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Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions Hardcover – January 23, 2018
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"Lost Connections offers a wonderful and incisive analysis of the depression and alienation that are haunting American society." - Hillary Rodham Clinton
"If you have ever been down, or felt lost, this amazing book will change your life. Do yourself a favour--read it now." - Elton John
"Wise, probing, and deeply generous Hari has produced a book packed with explosive revelations about our epidemic of despair . . . I am utterly convinced that the more people read this book, the better off the world will be." - Naomi Klein
"This is a bold and inspiring book that will help far more than just those who suffer from depression. As Hari shows, we all have within us the potential to live in ways that are healthier and wiser." - Arianna Huffington
"Through a breath-taking journey across the world, Johann Hari exposes us to extraordinary people and concepts that will change the way we see depression forever. It is a brave, moving, brilliant, simple and earth-shattering book that must be read by everyone and anyone who is longing for a life of meaning and connection." - Eve Ensler, author of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES
"This is one of those extraordinary books that you want all your friends to read immediately--because the shift in world-view is so compelling and dramatic that you wonder how you’ll be able to have conversations with them otherwise." - Brian Eno
"One of the world's most important and most enlightening thinkers and social critics." - Glenn Greenwald, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
"Johann Hari is again getting people to think differently about our mood, our minds and our drug use, and that is something we need a lot more of." - Bill Maher
"Depression and anxiety are the maladies of our time, but not for the reasons you think . . . An important diagnosis from one of the ablest journalists writing in the English language today." - Thomas Frank, author of WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS
"Eye-opening, highly detailed . . . The book is part personal odyssey, in which Hari gets to grips with the flaws in his own treatment, and part scholarly reflection, where he sifts through the varying perspectives of scientists, psychologists and people with depression . . . Hari is clear about the difficulties of the task ahead and, in offering new ways of thinking, presents not surefire solutions but, he says, 'an alternative direction of travel' . . . A compassionate, common-sense approach to depression and anxiety . . . His book brings with it an urgency and rigour that will, with luck, encourage the authorities to sit up and take note." - Guardian, "Book of the Day, 17 January 2018"
"A bold call for a complete re-evaluation of what is causing the western epidemic of mental illness." - Sunday Times
"Brilliant." - Mail on Sunday
"This book has a great deal to offer. Lost Connections isn't as much about science and mental health as it is about society, and the stories we tell around mental illness . . . This book's value lies in its attempt to change the stories we tell about the depressed and anxious, and perhaps help some of those suffering change how they think about themselves." - Independent
"You might think Lost Connections is a self-help title but in reality it's a book that aims to change society, not individuals . . . Lost Connections is an important and controversial book because it asks questions about the biggest problems we have in the world." - Attitude Magazine
"Thought-provoking . . . His comprehensible and penetrating study features extensive research and interviews with everyone from leading scientists and medics to members of the Amish community. This heartening book reveals the mutual social benefits of reconnecting with others and helping them to help yourself." *****- Western Mail
About the Author
Johann Hari is the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream, which is being adapted into a feature film. He was twice named Newspaper Journalist of the Year by Amnesty International UK. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and others, and he is a regular panelist on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. His TED talk, “Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong,” has more than 20 million views.
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Three decades ago I was finally forced to seek help. And I mean forced. I was that guy in the corner office of a large organization, I owned an impressive amount of stuff, traveled the world, and split my holidays between Aspen and the Caribbean. And I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. There was no reason to. And if I hadn’t addressed it, I’d probably still be there.
I, too, was treated with SSRIs and they worked remarkably well. And I could not have cared less if that was a function of the placebo effect or the drugs were addressing some chemical imbalance in my brain. I still don’t, to be honest.
I do, however, care about continuous improvement in my overall health and well-being. View the beautiful valley before you from atop the mountain and you’ll seek a more magnificent mountain. I have little fear of falling back to where I was because I ultimately went through extensive psychotherapy with a brilliant and insightful doctor and he taught me how to fish, or climb, as it were.
Johann Hari has provided a delightful refresher course, although that understates the contribution of this book. He has also reframed the discussion in a way that only a fellow traveler and gifted writer could. He has made both the problems and the solutions very accessible and in so doing has broadened both the audience and the quality of the dialogue.
Which is why, I think, this is a book not for the depressed and anxious, but for all of humanity. Depression is often defined as a very specific manifestation of issues each and every one of us faces at some time in our lives. That doesn’t mean that different manifestations are any less painful or debilitating. Addiction is just one example. Are you drinking too much because you’re addicted or depressed? It doesn’t matter.
That’s not to suggest that the source of all pain is universal. That, I think, would be naïve. We are quite literally defined by our experiences and once you’ve been around for a couple of decades or more you are experientially unique.
Mark Twain once quipped, “History does not repeat itself but it often rhymes.” And so it is with mental and physical well-being. We’re more alike with each other and with the baboons of the savanna than we are different.
I won’t give away the details of the book because you need to experience the context within which the author unveils the problems and their solutions. Let’s just say that the title is appropriate. It’s all about connections.
I have given a great deal of thought, and now have the time to do so, as to how to re-establish the connections that have been lost in our current world. As Johann so clearly established, it is the loss at the heart of our growing collective angst and disillusionment. I have been particularly interested, in light of my executive career, with re-establishing purpose and connection in the workplace. When I began my career we never talked about work/life balance, not because we didn’t work hard or our lives outside of work weren’t important, but because our careers were an integral part of our life. We achieved connection, purpose, identity, and status there, no matter what job title you held.
But that is all gone today and I have met few, even in the C-suites of corporate America, who honestly claim to get any real fulfillment from their work. And that is a function of lost connection. That loss, however, has resulted in an even bigger loss - the loss of trust that connection enables. There is no trust in the world most of us live and work in today. And by trust I don’t mean the trust to set a pile of money on the table and leave the room. I mean the trust to know that the people you work with have compassion, humility, and optimism; are competent in what they do; and have some sense of how they and we, as human beings and as a work unit, fit into the world.
I read a lot of books. And this is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Johann never says so, but he is a fellow Pyrrhonist, I suspect. That, by the way, is the ultimate compliment – it’s where trust comes from. You can’t trust a person who hasn’t challenged himself or herself. And he clearly has.
This is a book you should read. Perhaps more importantly, this is a book your adolescent children should read. (I feel the same way about psychotherapy, actually. It should be mandatory when you turn sixteen.)
Thank you, Johann Hari.
He's done an amazing job tracking down the many threads of research from around the world that create that picture as well as unearthing touching community stories to illustrate the points. That study you may vaguely have heard about? He interviewed everyone involved.
His approach is fair and he acknowleges the complexities of life and science without shying away from making important points about how public understanding has been warped and why most people need to know that there isn't something wrong with their brain that they can expect to be fixed with a pill. There is a much bigger picture.
I want to add for discussion that I've also seen many recent articles suggesting that diet-related factors such as gut flora and inflammation may have an impact on depression and anxiety. Diet factors are not discussed in this book - it is a book about cultural factors.