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Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions
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Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  22,577 ratings  ·  2,635 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, a startling challenge to our thinking about depression and anxiety.

Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking antidepressants when he was a teenager. He was told—like his entire generation—that his problem
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 11th 2018)
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Patrick Carroll I think the central point of the book is that neuroscience/chemical imbalances/biology can't fully account, explain or manage depression and grief.…moreI think the central point of the book is that neuroscience/chemical imbalances/biology can't fully account, explain or manage depression and grief.(less)
Ira Marx was not the first philosopher/thinker to talk about the dangers of social alienation and/or the need for community and meaning.

Keep in mind it's …more
Marx was not the first philosopher/thinker to talk about the dangers of social alienation and/or the need for community and meaning.

Keep in mind it's called Marx's THEORY of alienation. Marx was a political philosopher.

Johann delves into research that supports what thinkers like Marx, Hegel, Pinel, Kant, Seneca, Jesus, etc. have been saying for millennia.

The book even talks about how all of these ideas are things we innately understand, hence the rising prevalence of depression and anxiety — reactions to the alienation.

It would be inaccurate to say this book says anything new. How many books really offer new information rather than new perspectives? The author is a journalist not a researcher. What is valuable about Lost Connections is how the information is organized and presented to usher people into these new perspectives with approachable language.(less)

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Emmy Gregory
Feb 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Hoo boy! Where to start? Well Hari starts by saying that everything I know about depression is wrong, which is a bold claim given that I've lived with it, waxing and waning, for most of my life. So what does he say?
Hari: Everyone thinks that depression is simply caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain!
Me: Well, of course depression is caused by chemicals in the brain. Every part of our experience is caused by chemicals in the brain. That's what the brain DOES. Love, rage and that annoying ti
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-read
I received a copy of this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

First, I would like to note that, as a psychiatric nurse, I like to consider myself a mental health professional who knows a little something about things like depression and anxiety. Second, I’m also certified in choice theory/reality therapy, which meshes pretty well with a lot of ideas in this book. Third, as someone who copes with (self-diagnosed) anxiety and depression, I’d like to think I know a few th
Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger)
I thank the author for writing this book and the person who gifted me a copy. Finally, the truth!!

Every psychiatrist who believes that serotonin chemical imbalance in the brain is the reason for depression and anxiety should read this book! Anyone taking prescribed anti-depressants and not finding relief from their symptoms needs to read this book. Like the author, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at a young age and prescribed medication. For years I tried many different drugs includi
Apr 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was a frustrating and infuriating book. I kept wanting to shout “but what about us who HAVE the connections you talk about, have everything going for us, and yet have lifelong depression?” Being told to join a gardening group and make friends is NOT HELPFUL when you have friends and already garden. Being told you need a job you feel is worthwhile, and a living wage, is not the answer when you already have both. It comes off as extraordinarily patronizing to be told “I know you don’t want to ...more
Aisha Smith
Mar 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book purports to be groundbreaking but is actually an example of sloppy and unscientific reasoning. The author quotes studies published in the 1990's to critique "modern thinking" about clinical depression and anxiety. However, modern thinking on clinical depression and anxiety has advanced by leaps and bounds just in the time I've been typing this review. At a minimum, a book about science should refer to science published in the New Millennium.

A further example of the author's messiness
بثينة العيسى
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s not seretonin; it’s society.

Arani Satgunaseelan
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Just not for me. I found that this book unnecessarily portrayed psychiatrists and anti-depressants negatively. I was presented with plenty of studies related to other causes but the idea of anti-depressant studies was quickly dismissed as being biased because of ‘Big Pharma’ funding - which I think is an insult to the men and women scientists working for companies conducting this research.

For me, the causes and ‘reconnections’ highlighted are all part of ‘psychiatric treatment’ in conjunction wi
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
"We need to move from 'focusing on chemical imbalances to focusing on power imbalances.'"

You are not suffering from a chemical imbalance in your brain. You are suffering from a social and spiritual imbalance in how we live. Much more than you've been told up to now, it's not serotonin; it's society. It's not your brain; it's your pain. Your biology can make your distress worse, for sure. But it's not the cause. It's not the driver. It's not the place to look for the main explanation, or the main
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
The book’s description field at Goodreads ( gives a more than adequate summary of its contents so I won’t make a point here of giving any further details here.

As usual, it’s hardest for me to write reviews for books I love the most. This might be the best book I’ve ever read about depression and anxiety, and I’ve read dozens, maybe hundreds, over many decades.

It’s a book that I wish I could own. I might borrow it from the library again at some point.

I c
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
At his best, Hari writes with real compassion and insight, advancing an important argument that we need to expand our understanding of both depression and of anti depressants. Popping pills to solve a chemical imbalance is not the answer, but rather identifying what it is that you/ we are disconnected from - including with the help of mental health professionals, but not exclusively. He consults experts, showcases innovative approaches and research and thinks about things ‘for a long time’ as he ...more
I'd recommend just listening to Hari's episode on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, episode #1077, because you'll hear the most important points of his book and Joe Rogan is a pretty good person to hear responding to it. I thought the book was unnecessarily lengthy, I guess he wanted to show off his journalistic skills because he had a few deep experiences talking to people about this.

He divided his book into two parts: what causes depression and then how we can solve it. I found the first p
Leo Robertson
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was gonna set this to 4* but Mr Hari does leave me feeling ever so empowered :)

And seems to provide me with new reasons to criticise Russell Brand! Which I love doing anyway ;) Because unfortunately for Mr Hari I'd argue, he seems trapped into calling for revolutions.
"Hey!" his publishers say. "Do that calling-for-revolution thing you do. Really gets books flying off shelves!"
The last book I read of Hari's, Chasing the Scream, I did so when a bit younger and looking for "THE answer", so his re
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it raises really important topics and there is a lot of very interesting data in there. There were bits of this book that I found helpful and insightful.

On the other hand, there is a lot of oversimplification in this book. I have been particularly annoyed with the oversimplifications around biology/psychopharmacology and almost dropped the book after the first few chapters and then I reminded myself that this is the area that I know a lot
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
"You aren’t a machine with broken parts. You are an animal whose needs are not being met. You need to have a community. You need to have meaningful values, not the junk values you’ve been pumped full of all your life, telling you happiness comes through money and buying objects. You need to have meaningful work. You need the natural world. You need to feel you are respected. You need a secure future. You need connections to all these things. You need to release any shame you might feel for havin ...more
Ashley Peterson
May 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
As a mental health professional and person living with major depressive disorder, I was fairly certain going in that I wasn’t going to agree with this book, which argues against any sort of biological causation for depression. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of absurdity and apparently deliberate misunderstanding/misinterpretation that I found.

From my perspective, the absurdity began when the author wrote the he had an “epiphany” at age 18: “I’m not happy, I’m not weak - I’m depressed!
Cindy Rollins
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
At times I almost liked this book. There are a couple good takeaways about materialism and our egos in an ago if social media, but the pseudoscience undoes most of that. The author seems to think “I thought about it a lot” is some sort of scientific evidence. Finally, he reveals a political agenda which is based on these “thoughts.” This is the future. Emotionalism parading as science.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
This is such a beautiful book that lays out the real reasons behind depression, the lies of pharmaceutical industry, the indecency of the so called scientist; and also shows us, providing real-life evidence on why people get depressed and how to deal with it.

In our day, the amount of scientific data that is published but cannot be replicated, has reached to the level of 80-85%. And the real ratio can be even worse than this. We see these kind of lies and schemes in all areas of medicine from ca
Holly Loucks
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Hari’s attempt to brainwash people into thinking socialism is the cure for depression, completely taints the rest of what-would-be legitimate arguments. I wanted to give Lost Connections one star because of how infuriating it is that Hari politisizes depression.

BUT, when I reflected at the end of this book - it did connect some dots in my own struggles.

I did like the point that Hari conclusively makes that “pain is our ally.” We NEED the painful emotions as symptoms & signal to show us that so
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions is by renowned UK author journalist Johann Hari. Through extensive research and interviews with a host of experts, educators and other medical professionals; the connection between depression and anxiety is established with its huge impact on all aspects of humanity. In addition, Hari shared his own stories of near death illness after food poisoning in Vietnam, and diagnosis with depression and acute anxiety ...more
Gary Moreau
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like many who will consider reading this book I have suffered from bouts of severe clinical depression for a long time despite a life that has been, by any standard measure, filled with success, recognition, and good fortune. And I know, like most who suffer from depression do, that 1. the pain is very real, and 2. career recognition, material success, and a comfortable life have little to do with the ultimate quality of life.

Three decades ago I was finally forced to seek help. And I mean forced
Instead of a personal failing or a chemical imbalance, what if depression is actually a symptom of a sick society? That’s the central question Hari asks here. He pinpoints various ways in which we are fundamentally disconnected from other people and from ourselves: disconnection from meaningful work and values, from a traumatic past that still affects us, from status, from nature, and from hope for the future. He thinks society needs to address these basic human needs rather than just pointing h ...more
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never dealt with depression but wanted a better understanding of what its like and what works (or doesn't work) to aid it. I think Hari does a pretty good job discussing this and I felt his deeply personal depression story was a moving contribution.

Hari criticises Big Pharma for perpetuating the myth that depression is caused solely by a chemical imbalance in your brain, a lack of serotonin, and that popping a pill is enough to fix that. But depression is way too complex and has many different c
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is an important book that has the potential to change the way many people see the world. It’s about depression, but depression on a continuum that includes the sort of unhappiness that most people in the modern world experience – which makes it not just a book for people with depression but a book for anyone who cares about their own mental health. It’s essentially a research-based popular science book on what makes a good life.

It’s a fairly short book that’s packed with a lot of informatio
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's strange when the book you need more than any other finds you.

This incredibly well researched book takes a look at the antidepressant industry and then in a heartbeat tells you what things other than simply biology, are making us stare longingly into the bottom of a river in the dark, weighing up whether or not the intensity of death would outweigh the constant relentless pain of the day to day.

The journey of the read was more efficient at motivating me to help myself and others than any o
Samidha; समिधा
*Note: A copy of the book was provided in exchange of an honest review. I would like to thank @BloomsburyIndia for the copy. The quotes are taken from an uncorrected proof copy and are subject to change.”


In my second semester of college, we did a paper called “Group and Youth Psychology”. What I remember most from the class is a sense of understanding that what is actually happening to me isn’t unique or tabooed in any way, and at the same time I also felt blessed that unlike some

Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I realized how controversial this book was as soon as I started talking about it to people in my life who have been diagnosed with depression. Challenging the strictly pharmaceutical approach to addressing depression is no small thing, and when I factor in that I’ve never been treated for depression, I feel...maybe not like the ideal person to sing the praises of this book or the ideas therein.
But since the ideas make a lot of sense to me, I’m going to sing a few praises and also note that the
Elvina Zafril
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pansing
I love to read books about psychology since I don't know when.

It helps me to understand more about things that related to psychology.

For this book talks more about depression and why people are depressed and how to find hope.

I think the author really go through research and dig deeper about depression. This book is well written and easy to read.

I agreed that the depression has the actual reasons. Some people having this negative experiences more than positive and not happy about it and tend to
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is really good--with the caveat that I have never struggled with depression or needed medicine for it. The argument is that the medicine doesn't deal with the underlying causes of depression and that depression is a signal that should not be ignored. I basically agree with this message and of course, Hari's review of the science is convincing. I also love his solutions--community, getting outside, finding meaningful work, connection to others--even if I feel more pessimistic than he do ...more
Lana Reads
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
It took me months to finish, but in the meantime, I had quite interesting discussions with friends about lots of points raised here. I appreciated how the author backed up his every statement with research, done somewhere in the world. The last part got a bit repetitive and dragged somewhat, but I still liked it a lot.

Depression and anxiety might, in one way, be the sanest reaction you have. It's a signal, saying - you shouldn't have to live this way, and if you aren't helped to find a bette
Long German rambling review ahead (below), be aware*, I'll try to wrap up a shorter English version, here we go: I really enjoyed the second half of the book, which reads like a collection of essays about people who challenge the current system with alternative ways of living in a (more friendly, less egoistical, less capitalism-oriented) society. If this was what the book was about - how to become a better human, how to make the world a better place, how to revive those old networks and societe ...more
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Johann Hari is an award-winning British journalist and playwright. He was a columnist for The Independent and the Huffington Post, and has won awards for his war reporting. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Nation, Le Monde, El Mundo, the Melbourne Age, El Pais, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Irish Times, The Guardian, Ha'aretz, the Time ...more

Articles featuring this book

We're almost halfway through 2018, and we thought it was high time to check in on the year's buzziest and most-loved...
54 likes · 40 comments
“Loneliness isn’t the physical absence of other people, he said—it’s the sense that you’re not sharing anything that matters with anyone else. If you have lots of people around you—perhaps even a husband or wife, or a family, or a busy workplace—but you don’t share anything that matters with them, then you’ll still be lonely.” 65 likes
“What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief—for our own lives not being as they should? What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost, yet still need?” 44 likes
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