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A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,491 ratings  ·  517 reviews
A revealing, courageous, fascinating, and funny account of the author's experiment with microdoses of LSD in an effort to treat a debilitating mood disorder, of her quest to understand a misunderstood drug, and of her search for a really good day.

When a small vial arrives in her mailbox from "Lewis Carroll," Ayelet Waldman is at a low point. Her mood storms have become in
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  3,491 ratings  ·  517 reviews

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Julie Ehlers
I will admit that I initially picked this up because I wanted some gossip about Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon's marriage, and I have to hand it to her—Ayelet was pretty forthcoming in that regard. What I wasn't expecting was that the personal tales of marriage, mental health, and microdosing would be interwoven with so much more general drug-related information. At first I wasn't too enthused when Waldman went from discussing her own personal experiences to talking about how LSD was develope ...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lor
3.5 I first heard about microdosing on the radio. My commute to work is relatively short so I tend to listen to news radio. Especially since the election I tend to avoid the news of TV, which seems to be full of he who shall remain unnamed, so the radio fills this news gap nicely. They were discussing how microdosing is helping those who are dying, anyway when I saw this book I was interested enough to want to read further into the subject. Plus, I loved Waldman's Love and Treasure and she is ma ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Take an over-medicated, moody, middle-aged mother of four, add a month of experimental microdosing with LSD and it makes for A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman. This mesmerizing memoir of mental exploration tackles the taboo topic of drug use in our society, the frightening rise of prescription pills and the devastating addictions developing during the War on Drugs. A rollicking ride through the realm of self-realization, Waldman’s creative quest for sanity is painfully honest, hysterically fun ...more
Brett Benner
Jan 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'd have to macrodose to read much more of this woman whine. Reading about how microsdosing lsd has been a tremendous aid to her is fine for a Rolling Stone article, but stretched out into book form only meant spending more time with a woman who bares her neurotic psyche like a drunk party guest who has a bad case of verbal diarrhea and no censor. No thanks. ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I debated between 4 and 5 stars -- I enjoyed this book very much. Ayelet Waldman's quest for a better mood, less volatility, and a happier existence overall rivals any self-help book I've encountered. I'm not sure if it's because we are the same age, because we are equally neurotic, because we have both lived with PMDD, but her unflinching and often funny voice resonated a lot with me. For example, the part when she thinks her daughter has gotten a new tattoo on her neck that signifies "meh" -- ...more
Lesley Vandernoot
Jan 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Talk about a book not matching its reviews! I think maybe a dose of something was required whilst reading. Waldman is a self-indulgent, navel gazing, whiner. I realize this is a memoir of sorts, but the way she over-analyzes every single tiny feeling she is having, as if she is a new mother in awe of her newborn, is beyond annoying. Then to have her tell us, essentially, that meth has gotten a bad rap...uh thanks for the insight honey, I'm sure Walter White appreciates it.
I disliked this book in
An update: Friday May 7th 2021 update: I’ve figured out, like many gen x women, that bipolar was an inaccurate diagnosis and I am more than likely neurodivergent: ADHD would more closely describe mu condition. Waiting on my (very unhelpful shrink) to find me a neurologist who can re-evaluate me, but am going through different channels for this as he has been incredibly unhelpful. Completely surreal actually.

An update: I read this book, and wrote the bulk of this review in 2017 shortly after its
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I totally want to try the protocol. Also a really interesting peek into the war on drugs, the history of drug use, and research about drug safety. More robust review to come.

My Netgalley review: A fascinating story of the war on drugs, the history of drug use and criminalization, and a suburban woman's self experimentation. I particularly loved her struggles with how to talk about drugs with her children, and Waldman lets you in on her inner monologue extraordinarily well. I came into this book
Rachel León
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017, 2017
I love Ayelet Waldman and her nonfiction is especially incredible. She writes with so much unflinching honesty that it's hard not to rally behind her, no matter what she's writing about.

Waldman suffers from bipolar disorder and this new book outlines her thirty day experiment taking microdoses of LSD in lieu of pharmaceuticals. She combines personal stories with statistics, so the book is a blend of memoir and a well-researched challenge of the war on drugs. I'd be willing to bet any rating und
Viv JM
This book is a very readable and occasionally very funny account of the author's month long experiment with microdosing with LSD in an attempt to alleviate her mood swings (originally diagnosed as bipolar and later as PMDD). Along the way, she delves into the history of LSD, research into its benefits and the effects of the ill-fated "war on drugs". I found it an engaging and interesting book. ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ayelet Waldman has long been "held hostage by the vagaries of mood." She's combatted her mercurial nature with a "shit-ton of drugs" that goes on for half a page and reads like the advance battalion of some YA dystopian sci-fi novel with names like Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor, and more. All legal but not altogether effective.

Desperate to alleviate not only her own suffering but the suffering of the people she loves that have had to deal with her fractured moods she embark
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
What lengths would you go to feel better? Celebrated author Ayelet Waldman, describes in detail her battle with a crippling mood disorder and how current medications have failed her. Waldman describes in a humorous, down to earth narrative how she discovered microdosing, or the use of LSD in therapeutic microdoses, doses so tiny that there are no perceptual changes. (no tripping) Readers will decide for themselves if the LSD helps Ayelet with her mood disorders, and will also find themselves lau ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
I really like Waldman's voice. In fact, I'm probably going to read another book by her right now.

Unfortunately, this book didn't really work for me. There is too little substance to the memoir part, and too much focus on background research. Whenever the book went back to the memoir / personal anecdotes, it was very enjoyable and readable. But then there is the history of LSD, the history of drug research, the background info on prison system of the US. Eh. Pass.
Oct 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Evaluation based on advanced copy. I found the book exceptional in it's description of the history of so called illegal drugs and the absurd laws regarding personal use. I'm reluctant to give a higher total rating because of a lack of knowledge of personal challenges that may lead an individual to consider self micro-dosing with LSD. The book is well written and well researched. ...more
Elyse  Walters
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing

..........IF AYELET WALDMAN read the phone book --I'd be happy! I'd feel a rush of excitement- warmth - pleasure - and PURE LOVE for this woman!!!! I may be a little bias ....I know Ayelet. I love this Israeli-American Bay Area Jewish spitfire-of-a woman!
I've read many of Ayelet's books and essays. "Red Hood Road" is my favorite---( a page turning novel), and "Love and Treasure" a great historical novel.
I especially love Ayelet's autobiography short story in "The Modern
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I think what I liked most about A Really Good Day is pretty idiosyncratic, but I definitely liked this one – especially as an audio. Ayelet Waldman has spent much of her life going up and down in mood. This affects her relationship with her husband author Michael Chabon, her interactions with her four children, her ability to write and her overall well being. She has had a number of diagnoses. She has tried all sorts of prescribed medications. And more recently she tried micro dosing LSD – which ...more
Ben Gutierrez
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ayelet Waldman chose to take a dose of LSD over the course of a month and write about it. Microdosing (taking amounts that operate at levels below awareness) has started to come into the public consciousness and its the perfect time for a detailed personal account.

I heard her speak in a City Arts and Lectures and here is the spoiler: 10 micrograms of LSD taken every third day had positive effects and scarcely any side effects. She became more measured in her response to everyday trials and found
Jess Dollar
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's a totally fascinating self-experiment book on micro dosing LSD for help with depression, anxiety, and PMDD. It's funny and real and interesting.

If you want to read more on how psychedelics are being used by mental health researchers and practitioners, read Acid Test next. I'm so excited for the future when people have access to these safe, effective therapies.
LOVELOVELOVED. Fascinating, funny, frustrating, thought making. Obsessed -- grateful I had a campus commute today with extra time to read. Super recommend for both the war on drugs perspectives and personal experience log. Best non-dragon book I've read in a while. Super recommend for a commute, pondering read.

"For as long as I can remember, I have been held hostage by the vagaries of mood. When my mood is good, I am cheerful, productive, and affectionate. I sparkle at parties, I write
Kressel Housman
I went into this book with a bit of a misconception. I knew it was about microdosing, the new trend of taking a small dose of a psychedelic chemical like LSD or psilocybin, but I thought the title was literal and that the author was going to describe a single day on which she microdosed. It turns out that she went on a month-long preprogrammed schedule of drug use with days on and days off. The book also explores other subjects I’ll get into, but my misunderstanding led me to an analogy that tic ...more
I loved it. I loved everything about this book: I loved the author (full disclosure: I was predisposed to love her, because she lives in my town, shops at my bookstore sometimes, and because she is married to ((probably)) my favorite living writer: Michael Chabon), I loved the prose style (I'd never read her work, despite the previously-mentioned reasons I have to be predisposed to liking/loving her), I loved the subject matter, I loved the results. Any memoir-ish nonfiction book can be judged ( ...more
A REALLY GOOD DAY caught my eye because, well, I thought it looked funny. An upper-class, middle-aged mom with a history of mood disorders embarks on an experimental therapy utilizing the (in)famous psychedelic LSD.

If you're imaging PTA meetings transforming into Salvadore Dali paintings, that's not what you'll find here. Waldman takes the tiniest of doses--meant to tweak her mood and productivity, not go onto a full-blown trip. That said, there's still funny stuff to be had here, and some grave
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, nonfiction, memoir
Part memoir, part research journal, part advocate for change... there are a lot of angles to this book.

I do enjoy Ayelet's writing, though previously I had only read her mystery novels. She is self deprecating, honest, and funny.

In the end, A Really Good Day advocates for the end to the war on drugs. It encourages focus more on research and regulation, instead of criminalization. First of all, as her anecdotes from her days as a public defender illustrate, the criminalization unevenly and unfai
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
I was entertained and informed. If only the draconian drug laws of the country were reformed, more people would benefit from microdosing. I am fortunate to live in a state that at least views cannabis as a more helpful than harmful substance so my dog can be given CBD to treat his allergies and seizures.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
loved this book! a look at the use of drugs as mood stabilizers combined with a brief history of the war on drugs and why it isn't working. written by a neurotic Jewish wife and mother of four who is unabashedly unapologetic... what's not to like? ...more
Kaethe Douglas
First, I apologize for my absence. I have apparently reached the age when body parts begin to fail suddenly and inexplicably. Somehow what should have been an
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just wow.

Honest. Open. Amazing.

If only...
Rachel Aranda
I had high expectations for this book as I had been recommended it by a school friend who is huge fan of alternate methods being researched (some not yet acknowledged by the FDA) to treat certain illnesses and the success that can come (and does) from the studies. I was interested in learning more, so I got this book to read. It's a shame, as it turns out, that none of what Waldman's experiences and particular illnesses (frozen shoulder syndrome and hormone issues while preparing to have her per ...more
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Honestly, this could have been a great book on the subject of LSD microdosing. Instead, it's an emotional vomit bag from someone with lots of issues, and she's letting us know that microdosing LSD seems to be helping more than the all the other drugs she's tried.

The logical layout of the book is as confused and scrambled as she professes her thoughts and feelings to be. The first chapter of the book is about her inner turmoil and emotional struggles and also her period. With a really strong emph
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Ayelet Waldman is the author of A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays ...more

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“One of the most important things the early LSD pioneers discovered is that the personality of the researcher administering the drug had a profound effect on the experience of the patient. If the examiner was cold and distant, the subject occasionally became hostile, even paranoid. The subjects of a warm and gentle researcher almost universally experienced feelings of love and joy.” 3 likes
“Although it’s long been known that 67 percent of women’s admissions to psychiatric facilities occur during the week immediately prior to menstruation, only recently have researchers begun to consider the effect of PMS on women with mood disorders.” 1 likes
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