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How to Stay Sane (The School of Life) Paperback – December 24, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: The School of Life
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (December 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250030633
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250030634
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s a crazy world out there. Keeping it together is hard. Pressure, confusion, and conflicts abound, so one should find ways to not only cope but also thrive. In her pithy contribution to the School of Life series, Perry explores the components of a rational lifestyle on many levels. She suggests ways to enact objective and accurate self-assessments, hone healthy interpersonal skills, learn how to appreciate good stress and recognize bad, and, finally, create empowering self-narratives. Throughout her comprehensive analysis of the human psyche, Perry emphasizes behaviors and outlines conditions that work to one’s benefit. Conscious self-observation, she advises, helps one escape emotional ruts, develop nurturing relationships, and reinvent mindsets. Concluding that there is no single “right” approach for every person or lifestyle, Perry helpfully supports her recommendations with practical exercises that, she posits, may preclude the need for external psychotherapeutic intervention. Throughout, Perry offers guidance that is both revelatory and achievable. --Carol Haggas

Review

“Self-Help Books for the Rest of Us.”—The New York Times

“Sanity, Philippa Perry shows in this brilliant little book, is not about normality, but about how to maintain a flexible position between rigidity and chaos.”—The Economist, Books of the Year

“[Perry's] inviting tone (complimented by lighthearted illustrations throughout) and friendly prose make this an accessible addition to the School of Life publications.”—Publishers Weekly

“Using stories from her therapy practice to illustrate her points as well as numerous exercises to conduct alone, with a loved one or within a group, Perry brings new light to a well-visited subject.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Perry offers guidance that is both revelatory and achievable.”—Booklist

“In an age of moral and practical confusions, the self-help book is crying out to be redesigned and rehabilitated. The School of Life announces a rebirth with a series that examines the great issues of life, including money, sanity, work, technology, and the desire to alter the world for the better.”—Alain de Botton, The School of Life Series Editor

“The School of Life offers radical ways to help us raid the treasure trove of human knowledge.”—The Independent on Sunday (London)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 20 customer reviews
This is a practical guide for how to live, it's a quick read with easy to apply lessons.
Stephanie D Cross
The book is open enough to allow one to use their underlying culture and to move forward to a more sane and productive life.
George
The most important section of the book is, in my opinion, the exercises at the end of it.
Damaskcat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Alix G on January 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this slender volume to be a very positive guide and surprisingly helpful to short circuiting negative thinking, particularly in breaking through those destructive thought cycles that tend to hit at 3.00am when you are at your most vulnerable. I tried a few of the simple exercises the book describes, and was surprised that they have been relatively effective for me. I selected this book (somewhat sceptically) from a review I read in the Economist, and have not regretted the purchase. It underscores the truth that you cannot control what happens to you, but you can control the way you think about and react to external events.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Yun Kwan Yiu on January 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very systematic book and explains how we could control our minds very well. No 'positive encouragement' bulls*** that usually appears in those 'self-help' books.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deb on December 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
Ohmygoodness. Philippa Perry’s _How to Stay Sane_ is an insanely good read.

It’s simply mind-boggling how she is able to succinctly and satisfyingly weave together so many complex concepts of psychotherapy and neuroscience into such a readable, relatable, and resourceful little gem. Wow. (It’s been a few days since I finished this book, and I’m still amazed.)

The heart and soul of this book is Philippa’s theory that human change and growth operate in four key areas in our lives which we have influence: self-observation, relating to others, stress, and personal narratives:
“So how do we stay sane? We can develop our faculties of self-observation so that we can have the capacity to observe even our strongest emotions, rather than being defined by them, allowing ourselves to take in the bigger picture. Self-observation helps us avoid too much self-justification and getting stuck in patterns of behaviour that no longer work for us. We can prioritize nurturing relationships and allow ourselves to be open. We can relate—not as who we *think* we should be, but who we actually *are*, thus giving ourselves the chance to connect and form bonds with others. We can seek out ‘good stress’ to keep our minds and bodies fit for purpose, and we can be watchful of the stories we hear and the belief systems we live our lives by. We can edit our story at any time, to right ourselves if we veer off course either into chaos or rigidity.” (p. 127)

Despite its small size, the book is monumentally impactful. Each word is chosen carefully, each sentence connected organically, each chapter woven seamlessly.

If I had to give my psychotherapy clients one book to start out with, I think this would be it. Actually, I think I want to read it again myself.

Yep, it’s that insanely good.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By cohasset7 on May 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Perry's pithy short book is more valuable than so many others in the same domain. Don't let the number of pages devalue the content in your mind. There is exponential real advice here in every concentrated sentence. I bought more to give to colleagues and friends as everyone will relate. The cover caused comment on my boat rode in to Boston. Bewildering to the observer - a small simple clear cover- had knowledge and information that connects and you want to refer to- this has it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat on October 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A short book this nevertheless gives food for thought to anyone who has ever considered whether they can do anything to preserve their own sanity. It is divided into four sections: - Self-Observation, Relating to Others, Stress and What’s the Story? The last section heading may seem a little off the wall but it is about the stories we tell ourselves about our own lives and the world around us.

The most important section of the book is, in my opinion, the exercises at the end of it. If carried out properly these are likely to improve anyone’s ability to analyse themselves and to make sense of the way they behave and think.

There are also notes on each section and a chapter headed ‘Homework’ which is about books consulted and which provides further reading for those interested in exploring the subject further. I found the book easy to understand and it was written in a relaxed style which made the subject matter easily accessible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LuAnn L. Bennett on October 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great little guide with good common sense advice. It is a quick but useful read. I highly recommend it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary T. Myers on August 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Practical, useful information. It is a book that I will read again. It is also very portable and easy to handle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joyce on January 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
i like it. its very refreshing.
it's like being gently slapped on the face with the cold hard truth every time i turn a page.
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