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First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story About Anxiety

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  9,681 ratings  ·  1,095 reviews

Sarah Wilson - bestselling author and entrepreneur, intrepid solver of problems and investigator of how to live a better life - has helped over 650,000 people across the world to quit sugar. She has also been an anxiety sufferer her whole life.

In her new book, she directs her intense focus and fierce investigatory skills onto this lifetime companion of hers, looking at the

Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Macmillan Australia
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  9,681 ratings  ·  1,095 reviews

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Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Four stars for writing candidly about mental health. Bravo!

1 star for:
- Terrible editing.
- Blanket statements such as 'anxiety makes you fat'.
- Inconsistencies in timelines such as (and I'm paraphrasing) 'I haven't owned a car in 5 years' to 'I spent years researching what car to buy and I bought the most environmentally sound car in the world', 'I live in the city' to 'I am a nomad and have lived in 7 different places in the last year'. Huh? I'm lost.
- The bit about going to Thai massage place
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book isn't for everybody, but it was 100% for me. It seems people didn't like the meandering structure or the conversational style, which is a-ok, obviously. You do you. But I wanted to write a review because I found the book SO beautiful and helpful, and I was sceptical before buying it, so I wanted to speak directly to my fellow sceptics.

I have read many many books on related subjects the last ten years, and I find most have a tiresome "do these 10 simple things and your anxiety will be g
Carol (Bookaria)
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
“The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful”

This is the author’s honest and vibrant account of her struggle with anxiety and what she has done to cope or manage it throughout her life. I consider it part-memoir and part self-help book.

I found the book interesting and helpful. In it, Sarah Wilson references books and quotes from other authors such as Matt Haig, Glennon Doyle, Louise Hay , and Eckhart Tolle whose book The Power of Now I’ve read at lea
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Pitched as a ‘new story about’ anxiety, this underwhelming book has moments of cut-through which are almost lost in celebrity name-dropping and privileged advice. There are the seeds of interesting ideas within the narrative, but each time one is approached the strangely stilted structure interferes. The chance to genuinely engage with anxiety in a new way is lost.

“We yearn for something even if we don’t know what it looks like or if it actually exists”

Sarah Wilson is a journalist/tv presenter
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: electronic, own
Pro tip: Don’t write a memoir like a self help/motivational book.

The reason: It patronises the reader and makes the author seem entirely entitled and self centred.

Some of the the thoughts and suggestions she gave about managing anxiety were nauseating to someone who has an anxiety disorder. Some suggestions rely on the privilege she has in her life and shouldn’t be toted as necessary salves to anxiety.

If she wanted to write about her anxiety and what she’s finds interesting about the conditio
I'm not reviewing this one. A book on anxiety that made me anxious! Not for me. ...more
Johann (jobis89)
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Purposeful, creative, bold, rich, deep things are always beautiful.”

I feel like books covering mental health topics are quite personal - what works for you may not work for another. Luckily this one really worked for me! Wilson is funny and relatable, and she describes anxiety in a way that I truly understood. It’s unapologetically raw and personal, and I was sad to finish it.

It’s written in a very conversational style, the structure is a tad chaotic and repeatedly jumps around to different thi
Kate Olson
(Review copy provided by publisher) FIRST, I'm going to tell you this: this book is NOT for people in crisis and is NOT for people with severe anxiety who are not working with a physician or therapist. It is NOT a recipe for "fixing" anxiety and it's NOT a cure-all (actually, it's not a cure-anything).

I went into this book with a strong affinity for the title and the concept of turning anxiety from an ugly beast into something beautiful, without completely obliterating the beast itself. And I di
Kari Larsen
Jan 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
How do you give zero stars?
This book...I really wanted to love it, there were some great moments and thoughts in it that inspire you to look at your anxiety differently - but mostly this book is flat out irresponsible. The passages about how evil anti depressants are was traumatizing to me and I’m sure to many other people. I’ve had good and bad experiences with different medications but this book made me feel like they had all permanently damaged me and that I couldn’t use them if I needed the
Dec 24, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few reasons I could not finish this book;

-oof... editing.. where. is. it.
This is beyond conversational style, it’s the same speed as when my mind rambles pre-crisis with 100 thoughts at once. I can respect that she actually has an anxiety disorder but a book still needs direction.

-some information was inaccurate or overgeneralized

-dangerous statements such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is some outdated hippy dippy “just make yourself happy” bullshit therapy that nobody uses anymo
Charmaine Anderson
I loved this book. The inconsistency, the raw honesty and the unapologetic nakedness of the author was beautiful. It reads much like an anxious persons mind - some facts may not add up, backtracking, random side notes popped in. It felt like much being in my own brain, as if sometimes I was reading my own thoughts. I would not say this is a self help book, just a recap of the struggles of one person who recalls their own attempts to calm their life, and bring meaning.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There were definitely little moments of inspiration for me in this book, but the majority of the book didn’t feel relatable. The format of the book was confusing and felt extremely scattered most of the time.

I found myself getting frustrated hearing stories about how much more anxious Wilson has been her whole life than I have. Maybe it’s my own anxiety but I kept feeling like this was a weird game of Wilson trying to one-up me. I had a difficult time listening to her stories about isolated ret
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not finish this book, I got nearly half way through and skimmed pretty much the whole thing, it was not engaging or thoughtful and all together crap! The whole book is Sarah muddling all this scientific explanations of anxiety and mental health and occasionally putting her 2 cents in and agreeing or disagreeing with something. Theres no real personal level to this maybe it gets better later on? I dont know i couldn't continue with it. ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a very long time follower of Sarah Wilson, I so wanted to love this book. She is an inspirational person who has helped me greatly with my health (mental and physical).

I applaud her bravery and honesty as some aspects of the book are very hard to read. Evisceratingly honest, one might say. Some of her ideas, and approaches and themes about anxiety's manifestations and how to manage and even live with it are excellent and I think will be (largely) helpful to many readers.

But dear lord it is b
Stopping at 46%.

This book is giving me anxiety!
I am not sure if this is supposed to be a memoir or a self-help book but it is more like reading self published ramblings with no editor in sight. Time lines were inconsistent and I honestly got nothing out of it besides more anxiety reading about her manic thoughts. Many times in the book she states she is still going through it. So, I am not sure that anything has helped her yet. This is not a personal attack on the author about her life and the w
Sarah Wilson is an Australian journalist and lifestyle guru famous for her book I Quit Sugar. This is a memoir-in-bits of her life with bipolar disorder and anxiety, with lots of references to other writers and strategies for things that might help. The title comes from a Chinese proverb: you have to know and appreciate what you’re fighting before you have a hope of overcoming it. I didn’t much like the structure – 137 fairly short sections; it just feels like a failure to come up with a success ...more
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ellen Read
You know how you book into a hotel and that night you can't sleep, because of the hum of the air conditioning, or maybe it's the loud construction noise coming right through the window? what do you do? Change rooms? Well author, Sarah Wilson has techniques that helps us with certain anxiety, how to cope with it, how to "sit with it".... what is anxiety? It something that drives people, that highly intelligent people suffer from, like Einstein and even there are different types of anxiety. A spi ...more
Soha Ashraf
Mar 31, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Sarah Wilson shared her journey with anxiety throughout the years. I felt so sorry for her that she had to go through all of that. She mentioned loads and loads of other book references and quotes of famous Authors. It was nice but the book kind of lost its authenticity. Also, the writing style is a bit too casual for a published book. As every chapter is a big meshed-up concoction of her thoughts.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have two kinds of slumps.

1. I cannot focus, I cannot think, I cannot read.
2. I devour books in hopes of feeling something (often joined by varying cups and flavours of tea).

Today has been a number 2 kind of day where I managed to read almost all of Wilson's First, We Make the Beast Beautiful (FWMtBB). I first came across this book in a generic shop, not one for books, probably Kmart, and found myself in love with the cover. The next thing, was the fact that the book focused on anxiety, and hec
May 04, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone knows that anxiety is craeted through/by childhood trauma.
Not sure how Sarah, with financial and professional status, has not dealt with her trauma properly.
It's clear at the very end of the book it's a trauma relating to her mother.
Lots of mistakes and errors.
Misleading - lots of timeline errors... she has a car, is a nomad, doesn't drive, drives a car, doesn't own anything.
At least she was honest about her 'instagram perfect' Europe trip being a disaster.
Confused... whats
Rebecca Jane Brown
I need time to mull this over.
First of all, I was sent this by the publishers. No expectations at all on their behalf.

Secondly, I’m battling severe anxiety right now. It might not be the best time to read this.

Despite my second point, one thing is clear: this book needed to be two. A more scientific approach and the second being a memoir. The cross between the two was hard to follow.

Page 19, where the author mentions the potential for Anxiety to be made up? Things like that really impact the boo
Span Streatfeild
Both intoxicatingly relatable and completely foreign. A must read.
Jessica Jeffers
A little too scattered to serve me, either as a reader or as an anxious person. Setting it down at the halfway mark.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really struggled to get through this book. It took me forever to read and I honestly had to push myself to finish it. In fact, I would say that other than a few pieces of wise information, this book made my anxiety worse than actually helped it.

First of all, the astounding place of privilege this book comes from. Wow. At one point the author literally says that she never worries about money. And then has an anecdote about how $10,000 magically appeared when she needed because she forgot about
H.A. Leuschel
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an insightful and moving account about anxiety from a woman whose mental health she has to fight for every single day. I'm in awe of Sarah Wilson and her life-affirming journey and honest portrayal of what it is like to have a panoply of illnesses to deal with. The author points out that her book does not provide solutions nor clear remedies for anxiety - however - through her open minded and passionate account of her search for one, she has opened my eyes to what it is like to be brave ...more
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book for people who struggle with anxiety, confusion, and existential curiosity (and pretty much as an inevitable consequence, existential angst).

We all struggle in these ways. If we don’t, we aren’t listening. I love how Sarah views anxiety in this way. I love how Sarah normalises anxious feelings and is brave enough to shine a light on her struggles in order to help us feel like we are not alone. What an amazing human.

In this book, Sarah suggests that perhaps anxiety is not someth
2.5 stars - So. I have feelings, I am just going to rattle them off.

SooooOoo many mistakes which made me question if there was an editor (but don't worry, she mentions her editor every two seconds - so there was one... apparently). She is clearly *clearly* a white woman with a relative amount of economic privilege, I would suggest having people of diverse backgrounds read your material before publishing it, otherwise, you might come across quite the asshole at times. A lot of blanket statements
Oct 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of the divisive act that is known as the “hate read”: going into a book knowing you’re probably going to hate it, and reading it anyway. When I came into a copy of this book I thought I was going to find some perverse pleasure in seeing Sarah Wilson do to mental health what she did to nutrition (ie fuck it up with a lack of qualification), but I didn’t. This book is deeply problematic and it made me more anxious reading it.

Despite being full of enough disclaimers and references t
Ema Hegberg
Aug 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Approach this book with caution (or not at all). It paints a horrifically simplified view of anxiety. The severity of this condition - the fact that it isolates people, causes them to cut and/or attempt suicide - is not rightfully addressed. Also there’s very little science in this book and practically nothing is sited. If you are looking for good information on anxiety and depression, don’t waste your time with this one. Read Andrew Solomon’s “The Noonday Demon” instead.
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