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Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive Paperback – January 1, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Borysenko can walk you through the darkness and point you to the light in which you will emerge, healed, whole and revived. -- Editor Kindred Spirit magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., is an internationally known speaker in spirituality, integrative medicine, and the mind/body connection and has a doctorate in medical sciences from Harvard Medical School. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, the best-selling author of numerous books, and a journalist and radio personality.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House; 2nd ed. edition (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401925510
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401925512
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In short, no author I know blends medical information with empathy and warmth as well as Joan Borysenko. This book is extremely precise, concrete and educational -- and at the same time, so wonderfully, embracingly empathic.

Borysenko approaches burnout from a physician's point of view. "Burnout and stress are different. Burnout is not stress, nor is it caused by stress." This is a guide to recognizing the symptoms of burnout, which is a distinct psychological and physical condition. This is why we need a Harvard trained medical scientist, psychologist, and director of a spiritual mentor training program to show us what it is, and how to step out of it.

Borysenko takes the various signs of burnout off the pedestal of "necessary losses." Yes, our world is overwhelming, but this specific condition doesn't just come with daily life. "Unless you've experienced burnout personally, you may not fully comprehend how serious this state of emotional exhaustion and loss of motivation can be, and how crucial it is to meet its challenge before you collapse into depression, addiction, or physical illness."

It's very moving to read passages like: "Not only can I no longer make toast, I *am* toast... I have nothing left to give and very little interest in receiving. I just want to be left alone" (xx). Who among us hasn't been there?

The questions this book addresses:
-- Are burnout and depression the same thing, or different?
-- In what ways do adverse experiences lead to learned helplessness that increases your chances of burnout?
-- How can you learn to manage your energy and find a dynamic state of balance?
-- How do you find your passion?
-- How do you mobilize courage?
-- What is it about living in the Now that is so enlivening?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Allow me to preface the negative review by saying I really wanted to like this book, and needed its benefits. Being an English teacher, I also appreciated the opening metaphor (The Divine Comedy); however, somewhere after the descriptions of burnout stages, Fried lost focus. Whether it be the reading level (alternates between casual girlfriend talk and academic language) or the content (from Facebook posts/personal anecdotes to psychological diagnostics/ inventories) a consistent thread failed to develop or tie the material together. I agree with another 2 star review that lamented the author wanting to publish a burnout memoir but lacking the material to do it, and I add that Borysenko apparently also had no other place for research on Depression. It would have been valuable to clearly distinguish between depression and burnout, but instead the author spends a disproportionate amount of space on items such as anti-depressant medication debate. One finds themselves wondering, "Did I pick up Psychology Today instead of my book? What happened to the topic at hand?" In short, if one distilled the elements that truly related to burnout (causes and remedies), one might end up with a 2 page article suited for a health magazine. I did not find the help that I sought from Fried, and had much higher expectations of depth from an author so highly credentialled. Very disappointing to have paid full price for this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Note: Free copy received via NetGalley.

I feel like not only did I have to sit through a half hour lecture by my physician about my daily habits, but when I told her I was having pain in my kidneys to "take two of these and call me in the morning." I sincerely don't feel like this book addressed the topic, and much of it was rehashing of personality types ala Myers-Briggs, there was quite a bit of psychotherapy/alternate spirituality buzzword-throwing, and far too many personal anecdotes that didn't really fit. It seems to me that Borysenko really wanted to write a memoir about being burned out and just didn't know how to do it. So instead we have a somewhat ineffectual self-book all about Borysenko helping herself. I didn't see anything new in this, and if you're like me and out of work it will not help you at all.

I think Borysenko really missed out on a good opportunity to help out a lot of people who are in very dire situations right now. These are the people who actually have the time to read a book like this and might benefit most from it. Instead we get advice like, "make sure you take time for vacation!" Her advice can pretty much be summed up in this passage from the second to last chapter:

"To prevent burnout, listen to yourself, rest when you need to, and love your body in the way you eat and what your senses take in...spend time in silence, meditate, take walks in nature. Talk or write, but don't let anything fester." Page 144 (quote verified using Google Books).

I also found the writing style to be a bit abrasive. It sounds as if she is writing directly to her friends who all come from the same or very similar backgrounds.
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Format: Kindle Edition
There is an easy litmus test for whether or not this book will be of any worth to you. Do you find inspirational quotes on facebook to be substantive enough to lift you from a state of complete physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion? If you think that the solution to your burn out can be found in poetry, then by all means read this book.

The first part of the book, "Why You Burn Out," really delivered. I was able to see clearly how the deck was stacked against me and half way through the book I was thinking, "Holy crap, I'm screwed." I put the panic on hold though, futilely believing that the, "How To Revive," part of the book would give me some practical, step-by-step instructions on how to pull myself back from the abyss. What I got was a slapped-together selection of trite platitudes that can be boiled down to basically, "Stop the negative self-talk, find your passion and have hope." Really? As if those things have never occurred to a person with a severe case of burn out. The old saying, "Easier said than done," seems a HUGE understatement in this case. It leaves me wondering if she has really ever experienced true burn out.

Here is an excerpt of her golden guide to reviving from burnout:
"What I'm practicing is so simple that it's really easy to miss. Burnout disappears in the Now because there's no separation between you and life unfolding. You are present and accounted for, immersed in a harmonious dance with the moment."

Easy to miss indeed. Here I am in the Now, with my ill health and crushing load of responsibilities, and miraculously my burnout is gone! It was so easy! Who knew all I needed was a harmonious dance with the moment?

So, as I said, if you think the solution to your feelings of complete overwhelm, exhaustion, frustration and end-of-your rope hopelessness can be found in some inspirational quotes, this book is for you.
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