Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits” as Want to Read:
The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love – Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,313 ratings  ·  157 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

We are all vulnerable to addiction. Whether it’s a compulsion to constantly check social media, binge eating, smoking, excessive drinking, or any other behaviors, we may find ourselves uncontrollably repeating. Why are bad habits so
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Yale University Press (first published March 7th 2007)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Craving Mind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Craving Mind

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,313 ratings  ·  157 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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
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.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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
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
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
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
Morgan Blackledge
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. No time for a review :-(
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.
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
Matt Schiavenza
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very thorough, interesting look at habit formation and addiction from a scientific standpoint.
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.
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 ...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 ...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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teo 2050
~4h @ 2x. Contents:
(view spoiler)
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
Lisa Butterworth
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: brain-books
I was close to giving it four stars, but I'm still struggling to get past the IMO way overly broad definition of "addiction" to basically mean every bad habit ever.

I liked the theory work connecting behaviorism and Buddhist psychotherapy, not an expert in either so I don't really know how well it holds up. his Buddhist theology (do they call it theology?) seemed way less articulate and less compelling than Pema Chodron or Tara Brach, so that's not it's contribution.

But I did glean some good and
Mariia Morozova
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
The book is rich with scientific examples and terms, graphs and links to Buddhist texts. It seemed to be another ode to meditation. Basically, the more times we do something, the deeper this behavior roots in our brain. Each pattern gives us a rush of dopamine which makes us want to repeat this action time and again. How to deal with it? Observe the emotion that powers you when you experience a craving. The author gives a metaphor with a surfing board: ride the wave (your emotion) until it calms ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I thought this book was an interesting look at addiction across the board. Some of the science and medical jargon was lost on me, but overall I feel like I learned something about my own cravings and addictions. The cover says, "How we can break bad habits", but I would not call this is a "How to" book. It's more of an explanation of cravings and addictions, but with that in mind, it's much easier to look for a solution and you can start practicing mindfulness on your own after reading the book.
I listened to this on hoopla. An excellent book to help us understand how our minds work. It leans heavily on Buddhist teachings which was fine with me, but it may not be so for others. Especially when reading the book description, it mentions mindfulness but not Buddhism. I found the discussion of "flow state" to be somewhat off topic and thought more time was spent on it than warranted.
Michelle Urban
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book rocked. Also check about the podcast with the author on The One You Feed podcast

Great book, very thoughtful insight into meditation and why we do what we do. From food, thoughts, or smoking this book has it all.
Margaret Lozano
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Nice stories, but not exactly earth-shattering. If you keep up to date with psychology (especially the psychology of habit), you probably won't find anything new here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Your Brain, Explained: What Neuroscience Reveals About Your Brain and its Quirks
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
  • The Art of Mindful Living: How to Bring Love, Compassion, and Inner Peace Into Your Daily Life
  • Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself
  • The Brain Fog Fix: Reclaim Your Focus, Memory, and Joy in Just 3 Weeks
  • Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices
  • Freeing Yourself from Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want
  • Stick with It: The Science of Lasting Changes
  • Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book
  • The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes
  • Real Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation
  • Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
  • The Science of Compassion: A Modern Approach for Cultivating Empathy, Love, and Connection
  • The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business
  • Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts That Continue to Shape Our World
  • In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
  • Liminal Thinking
  • Unchain Your Brain
See similar books…
“Until we define happiness for ourselves, clearly seeing the difference between excitement and joy, for example, our habits will likely not change. We will keep returning to the fruits of our desires.” 2 likes
“In his book In This Very Life, the Burmese meditation teacher Sayadaw U Pandita, wrote, "In their quest for happiness, people mistake excitement of the mind for real happiness." We get excited when we hear good news, start a new relationship, or ride a roller coaster. Somewhere in human history, we were conditioned to think that the feeling we get when dopamine fires in our brain equals happiness. Don't forget, this was probably set up so that we would remember where food could be found, not to give us the feeling "you are now fulfilled." To be sure, defining happiness is a tricky business, and very subjective. Scientific definitions of happiness continue to be controversial and hotly debated. The emotion doesn't seem to be something that fits into a survival-of-the-fittest learning algorithm. But we can be reasonably sure that the anticipation of a reward isn't happiness.” 2 likes
More quotes…