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Thrilled to Death: How the Endless Pursuit of Pleasure Is Leaving Us Numb Paperback – September 23, 2007


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There are pivotal moments in the lives of all seekers when we realize that we’ve been traveling on our path of growth toward happiness and ful­fillment, but, simply put, we want to go faster.
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Hart is a professional psychologist, a prolific writer and well-known speaker. He covers different topics including the treatment of panic attacks and depression as well as stress.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849918529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849918520
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By read-aholic on October 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Thrilled to Death
By Dr. Archibald D. Hart

Dr. Hart explains anhedonia as the reduced ability to experience
pleasure. The lack of the ability to experience pleasure affects every
aspect of our lives: sexuality, addictions, relationships,
spirituality... He shares how the fast paced lives we live and the
increasing numbers of electronic gadgets we use in our day to day
lives rob us of the ability to feel pleasure and cause us to feel numb
to everything except the most extreme pleasure eliciting activities.
Where as in the past anhedonia was only seen in clients with major
depression or other severe mental illnesses it is more and more common
to see it as the illness and not just a symptom.

Dr. Hart shows in several simple diagrams how the feeling of pleasure
is lost as anhedonia develops due to over stimulation and a flooding
of dopamines which raises the threshold barrier that enjoyment must
cross in order to reach the pleasure center of the brain, requiring
major pleasures which are commonly found in drugs and other addicting
behaviors to cross the high threshold. This brings to mind an often
quoted "law" stated in my family home the "law of diminishing returns"
which in simple terms is the fact that the first candy bar always
taste far better than the 2nd, 5th, 10th... I wonder if this could be
attributed to the pleasure center's threshold being raised by each
successive candy bar eaten. As more is learned about our brains and
how they work is discovered and researched it is becoming apparent
that the ability to feel pleasure and feelings of happiness with your
life are closely intertwined.

I found it useful and insightful that Dr.
Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Amen on October 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an important book, by a distinguished scholar. Everyone should read this book. It is extremely well written, clear and easy to understand, despite the neuroscience. The message is convincing -- we are thrilling ourselves to death, wearing out the pleasure circuits in the brain with more and more stimulation, and ruining our potential for happiness for years to come, maybe forever. We need to get back to the little pleasures in life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Emily Chase-Smith on March 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ever feel overstimulated - like if the power went off and all the batteries ran out, it wouldn't be the worst thing? Then you can relate to the premise of Thrilled to Death:. Dr. Hart puts words to what nags at the back of the mind, that constant entertainment causes a general dulling of the ability to experience pleasure in kids and adults alike. The book's not preachy, but is scientifically supported. Now I finally know why Laura Ingalls could be thrilled by a corn cob doll when it takes a new episode of The Office to do the same for me. Have no fear, Dr. Hart doesn't leave us hanging, he gives suggestions on how to be able to enjoy the simple things once again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joy Freed on July 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dr. Hart's book is brilliant on how we are abusing the pleasure center with all our multi-tasking. Every parent needs to read this book and see what is happening to our generation. He is years ahead of his time with his research and many books will follow this theory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dee lundgren on December 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Thought provoking book that gets the reader to evaluate how as an individual and culture we are actually being thrilled to death. Due to overstimulation we are doing damage to the center of our brains that experience pleasure. Through prolonged overstimulation we will become dulled in our ability to experience pleasure. This makes sense as we can see that younger people have trouble not being bored with simple pleasures. Good practical application to everyday life. Hart is prophetic in his insight into the problems that we will experience as a culture. Good read with lots to ponder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book at the request of a councilor who was talking to me about a project I was working on about teenagers and multimedia addiction. This book explains so much of why our teens are becoming apathetic, committing suicide, and tuning out of real life for a cyber life. I feel this book could be so invaluable to any parent who is searching for answers about teenage behavior in our modern, multi-tasking, online world.
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Format: Paperback
I am of the opinion that Dr. Archibald Hart is a ground-breaking author and psychologist. He has a way of taking complex material and reducing it for the average person. In this fascinating volume, Dr. Hart gives us new insight into the neurological areas of the brain that become desensitized to pleasure, known as anhedonia (the opposite of hedonism, which is the pursuit of pleasure, a concept developed by Plato). Dr. Hart attributes the cause to an overstimulated reward circuitry, hijacked by the highly-addictive chemical component dopamine.

Having worked with youth for several years, I came across many students who were engaged in the recent phenomenon known as "cutting," because they had no capacity left for sensing pleasure as God designed it. Nothing satisfied them anymore. Dr. Hart makes a convincing case as to the reasons why. The body, he says, was designed to enjoy pleasure in modesty. Dr. Hart shows that when modest levels of pleasure are violated, there are deep consequences. This book is not only a must read for adults, but for parents with children, particularly in this generation of cyberspace addiction. I highly recommend it!
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