Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2013
Unless you are familiar with the technical writing of Irving Kirsch (and even if you are), you need to pick this book up and read it cover to cover. In one of the most interesting and accessible scientific books I have read since graduate school, Kirsch walks the reader through the research he and his colleagues have done over the past decade which essentially obliterates the chemical-imbalance explanation of medically diagnosed depression. After laying his biases on the table, he clearly demonstrates the cautiousness and the rigor with which he went about understanding the placebo effect, then discovering that most (all?) antidepressants on the market today are essentially enhanced placebos. And he describes his (and others') research in terms few literate adults will misunderstand. Kirsch truly does just what his subtitle promises.

But perhaps what encourages me most about this book (which is also why I recommend it to anyone) is that during the final chapter, he does not just leave the reader depressed over knowing that antidepressants are effective placebos. He actually walks the reader through possible alternative treatments. In other words, he deconstructs the so-called Antidepressent Myth, then offers his readers solutions the problems that depression continues to pose. It's a brief chapter, but effective nonetheless.

I recommend this book particularly for the student of psychology because it is a great demonstration of how to take complicated research in the social sciences and make it accessible to all readers, something we psychologists ought to do a lot more of. (I speak as a psychologist; there are plenty of other professionals who ought to also take page out of Kirsch's book, figuratively speaking, and let us in on all their secrets.)

All around, a great book.
20 people found this helpful
11 comment Report abuse Permalink

Product Details

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
140 global ratings