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319 pages, Paperback
First published February 1, 1990
"As you read this book, you will see that there is an epidemic of depression among adults and among children in the United States today...
...If this epidemic continues, I believe that America's place in the world will be in jeopardy. America will lose its economic place to less pessimistic nations than ours, and this pessimism will sap our will to bring about social justice in our own country.
This problem will not be ended by Prozac. We are not going to give anti-depressant drugs to an entire generation. Anti-depressant drugs are ineffective before puberty, and there are grave moral dangers to making an entire generation dependent on drugs for their mood and their productivity.
We are also not going to do therapy with an entire generation, because there are simply not enough good therapists to go around.
What we can do is to take the skills that you will learn in this book and translate them into an educative mode. In the schools and homes of America, we can teach them to all young people at risk for depression, thereby overcoming depression in our own lives, and in the lives of our children."
"A pessimistic attitude may seem so deeply rooted as to be permanent. I have found, however, that pessimism is escapable. Pessimists can in fact learn to be optimists, and not through mindless devices like whistling a happy tune or mouthing platitudes ("Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better"), but by learning a new set of cognitive skills. Far from being the creations of boosters or of the popular media, these skills were discovered in the laboratories and clinics of leading psychologists and psychiatrists and then rigorously validated."