on this book, sorry but it was super shallow. I've rread so much better on the subject. ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A helpful book with background information on how our brain/mind works and how we can learn to master it to help keep conditions like anxiety and depression under control. Having Ruby's humorous asides and own personal story shared throughout made it easy to read. ...more
Nick Davies
May 18, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022
The first two thirds of this, though slightly oversimplified in places, and missing slightly on the humour at points, I thought was very good. Having a little concern that I would find the on television slightly loud and abrasive Ruby Wax similarly difficult in written form, I was glad to be proven wrong. She writes frankly about mental health, about neuroscience in general, and then (in the final chapters, which I found less connection with) about mindfulness - and it's admirable. For all that ...more
Alison S
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The neuroscience section lost me, but I think the author made it as accessible as it could be for someone like me who struggles with science. The rest of the book was an easier read, and I think Ruby Wax did a very good job of conveying what mindfulness is and why it's important. I have read a lot of books and articles about mindfulness, so a lot of the content felt very familiar. However, I'm sure it would have a very powerful impact on someone who was new to the topic. However, for me, the bes ...more
Wax calls this a Manual, but it is more Neurology for Dummies, together with how mindfulness can help your health and brain. There are lots of activities of how to engage in mindfulness. The message at the end (understanding one’s reality isn’t another person’s and if you limit yourself to your narrow world view you’ll become narrower and bitter and judgemental) is something that leaders like Trump need to learn.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally started this back late last year and I have finally gotten round to finishing it, not because the book was bad or anything, but because my mind simply wasn't in the right mode to pick up a book and read. That being said, I am so glad I finally finished this book as the later chapters definitely helped aid me in recovery and finding out what my mind is all about.

Ruby Wax shares her struggle with anxiety, depression and just generalised worry in Sane New World: Taming The Mind, whilst
Apr 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book tried to do too many things, and did them all badly.

I wasn't sure whether it was supposed to be a celebrity memoir, an anti self-help book, something educative on neuroscience, or a manual on mindfulness. Either way, I didn't enjoy any of those elements.

It was peppered throughout with casual racism & homophobia. There's probably a big difference between performing comedy and writing something which is funny - many of Ruby Wax's attempts just rang very hollow/forced, or far too offensi
Rachel Baldwin
Having been suffering with depression for the past year, I have begun looking for other ways to deal with my ruminating negative thoughts and those stressful times that left me in a weeping wreck in work meetings (has actually happened once I think scared me supervisors). Mindfulness has been suggested to me from various sources and up till now I have put of practising it as "have not had enough time".

This book is an awesome mix of the scientific background which causes our brain to become our e
Great book based on mental health and mindfulness. Very sciencey in parts, so I learnt a lot about the different parts and functions of the brain; also a lot of psychology in there. Ruby Wax kept it light and humorous - always helpful when reading up on a deep subject. She gives useful advice on how to focus on your thoughts in the present and be aware of every part of your mind and body. My only problem with it was that I would have liked her to spend more on describing the practice of mindfuln ...more
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Ruby Wax arrived in Britain in 1977 to pursue an acting career. She says "I really could never find my niche. I was a terrible actress, I couldn't sing, I couldn't do characters, I couldn't do an English accent and I lived in England, so I was narrowing it down".

She met French and Saunders at a party and worked alongside them a number of times, on television in Happy Families, at charity events su

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