In a sure-to-be-controversial book, Hari delivers a weighty, well-supported, persuasive argument against treating depression...

LOST CONNECTIONS

UNCOVERING THE REAL CAUSES OF DEPRESSION – AND THE UNEXPECTED SOLUTIONS

Mining the root causes of depression and anxiety.

Acclaimed British journalist Hari researched and wrote his bestselling debut, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs (2015), while pushing aside work on a subject that was much too personal to accept and scrutinize at the time. This book, the culmination of a 40,000-mile odyssey and hundreds of hours of interviews with social scientists and depression sufferers (including those who’ve recovered), presents a theory that directly challenges long-held beliefs about depression’s causes and cures. The subject matter is exquisitely personal for the author, since he’d battled chronic melancholy since his teenage years and was prescribed the “chemical armor” of antidepressants well into his young adulthood. Though his dosage increased as the symptoms periodically resurfaced, he continued promoting his condition as a brain-induced malady with its time-tested cure being a strict regimen of pharmaceutical chemicals. Taking a different approach from the one he’d been following for most of his life, Hari introduces a new direction in the debate over the origins of depression, which he developed after deciding to cease all medication and become “chemically naked” at age 31. The author challenges classically held theories about depression and its remedies in chapters brought to life with interviews, personal observations, and field-professional summations. Perhaps most convincing is the author’s thorough explanation of what he believes are the proven causes of depression and anxiety, which include disconnection from work, society, values, nature, and a secure future. These factors, humanized with anecdotes, personal history, and social science, directly contradict the chemical-imbalance hypothesis hard-wired into the contemporary medical community. Hari also chronicles his experiences with reconnective solutions, journeys that took him from a Berlin housing project to an Amish village to rediscover what he deems as the immense (natural) antidepressive benefits of meaningful work, social interaction, and selflessness.

In a sure-to-be-controversial book, Hari delivers a weighty, well-supported, persuasive argument against treating depression pharmaceutically.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63286-830-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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