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The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,068 ratings  ·  246 reviews
A leading neuroscientist and pioneer in the study of mindfulness explains why addictions are so tenacious and how we can learn to conquer them

“Accessible and enjoyable. The Craving Mind brilliantly combines the latest science with universal real-life experiences—from falling in love to spending too much time with our phones.”—Arianna Huffington

We are all vulnerable to add
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Yale University Press
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,068 ratings  ·  246 reviews

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Start your review of The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
At times, one gets the feeling that the only thing Judson Brewer likes more than mindfulness is Judson Brewer. Perhaps his editor is to blame. Readers are constantly regaled with stories about Brewer's trials, tribulations, and, ultimately, successes. Beyond the utter ubiquity of reward-based learning, I will remember that Brewer teaches at Yale, that famous people are interested in his dynamic and cutting-edge research, and that he apparently has a lot of time to meditate.

Which brings me to an
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
3.5 stars. I think I would have enjoyed this audiobook more with a different narrator, or if I had read the book rather than listened to it. The narrator sounded like a computer to me, no personality or inflections in his voice, just a monotone. So the book lost half a star for that alone, as it was distracting.

Other than that, I enjoyed it. There was nothing terribly new about the first part on addictions. Yes, we get "rewards" for our addictions; that is why they are so hard to break. As a for
Sep 07, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-issues
The first chapter pretty much tells you everything you need to know. I do recommend reading it, but after that first part, I felt like I got what I needed.
I enjoyed reading this book. However, it didn't live up to my expectations when I read the title. I expected practical advice on how to overcome addictions. I was also a little surprised that it was based on Buddhist teaching, I didn't get that from the description. But if you keep these things in mind and you know what to expect, you can enjoy this book.

I really liked the first half where Brewer explains different types of addiction. he also presents many studies conducted by him and others on
Wafa Foufa
Sadly, this is not what I expected.

I really wanted to get to know this interesting topic about addiction, because if you look closer you'll see that we're all suffering from at least one kind of addiction. This is why I had hoped that this book would enlighten me about this subject, and maybe share few tricks and tips about how to get over it.

But no.

It seemed to me that the author is like this little kid who had an amazing day at school and wanted to share with you what happened, but you just as
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Got the book free with my Audible subscription. It talks about using mindfulness to break a habit and learning to not act upon cravings.
Joséphine (Word Revel)
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Initial thoughts: The Craving Mind was a little confusing in terms of its stance towards mindfulness. On one hand, mindfulness was presented as a mental state underpinned by psychological study. On the other, a fair bit of Buddhist teachings were drawn upon without ever making clear the links between Buddhism and the origins of mindfulness. I already knew that mindfulness was historically rooted in Buddhism before gaining popularity beyond, but not much more. When Buddhis
Miebara Jato
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I confess to having a phone addiction. I recently read Cal Newport's incredible book, Digital Minimalism and I followed some of his recommendations. Example, I uninstalled social media apps like Whatsaap and Facebook on my phone. I now access Facebook once a week.

But despite these steps, I'm still not digitally minimal enough. I still constantly check my phone and surf the internet countless times in a day. Reading The Craving Mind is another try to cure my addiction. The answers to addiction i
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fi
I found it enlightening even though I've read a lot about these topics. It's a history of Dr. Brewer's research and how he came to build mindfulness apps to work through addictive habits.
I've been using "Eat Right Now" for about 5 weeks now and it didn't only change my relationship to food, it made me aware and empowered about a lot of habits, including how I relate to others.

The book is not a self-help manual. If you want help, get one of the apps from "Claritas" and work through the exercises
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
Very good book. More proof that Mindfulness is a skill we all need.
Morgan Blackledge
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. No time for a review :-(
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This checked a lot of boxes for my preferred nonfiction reading, with lots of good review from past reads on habits, addiction, brain function, and mindfulness.
The book has been described by others as accessible, and I guess it is, especially in comparison to what I imagine the scholarly articles and books referenced in his notes would be like. But I still found it challenging, and I can’t I say I completely understood every concept he introduced. Even though it had a diagram and everything, I
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked it at first, then it started to irritate me, partly because I was listening to the audiobook. My biggest take-away is that the author has accomplished so much and gone on many meditation retreats. Yup. Got it. And yeah, I know he went to Yale. He mentioned it several times. Found all of his personal stories distracting from the actual purpose of his book.

I hope his apps work for people. They sound promising.
Matt Schiavenza
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very thorough, interesting look at habit formation and addiction from a scientific standpoint.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it
If we put aside the self reference and acknowledges, we can collect several interesting facts and theoretical concepts about our craving minds. It's not a guide for meditation and the language is plain, not interesting from a "literature point of view", but this book can be seen as a collection of scientific concepts to understand our behaviours. ...more
The way the author clearly describes the neuroscience behind our patterns makes so much sense. His definition of addiction is "repeated use despite adverse consequences"; this makes addiction possibly applicable to many things in our lives - even thinking. Even love. I found myself stopping the audiobook to jot notes in my phone, then got the book from the library so I could go back to certain chapters. For example, a child who is raised with no predictable rules of engagement does not develop a ...more
Bill Mason
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not a psych person, but this is what I gathered. Addiction in terms of operant conditioning / reward-based learning (trigger, behavior, reward). Addiction as an instantiation of dukkha (a la Buddhism). Ways to circumvent addiction, based on mindfulness practices. Discusses the default mode network (DMN) activity and its relation to lapses in attention, with posterior cingulate cortex activity as a metric for gauging overall DMN activity. Discusses addiction in general, whether it's to substa ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For me this is the essential "self-help" book for not just destructive behaviors but for living wholly & peacefully. It's a perfect blend of East & West, philosophy & science. Author Jud Brewer, MD, PhD, is a psychiatrist & neuroscientist that combines Skinner's operant conditioning, Buddhist teachings, Kabat-Zinn's mindfulness-based stress-reduction (MBSR) & tons of neuroscientific research into one accessible, illuminating package. It's also a great intro into meditation & mindfulness practice ...more
Dee Renee  Chesnut
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 2017
I purchased this ebook for myself when two different libraries did not have this book to borrow.
We humans make habits with the pattern: trigger, behavior, reward, and we can use positive or negative reinforcement. Mindfulness helps us insert curiosity before behavior to help us become disenchanted and WAKE UP!
I recommend this book to any reader who enjoys reading about neuroscience discoveries about habits.
Sarah Beth Gillam
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm glad I read this because it was very interesting--the "Why We Get Hooked." But it doesn't really cover the "How We Can Break Bad Habits." He doesn't really address that part until the end of the book when he talks about his programs that you can pay to participate in. ...more
Bon Tom
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quite original and definitely scientific approach to mindfulness, meditation and management of your everyday cravings. I'll read this multiple times, that's for sure. ...more
Cheryl Johnson
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book after hearing a couple podcast interviews with Judson Brewer. I'm fascinated by why people do what they do--and don't do.

This book is amazingly insightful. The science is meaty, but JB's style makes it accessible to brain geeks and lay people alike. I guarantee you'll understand yourself a little better, have some specific action steps to take (if you want to), and learn a few basic Buddhist principles along the way.

I can't recommend this book any more highly. Everyone shou
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this book immensely helpful and fascinating. A few topics didn’t seem fully fleshed out, and at times I had a little trouble following the concepts even though I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about psychology and mindfulness. I may read this again to let all the good stuff really sink in! I’m also excited to learn where all this research is going and more about how Brewer and others are disseminating it through apps and feedback devices.
Crystal L.
Actual rating: 3.5.

Brewer thoroughly explains the implications of mindfulness in the context of addiction and cognitive control. He uses many anecdotes and research to reinforce his argument and draws from the Buddhist roots of mindfulness.
I ended up skipping a lot of the second half of the book since it became very repetitive. The most important information seems to be in the first chapter or two.
The chapter on the Mindfulness Training for Smoking Cessation is absolutely fascinating, solid evidence that mindfulness can be used to overcome addiction. This alone makes the book worth its price. Unfortunately, every chapter thereafter felt unnecessary and bored me to tears. ...more
Kristy Miller
Not a bad book, but rather repetitive. Dr. Brewer shows how his research in to mindfulness and meditation can help break all kinds of bad habits, from smoking, to drinking, to smart phone use, to eating. He also includes things we don't think of as addictions or bad habits, like love and overthinking. ...more
Ok but if I start meditating will I get better at life automatically? It is unclear, but I have downloaded three guided meditation/mindfulness apps to my phone to try it out (for reals this time)

One of the criticisms in another review had to do with whether using mindfulness to not be bothered by things mind not lead to a world where all the destructive people have taken over because we just turned the other check. I wonder as a woman whether this will just let people walk all over me more (why
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
Really liked this! I listened to this as an audiobook while on runs but I think I need to get a hard copy of this to reflect on more often.
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not everyone will enjoy this book, but I got a lot out of it. I found out about Judson Brewer via Sam Harris's Waking Up app, where he was interviewed. This book was exactly what I was looking for: a pan-disciplinary look at mindfulness, craving and suffering. ...more
Umut Uzun
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Paradoxically, the people who gave the worst ratings to this book are actually the ones who need it the most.

I am also thankful to this book for making me wonder about the mindfulness practices and try it by myself.
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