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Beat The Blues Before They Beat You: How to Overcome Depression Paperback – November 1, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Beat the Blues Before They Beat You is a masterful guide by a masterful clinician. It lays out the typical problems of depression and provides clear explanations as to how to solve them. This is a must-read for anyone suffering from depression—and who hasn’t at some point in his or her life?”

— Aaron T. Beck, M.D., Emeritus Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, winner of the Lasker Award in Medicine

“If you are depressed or vulnerable to depression, this book is for you. Written by one of the world’s leading experts in cognitive behavior therapy, it provides a thoughtful and balanced account of depression and how to overcome it using tried and tested strategies.”

— Christopher G. Fairburn, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, author of Overcoming Binge Eating

“Dr. Leahy is unique in the mental health field in his combination of high rigor, accessibility, and readability to consumers and clinicians alike. His new book, Beat the Blues Before They Beat You, is the epitome of these qualities, and will be of genuine help to those who suffer from depression.”

— Thomas Joiner, Distinguished Research Professor and Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology, author of Why People Die from Suicide


Beat the Blues gives clear-headed, concise, and practical guidelines for tackling the most common problems in depression. Based on the most current research and clinical work, Leahy once again gives you the tools to help yourself overcome your depression. It’s a book that you can pick up and start using today. Empowering, engaging, and enlightening.”

— Allison Harvey, University of California, Berkeley

“Eminently readable and practical, this state-of-the-art book provides compassionate and user-friendly help for beating depression. I highly recommend it both to practitioners and their patients.”

— G. Terence Wilson, Ph.D., Oscar K. Buros Professor of Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


“This book is sure to provide hope and relief for those suffering from depression. Drawing on well-researched techniques, each chapter is filled with strategies and tools to help conquer a major symptom of depression. The writing is clear and direct, and case examples help illustrate each point. The author also provides tools to monitor whether strategies are helping.  Once again, Dr. Leahy shows his unique knack for translating the best available therapies into effective self-help materials.”

— Sheri Johnson, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

“Dr Leahy has yet again made the most contemporary and effective approaches within CBT accessible to a popular audience. He engages the reader by tagging a scientifically supported approach with commonly reported thoughts and concerns held by people who are depressed. This book illustrates, in true CBT style, how an understanding of one’s own thoughts and feelings can lead to recovery and regaining a purpose in life.”

— Warren Mansell, University of Manchester, UK, author of Coping with Fears and Phobias

Beat the Blues . . . is an indispensable guide out of the morass for anyone who has ever been depressed.”

— Steven Hollon, Professor of Psychology, Vanderbilt University


--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., is recognized as one of the most respected cognitive therapists in the world and is known internationally as a leading writer and speaker in this revolutionary field. He is the Director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City; and Past President of the International Association of Cognitive Psychotherapy, the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. He is a Clinical Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Weill-Cornell Medical School. Leahy has written and edited 17 books, including the bestseller The Worry Cure; and has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek, Psychology Today, The Washington Post, Women’s Health, Self, and USA Today. His media appearances include 20/20, Good Morning America, and The Early Show.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House; Original edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401921698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401921699
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have been in a funk for a few years, and attributed it to a normal reaction to some significant losses in my life. My depression manifested itself as serious inertia. I have a lot of jobs, hobbies and interests and yet have not been able to work on much of anything in the last few years. I found myself increasingly content to sit alone with my computer on the net and do nothing but read about my former activities/ interests. My daughter was home for the holidays and clued me into the fact that I was likely depressed.. though her suggestion was that I would be happier living somewhere I would spend more time outside.

Something then made me type inertia into google and a reference to the chapter on inertia in this book came up.The words I read spoke to a lack of action on my part. I realized I have been waiting for my inertia / depression to magically lift on its own.

Here is how this book helped me start the climb out of my funk. In the chapter on inertia the doc says that you have to force yourself to get out and get going. ( I paraphrase of course) This is counter to the way I have lived my life - doing what I feel like doing, assuming fate would take care of things. But, I decided to try his advice. I splurged and signed up for a few sessions with a trainer at the gym I belong to - yet never go to. I made the appointments for early morning when I am usually still sleeping in. I also started working with other people during the day instead of staying home alone working on my computer.

I am not saying I did not know that exercise and contact with people can combat depression; I have always known that. I am also aware of the effectiveness of behavior modification techniques.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would recommend Dr. Leahy's book not only to clients but to therapists wanting to refine their understanding of depression and their interventions with depressed clients. Each chapter explores a way of thinking common to depressed clients and how that thinking can be changed to relieve distress and make clients more effective in their approach to problems and life in general. I found here, too, some of Dr. Leahy's unique theories on depression. They resonated strongly with my own experience with depressed clients. I had not read of them elsewhere. Dr. Leahy's understanding and ability to articulate clearly and concisely the source and breadth of depression will, I think, help de-stigmatize depression and help the sufferer find self-compassion and belonging. I often cite the World Health Organization's statistics on unipolar depression to help my clients learn that they are not alone, that what they suffer from puts them in the company of good people brought low by a pandemic. Dr. Leahy reassures readers in much the same way. I will recommend this book to clients as a companion to therapy.

Vaughn Roche, LCSW
Diplomate, Academy of Cognitive Therapy
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There aren't many books that I consider must-buys, but this one makes the cut for anyone dealing with depression. There are so many different aspects covered, but if you're going over things time after time (ruminating), or are indecisive to the point of (even occasional) analysis-paralysis, please do yourself a favor and get this book.

I bought the Kindle version and read a chapter at a time. For many books, I read for whatever length of time I have available -- sometimes it's only 30 seconds while waiting in line, other times it's 15 minutes or more. But, for this book, I found it best to read a chapter at a time. That helped me soak in the material and keep the flow of thought.

Leahy really hit home for me in several chapters. I've gone back and re-read several of those chapters. Like "I Just Can't Decide" (how to overcome your indecision) and "I Keep Thinking Over and Over" (how to overcome your rumination). I'll probably go back to this book many times in the future. That fact alone, that I actually re-read some of the book, is a good indicator to me that it's a must-read.

Try to read all the chapters, even if a couple are a bit slow, perhaps abrupt, or just don't apply to you. You may still glean some insights from them.

Wishing you the best! And this book will help get you pointed in that direction.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike others, Dr. Leahy does not promise "drug-free" treatment or that you will be "depression-free for life." That is because, as an expert in this field, he recognizes that depression is a serious illness that is difficult to treat and causes high levels of suffering and impairment. Medications or psychotherapy alone are often not enough to get people well and prevent relapses.

As a psychiatrist specializing in depression, I have been searching for a CBT self-help book that is easily readable (as most people with depression struggle with concentration problems), engaging (as most people with depression have motivation problems) and practical. This is first book that I have found that fits the bill. Beat the Blues is an excellent self-help book that incorporates up-to-date research about depression, traditional CBT skills, and newer CBT techniques such as mindfulness. However, what really makes this book special is that it is that Dr. Leahy has also made it deeply personal by the addition anecdotes of his own personal struggles and how depression has impacted the lives of those around him.

I have recommended Beat the Blues to a number of my patients over the past few months and the feedback has been uniformly positive. Some, who have struggled with depression for a majority of their lives have told me that they finally feel like they has some control over their negative thinking patterns and have hope for the future.

I highly recommend this book.

Daniel Zigman, MD, FRCPC
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