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Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  26,224 ratings  ·  1,134 reviews
The good news is that anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem, and other "black holes" of depression can be cured without drugs. In Feeling Good, eminent psychiatrist, David D. Burns, M.D., outlines the remarkable, scientifically proven techniques that will immediately lift your spirits and help you develop a positive outlook on life. Now, in this updat ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 736 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Harper (first published 1980)
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Suzy As far as I know there are two editions:
1st edition was published in 1980
2nd edition was published in 1999

so just make sure that the copy you get is p…more
As far as I know there are two editions:
1st edition was published in 1980
2nd edition was published in 1999

so just make sure that the copy you get is published after 1999.

As for the size, i like this small paperback version. It's small so you can bring it everywhere. It's also cheap so that it's accessible to the general public.(less)

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Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Many years ago I had a confluence of tragic events in my life and I decided to see a psychologist for a while. One day the psychologist told me that I needed to "deal with my feelings". I told him in frustration that I heard that many times before, but that I did not understand what that meant. I asked him what exactly do people do when they "deal with their feelings". He was silent for a few moments and then he wrote the name of this book down on a slip of paper. This book will tell you how to ...more
Roy Lotz
If you can love and respect yourself in failure, worlds of adventure and new experiences will open up before you, and your fears will vanish.

It is an interesting statement on contemporary culture that practical, self-help books are often looked down on as lowbrow, unsophisticated, and unworthy of serious consideration. Just note how often in reviews of self-help books you come across the phrase, “I don’t normally read books like this,” or the like. Of course, skepticism regarding books of th
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Yeah, I'm reading self-help books now. Surprised?

There are a lot of components to Feeling Good that still grated on the self-help misanthrope-hopeless-fuckface-jaded-dickhead that I usually am, and it's mostly in David Burns's overtly assertive and "it's-so-simple" prose styling. Sometimes it's great because he's gifted at taking highly nuanced and sophisticated concepts about cognition and psychiatry and making them digestible and applicable; other times the tone sort of crosses into the sort
Jun 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone that wants to help alter their moods
Shelves: self-help
A therapist recommended this book to me. It is basically about how you choose your moods based on how you choose to respond to different situations and events. It really helped me to be in a better mood more often and be more positive about things. You must read this book with an open mind; there is no point if you are skeptical from the start. But it can definitely help you become a happier person.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have been interested in cognitive behavioural therapy, on and off, for many years, primarily because it is psychological flavour of the decade, or several decades.

On the other hand it presents perspectives which are often extremely alien to what I feel.... Often when I read books about CBT I just want to shout "No, no, no!!!" "Rubbish" and "You've got to be joking!"

This book went further than any other I've read to explain why CBT makes sense, why it's good for us, how it works, and how it ca
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Need to change your thinking? Need to find the will? Need to find hope? Need to find your worth?

This book doesn't do that for you.

But it teaches you how to change your thinking so YOU can discover these things that were there all along. I'm depressed... super-depressed and when I'm in a good frame of mind nothing is all that bad. But when I am in a slump, it's hard to even see the point in trying. Much less reading a stupid book. But this book even shows you what to do when you don't even want t
I rarely, if ever, DNF a book, but I had to with this one because I was bored spitless. I got through 80 pages and realized I had only read 40 because the other 40 were just white space. It also didn't help that I've studied this stuff for years and it's not even a refresher.

Moving on, pretending this never happened.
Aug 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Here's the book in a nutshell: How you feel is entirely determined by your mental interpretation of things that happen to you. Nobody "makes" you unhappy, you decide that on your own. Most of the time, the information you use when deciding to feel depressed is based on false reasoning. Therefore, a great deal of depression can be treated by thinking through your reasoning, identifying distortions, and correcting the misconception.

The exercize that the authors give again and again is to: 1) Writ
H.A. Fowler
Jan 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one -- get a newer edition
I wanted to enjoy and recommend this book, but I suspect they must have extensively rewritten the newer edition. I don't see how any self-respecting person can get far being called "delusional" and "silly" among other things, over and over again. The tone of this edition is just horrible, and the "blame the victim" mentality on top of the dismissal of often life-saving medications, forced me to just give up on this book before I was even through the first three or four chapters.

As a former psych
Aug 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Read this as Carey Tennis off Salon had recommended it. Its basically Cognitive Behavioural Therapy you can do on your own, so like Cognitive Behavioural therapy it basically consists of totally avoiding any depth or introspection, and constantly screaming at yourself "Im utterly happy, Im the best me I can possibly be!"

If the way human beings felt inside themselves had any connection at all with the statements they makes, this might be a good approach. As humans are infinitely more complex tha
Daniel Slabodar
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When you feel bad, you go to a doctor, doctor looks at you and gives you pills for fixing your hormonal apparatus (which is fine, I promise you). You start taking pills, just for sleeping, then for overcoming depression, and then for something else and etc'. At some point you think, I cannot live without the pills, I'm addicted. But what about the real reason (which was wrong in the first place) your reasoning mechanism you are trying to shut down with pills?

This book is a self-help guide using
Jun 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Ariel by: Psychologist
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bota Suleimenova
Oct 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
The reason I mostly hate self-help books is that self-help books never help.
Billie Pritchett
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
David Burns' Feeling Good is about the science of cognitive therapy. The theory states that your emotions are caused by your thoughts, and most negative emotions are caused by distortions in your thoughts, a series of illogical thoughts. They are:
(1) All-or-nothing thinking: Everything is perfect or everything is imperfect; everything is good or everything is evil; everything is correct or everything is incorrect; etc.
(2) Overgeneralization: One instance of something is used to explain all other
Dec 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
Most of the book is comprised of example therapy sessions he had with his patients. Every single one of them goes like this...

Next I will talk to Sheila, she is married to a wonderful man, has 5 successful happy children, is an award winning chef, helped her parents escape the Nazis, graduated from Harvard, is shockingly beautiful, and in her spare time she conducts orchestras. She came into my office feeling a bit down, let's see what happened next!

"I feel a bit down"
"WTF, why? You are of extre
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I seriously love this book. I've referred to parts of it multiple times throughout the last 8 years or so of my life. This is the first time I've read it all the way through - in the past I've felt better about halfway through and quit reading. I don't recommend you do this - read it all!

Dr. Burns is a cognitive behavioral therapist who uses this book to teach you how to use your own thoughts to improve your moods. The basic premise is that all of our feelings are created by our thoughts, and ou
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
A pile of Seneca, a dollop of Zhuangzi, some good takedowns of Freud and Skinner, some 7th grade reading level and a lot of charts. Put it together, and you get the surprisingly functional methodology that is CBT. Feeling Good is exactly the self-help book one would imagine when reading the phrase "drug-semi skeptic psychiatrist with long history of clinical work writes highly structured, accessible cognitive therapy book for the lay audience." If that sounds a little less than utterly transform ...more
Shannon Simmons
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I credit this book with helping to save my life! I'm sure I was at a point where I was ready to hear and put into action the advice in this book which made it easier for me to receive and incorporate the advice into my life. But I think anybody would benefit from the advice and exercises in this book.

Our thoughts shape our perspective and there for shape our lives and our experiences. Changing those negative thoughts that form and turning them into positive ones are the key to success. This boo
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book changed my life.

Dr. Burns is really easy to understand, and funny too, though I'm not sure if he means to be. I got through the book fairly quickly for its size, and I have currently been reading and re-reading it. It has become my bible. It comes with me everywhere. Once I read through it once, it became even easier to go back and find a certain subject if I felt I needed a little catch-up on something, so it is really excellent even after you do your initial reading. I wish I had th
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Stopped reading about 100 pages in. It was written I think in the 80s, so although I'm sure a lot of the foundational pieces are really key and haven't changed, it just felt really old-fashioned for me. There was a lot of casual sexism that I struggled with, and it just felt more like a textbook than anything else, which made it difficult and not exciting to read. I'm sure I'll pick it up over the years and read diff parts of it, refer to diff pieces of it. It just wasn't for me right now. ...more
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ANYONE struggling with depression or anxiety
Recommended to Tatiana by: Infinite PhDs and Counselors
This book saved me from the brink 5 years ago, by helping me to take control of my own negative spinning thoughts and applying Cognitive Rationale to them one at a time. It helped me go much farther in life and now, according to my new therapist, I have to revisit it. Bah!! Will i never learn to stop my catastrophic thinking permenantly? Anyways, whining aside, it's a much better option to do these simple exercises than drive myself to the madhouse for good. And the relief of not being a slave t ...more
Jason Gibbons
Mar 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
An absolute flaming pile of drivel that I would actually consider dangerous to a deeply depressed person. Stay away and if your therapist has this on their shelf, run.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wretched. So unpleasant and unhelpful that it's put me off reading any more books in the genre. Not recommended for people and other living things. ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Took me almost half a year to finish this - not because it was too slow or difficult, but because it’s a book that truly requires a lot of active reflection. This book explains in detail the theory and practical strategies for CBT for daily living, from the background of a psychiatrist.

In my opinion, everyone and anyone could benefit from understanding the principles of CBT. Every human on this planet has unfairly talked down to themselves, experienced a pattern of distorted thinking, procrasti
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Good insights, but I got the impression that the author thought that whoever would read the book would be stupid.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book which leaves you feeling good.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book can help you identify twisted thinking and then change it to something more realistic. It was amazing to me to discover just how twisted, unhelpful and just plain irrational my thinking was! Most negative thinking falls into these categories. But so does "positive thinking" and affirmations -- they can be just as black and white, twisted and unhelpful. Feeling Good teaches you how to identify what Burns calls cognitive distortions and replace them with more rational and reasonable thou ...more
Natalie Cardon
This book helps people get over depression by realizing your thoughts sometimes lie to you, exaggerate or basically make no sense. For example, all or nothing, discounting the positive, or magnifying the negative. I can't believe how frequently I did this. The author is so persuasive and easy to read. This is literally one of the top life changing books I've ever read. I would definitely recommend it for depressed people AND average every day people. ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
I started out loving this book. His thesis is this: thoughts create emotion, not the other way around. But his tone is so condescending that I could barely make it to the end of this unecessarily fat book.
Ching Ching
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
September 21, 2019, a crater found its way inside my heart again. I thought I had been doing well with all the books I have been internalizing for the past two years, but I guess you can't force the process to end swiftly. That's probably why it's called 'process', you have to endure all the way and occasionally do some good old fashioned self-reflection. People think that just because you have a better understanding of psychology, you've got a better understanding of yourself. An exposure to th ...more
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David D. Burns is an adjunct professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the author of the best-selling book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Burns popularized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) when his book became a best seller during the 1980s.

Burns received his B.A. from Amherst College in 1964 and his M.D. fro

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