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Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life Paperback – Bargain Price, February 1, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Practically everyone agonizes over decisions or situations from time to time, but overthinkers carry analysis and introspection to unhealthy extremes, "getting caught in torrents of negative thoughts and emotions,"according to this book. Even minor events can trigger a chain of second-guessing in which negative emotions are "amplified instead of managed." Kneading damaging thoughts like dough, overthinkers fall victim to a "yeast effect" that causes negativity to grow and take control of their lives, distort their perspectives and damage relationships, careers and emotional (and perhaps physical) health. Nolen-Hoeksema, a University of Michigan psychology professor and author of five professional books, explores why people overthink, contends and explains why too much thinking is predominantly a woman’s disease and prescribes a three-step program to overcome overthinking. Citing many studies (including her own) and occasionally zooming in on particular cases, she offers no-nonsense, reasoned and easy-to-understand advice and strategies, as well as a quiz to help readers recognize their own patterns of overthought.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Contrary to popular opinion, it's not good to spend too much time analyzing your thoughts and feelings, claims this University of Michigan psychologist. And women are especially guilty of this sin.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (February 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805075259
  • ASIN: B0055X5J4Y
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Nolen-Hoeksema is Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. Her research focuses on depression and mood regulation. Prior to joining the faculty of Yale in 2004, she was a faculty member at University of Michigan and Stanford University. Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema has received three major teaching awards and numerous awards for her research on depression, mood regulation, and gender, including the David Shakow Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association, and the Leadership Award from the Committee on Women of the American Psychological Association. Her research has been funded by grants from private foundations and the National Institute on Mental Health. Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema has published over 100 research articles and a dozen books, including scholarly books, textbooks, and three books for the general public on women's mental health.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Women Who Think Too Much came out earlier this year, and I gobbled it up in two sittings. Several people have borrowed this book from me, and have found it incredibly insightful. (And not all have been women, either!) This book features a breakthrough new method that teaches you how to free yourself from the negative cycles of overthinking.

What is overthinking? Nolen-Hoeksma, a professor of Psychology, contends that our society is both fast-paced and overly-self-analytical. The self-help section in bookstores bulge with upteen ways to analyze yourself and gaze at your bellybutton. With this self-analysis comes over-thinking--and Nolen-Hoeksema has discovered that women are more prone to overthink than men. Women spend countless hours fruitlessly thinking about negative ideas, feelings, experiences, and relationships. The result of this over-thinking? A huge number of women are feeling sad, anxious, or seriously depressed.

The author provides case studies, but they aren't presented in a dry, intellectual tone. She connects the dots between the research and how it impacts women in their day-to-day lives. Chapter titles include What's Wrong With OverThinking?, Married to My Worries: Overthinking Intimate Relationships, Always On The Job: Overthinking Work and Careers, and ten other chapters. The great thing about this book is that it doesn't just talk about why overthinking is bad for mental, emotional, and even physical health, but also provides several chapters on how to break free from overthinking and move to higher ground.

In the Chapter If It Hurts So Much, Why Do We Do It?, the author explains fascinating discoveries in brain science, and how when we think of one bad thing, it usually cascades into a torrent of negative thoughts and emotions.
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Format: Hardcover
The author explains how "overthinking" is more than ordinary worrying, different than OCD, and distinct from self-reflective 'deep' thinking. She describes overthinking as ruminating mostly about the past, whereas most worrying is thinking about what might happen in the future (which can be a constructive form of negative thinking). Overthinking easily gets out of control, becoming rant-and-rave or chaotic. The distinctions and definitions in the book make good sense and are based on years of credible research. I like the way the author is particularly sensitive to the pressures in contemporary society that increase overthinking -- she is especially perceptive to the situation of women in America today. The most helpful parts of the book are summarized in several 2-page sections called "A Quick Reference Guide" and these are very useful strategies for daily life. Overall, this is an excellent and well written self-help book for general readers. I think of it as the long, serious version of the both humorous and helpful semi-Zen, not-thinking 'Do Nothing Exercises' in Karen Salmansohn's book "How To Change Your Entire Life By Doing Absolutely Nothing." Working on strategies for healthier thinking is definitely a worthwhile personal project.
Comment 93 of 95 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
If you are prone to ruminate and worry, you probably think this book sounds like some kind of Godsend. I mean, the title hit it on the head, right? Sounds like it describes you to a t? Unfortunately, the book doesn't deliver. It's just one lengthy anecdote after another of various women who think too much, with overly simplistic solutions on how they can/should stop. I rarely give a book one star, but this book is especially noxious because it sometimes takes on a lecturing, unsympathetic tone, which should alienate most readers. I wish I could describe it better, but frankly, there's just not that much to this book...The BEST book I have ever read on worrying? Edmund Hallowell's "Worry." That guy is a genius, and it's beautifully written. Other good books if you are a worrier? The cognitive therapy books by David Burns; the big bestseller was "Feeling Good" but I think he has many...The book isn't as fun to read as Hallowell's but if you can actually learn to really do the written cognitive therapy exercises, that will get a major handle on your worries. BTW, neither one of those books is sexist; human beings as a group are examined.
3 Comments 57 of 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely agree that Susan Nolen-Hoeksema's new book "Women Who Think Too Much" is the best book available on Overthinking (she is the genuine expert) and an essential addition to any library on improving thinking styles. Of course, which book is most helpful and insightful for a particular individual depends heavily on that individual's temperament, cognitive style, and philosphy of life. "Optimal Thinking" by R. Glickman is an excellent book for realists. Optimists likely would prefer "Positive Thinking" by Vera Peiffer, and pessimists tend to like "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking" by J. Norem. And so on. Effective thinking is a big, complex, and significant issue in human life and relationships. "Women Who Think Too Much" is a very nice and very helpful contribution to the pool of available books, and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema is a thoughtful and clear writer. Her focus on 'overthinking' is an important warning on the well researched dangers of rumination and hopeless pessimism. Yet it is also important to note that there is a type of pessimistic thinking that is very constructive (for some people) because it is anticipatory reflection about what might go wrong in the near future, playing through worst case scenarios to manage anxiety about upcoming events and challenges adaptively. This is very different from pessimistic rumination about the past (which is hopeless). Equally important to note is that unrealistic optimists tend to be 'underthinkers' in unhealthy ways. So appreciate this excellent book "Women Who Think Too Much" but don't forget that No One Size (or model of psychological health) fits all of us.
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