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on February 8, 2017
This book in written in two parts. The first part does an excellent job at debunking the socially imposed mass hysteria over depression as mental illness. The author connects the dots (and the thoughts) to show that a profound unhappiness growing in untold numbers of people is not a disease to be treated with overpriced pills but rather a natural reflection of the conditions we find ourselves living in.

The second, and longer, part of the book aims to lay out a plan for readers to find meaning in their lives in order to escape their profound unhappiness. Unfortunately, this section reeks of the sort of new age stuff that emerged from the carcass of the counterculture movement. As the author is a "life coach" perhaps this sort of thing should be excused or even expected, but some aspects cannot. For example, the author wrongly includes Albert Camus in a list of existentialists. Camus explicitly stated "No, I am not an existentialist." Of course the author is hardly alone in making that error, but it like the mantras the author asks readers to repeat mar the overall work. Thankfully, the author is good enough to give us the choice of finding meaning in our lives in other ways besides the program he lays out here. For that he is to be congratulated. In the world of "self help" books, this is a real stand out.

This book would be much improved if it went a little further. After recognizing that the social conditions we find ourselves in are the real root cause of our feelings of despair, we must take the next logical step and work to change those conditions. Rethinking Depression attempts to lay out a path for survival in this unhuman world. The real task should be to make this a world worth living in for humans.

If the underlying question is "how do we find meaning and make a life in an indifferent universe," I don't think this book has the answers. Perhaps others will find what they are looking for here, but if so, they may be asking the wrong questions. One thing is for sure. This book definitely has value as a weapon against the pathologization of human emotion forced on society by the drug and for-profit medical industries.
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on October 31, 2016
Interesting take on depression. Worth the time reading and considering Maisel's theory.
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on October 5, 2016
This is a REALLY good book and very well-written. I've read countless self-help books over the years, probably hundreds, and this is only 1 of 2 that actually helped me feel a little better (the other is "The Portable Therapist" by Susannah McMahon). Most depression info out there is just a reassembly of the same old outdated ideas and unhelpful examples, but Eric Maisel has fresh, practical views that I haven't heard before. There were a number of times I had to stop, re-read a passage a few times, take notes, journal for a bit, chew on it for a few days, then come back to it later. There aren't many books I recommend, but this is one of them.
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on October 16, 2015
I'm really enjoying reading this book. I always make sure I have my highlighter. It's given me a different perspective on depression.
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on October 11, 2015
If anyone suffering from "Unhappiness" doesn't relate to anything mentioned in this book, then there's little hope! If I can read a book, and feel like the book is describing me in many way, then to me, I'm seeing the truth. And that's exactly what this book did for me. It opened the window on the facts of being human and experiencing Unhappiness, or more commonly referred to as Depression! But more importantly, the author also gives the reader practical insights, along with suggestions and actions to take that make sense. I will add that this book is not a pill. It does take Action, or Work if you want to experience positive change. With that said, if you're suffering from depression, I would highly recommend at least giving this book a read. I'd also recommend his "The Van Gogh Blues" book.
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on August 14, 2015
This has been eye opening for some of my clients. Good "bibliotherapy".
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on June 30, 2015
 "The existential program I've described is my vision. It is my subjective response to what I see as the demands posed on individuals by the facts of existence. You may see life in a very different way and not share my vision. If, however, you experience the thing called "depression" and feel like exploring an existential approach to climbing out of that hole, give my program a try. The word depression is a corruption of language, and the more society uses it, the further it will push us all toward unhappiness. Pathologizing unhappiness creates unhappiness. Reject the very idea of depression and make meaning instead." ~ Eric Maisel, Ph.D. from Rethinking Depression

In Rethinking Depression, Eric Maisel presents an incredibly persuasive case for how medicalized we've made the normal human emotions of sadness, anxiety and other unfun feelings (and how dangerous that is) while giving us an existential handbook on how to deal with life's challenges by creating an authentic life packed with meaning.

If you or someone you know suffers from what we typically refer to as "depression," I think you'll dig it--especially if a part of you has always wondered whether we all *really* need to be popping Prozac like their tic tacs.

This is another one of those books that's *packed* with goodness. If it's resonating with you, I think you'll love it.

As one of the world's leading creativity coaches, you'd kinda expect him to be on top of things but his level of creative production and follow-through and overall goodness have been deeply inspiring for me.

Each time I read one of his books I feel like I get a clue on how he rocks it and I'm excited to share a handful of my favorite Big Ideas from his newest book!

Here are a few:

1. Unhappiness Happens - Let's not medicalize it.
2. The Existential Ideal - Create meaning.
3. Existential Intelligence - How's yours?
4. Curveballs - Learn to hit `em.
5. Your Thoughts - Are they serving you?

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on June 3, 2014
Interesting food for thought. I had the sense while reading this that Maisel is asking folks to question the actual existence of depression. This may not be what is attempting to do, but that's how it feels some times.
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on September 6, 2013
I'm taking the information with a grain of salt at the moment....but beyond that, I think the Author is a quack!!

He seems to be of the thinking that there's no such thing as Depression....almost to the extent of including Clinical Depression, which he seems to be reluctant to concede....but that the 'Depression' that many people suffer from, is just normal sadness
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on February 26, 2013
While I am a great fan of Eric Maisel's work on creativity, I found his argument about looking at depression differently less than convincing. That is not to say that it won't help some people.
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