- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (23 January 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 163286830X
- ISBN-13: 978-1632868305
- Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.1 x 24.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 590 g
- Customer Reviews: 1,136 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ FREE Delivery
+ $3.00 delivery
Lost Connections Hardcover – 23 January 2018
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"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
Customers who read this book also read
Review this product
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is not all bad, though. The solutions may all be copy/pasted political agendas, but a lot of the issues it raises are pertinent. Modern western culture does prioritise consumerism, and does break down communities, and does make people feel like their work is meaningless, and does push pills on people who don’t need them, etc. But this book does not offer solutions, it offers political policies. The final chapter even admits, and outright champions the idea, that openly utopian ideals are the necessary solution.
If you’re looking for a book that makes you feel better, that you’ve been wronged by the world, and that you can cure your depression and find meaning in left wing activism, this is the book for you. If you just want a book to vindicate your opinions about the world, this may be the book for you. If you feel like you’ve lost meaning, and that you don’t see a future for yourself, and that you cannot find happiness, and that you just want answers that will allow you to live a simple, peaceful life, look elsewhere. I would recommend Man’s Search for Meaning as a starting point.
I rate it 3 stars instead of 2, because the importance of the issues raised in this book trumps the empty partisan solutions. As a final remark, I might add that the writing style is atrocious. It is incredibly informal and screams “millennial,” for a book that it ostensibly about a serious topic. This reinforces the feeling that this book was made for a certain audience, not for the wider community of people suffering from or interested in depression. This book feels like a really long blog post.
His fundamental point is that for a variety of reasons we’ve been sold a pup re anti-depressants. He quotes Krishnamurti’s famous remark that it is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to an unhealthy society. He leads us step by step through what’s wrong with our society and demonstrates that climbing rates of depression are in fact, an appropriate and sane response. Taking a pill - by and large - isn’t. As part of this argument, he explains why the “science” we’ve been sold on re SSRIs is in reality, very unconvincing. Big Pharma kept a lot of results (the less favourable ones) secret.
The final section concerns useful antidotes to what’s ailing us, and comes up with a few suggestions for changing our behaviour, including how we can think differently about our world. They range from private and personal things like meditation to the challenging idea - endorsed by President Obama - of instituting a universal basic wage.
This is a very important book. I’m going to recommend it all over the place. These ideas need to be shared.
Top international reviews
In 'Lost Connections' Johann Hari looks at depression from the inside. His own diagnosis of clinical depression led him to taking antidepressants for years, yet he never seemed to truly recover. As he wondered why, he began to question the assumptions that we have made in the past hundred years as to what the causes of depression are, and what depression actually is. This enlightening book is the result of his research, and as a lay reader on the topic I found it fascinating. His conclusions can be summed up rather simply: how is it possible to live happily in a world designed to make us miserable? When we re-frame depression that way, we see that the drugs won't work, they'll just make it worse: reconnection, as the title implies, is the route we must follow to escape our unhappiness.
There are those who have written negative reviews of this book, and I can certainly sympathise with the them - for three reasons. Firstly, Hari calls into question a lot of what we take for granted, and when you are convinced that the solution to your depression lies in finding the right drug cocktail, being told that the drugs are unlikely to work at all can feel like a slap in the face. Secondly, some readers have long been aware of the research that Hari references; nothing in the book will come as a surprise to them. To those of us who have never before read up on this issue, however, the book serves its purpose very well, summarising what we know and what we don't know about depression. And third, the writing style is not perfect; it's what I would call 'Gladwell-lite.' There are too many attempts to make of the story a real narrative, which means backtracking again and again to introduce characters the 'proper' way. Doing this once or twice would be forgivable, but the fact that it happens dozens of times every chapter means that reading the book is sometimes more of a struggle than it should be.
Despite any slightly negative words that I might offer about this text, I really have no hesitation in recommending it to everyone out there who either has depression, or is wondering how they might help somebody with depression. There's useful stuff in here - perhaps not the stuff that everybody wants or will use, but if you dig around and look for what resonates, you might find a new approach to living within these pages.
The writing style caused the initial irritation. It’s like a TED talk extended to 10 hours. Endless formulaic personal stories that take a chapter to make a single point better suited to a sentence. And oh-so patronising, written in that dumbed down journalistic way that I find intensely insulting.
As I read more, it was the fraudulent self-congratulatory content that caused my increasing anger. That the author has the gall to claim he discovered 9 causes of depression (which are a rehash of bog standard theory known for decades) suggests his delusion and narcissism are much bigger issues than his depression. It’s no wonder then that he is a proven plagiarist. The real disgrace is the number of celebrity endorsements.
On a personal note, I disagree with his conclusions about blaming ‘society’. Take individual accountability and stop playing the victim.
My advice? Read the chapter headings on the free kindle sample as they tell you his whole message. Then look up the Human Givens approach which summarised this much better 20 years ago. And watch any Jordan Peterson YouTube clip on depression as it gives you far greater depth in 5 minutes from a trained clinical psychologist not a disgraced leftie hack.
Take a look at this video summary.
My hesitations are:
He seems to miss out some causes such as repetitive thought (and hence mindfulness practice) and, curiously, adult trauma.
Johann Hari is a well-known Left-wing writer in Great Britain and so it's no surprise that he attributes many of the causes of depression in the West to its capitalist lifestyle and culture.The huge wealth inequalities, selfish "junk" values and our almost constant exposure to advertising, has, according to Hari, created a society that has made us all prone to deep depression and anxiety. He believes that we have abandoned our natural social instincts and now live in cut-off small groups that are "disconnected" from the greater society. By isolating ourselves from each other we have removed the traditional support structures that human communities have enjoyed for many thousands of years. Only by reconnecting with each other can we solve this mental health problem. Hari points to groups such as the American Amish, where rates of depression are extremely low: these groups are tightly knit and its members look after each other.
Personally, I don't agree with everything he's saying here. For instance the reason why some people put the acquisition of wealth above everything else isn't just because of advertising: often it's cultural. In many Asian societies, for example, wealth is revered above everything else, and so you'll hear stories of Japanese men working 80-hour weeks in the pursuit of riches just so that they can improve their social status. The fact that their neglected families are ruined doesn't seem to register with them.
Where I believe that Hari is dead right is when he ascribes the causes of much depression to the way we have disconnected from each other. Most of us don't ever talk to our neighbours. In the book Hari tells the inspiring story of they way a number of disparate members of a Berlin community joined forces to fight local rent rises. During the struggle, gay, straight, Muslim, Christian, old and young all connected and found that they had more in common than they had believed. The members were uplifted and freed of the depression that had plagued their community.
This is a fascinating book about a very important subject. It's well worth a read.
This book is the best antidepressant. Thank you Johann Hari
Firstly, I don’t think Johann Hari’s research has shown anything that a lot of people don’t already know – that ‘simple’ depression at least (ie not bipolar) is rarely if ever just due to a chemical imbalance and that for this reason, antidepressants rarely work. He explains well backed-up research showing this to be the case but admits that when he took his research to eminent psychiatrists and others in the mental health field, they were shockingly unsurprised at his findings that antidepressants largely worked no better than placebos. So, while these findings are not new, his summary and coverage of the research is good and he presents this in a clear way … and indeed some people may find this a shocking conclusion, especially those suffering from or close to someone suffering from depression.
Secondly, Johann Hari puts forward explanations for depression that point more to social, environmental and psychological roots than chemical, and again this isn’t new; although historically the biological cause was stressed more, these days most people understand the complex interplay of other factors, particularly psychological ones.
The reason this book is so good is the way the author explains his research, intersperses this with personal and very moving stories from people he met along the way, and analyses the causes (though he admits this isn’t an exhaustive list) as ‘lost connections’ – with self, others, and meaningful values in our modern – and sick - society. His arguments ring very true and this is another reason I found this book so good; it resonated very deeply with what I have observed and have talked about with friends – that our western society throws all kinds of values at us daily that are incompatible with a truly meaningful life, telling us that we are ‘not right’ if we do not have the right things, do not look the right way etc, and our fear and shame lead us to isolation from one another.
Hari believes depression is actually not a sickness or biochemical imbalance but actually a healthy and expected response to pain, whether the obvious griefs of bereavement or less-than-ideal upbringing or the less obvious grief of being disconnected from people in our modern western society … and the only solutions come not from pills but exploring and coming to terms with these sources of grief and, where possible, changing things for the better.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that I was with him 100% up to this point, even Johann Hari does not have the power to change many things that run deep. Thus the final third of the book – where Hari outlines possible solutions to the problems outlined thus far – was less good. Hari is not to blame; it is simply that the societal transformation required is so huge that it cannot easily be tackled. However, he does have some ideas of things that people can do personally, and even if these practical measures are small, I feel the book still has enormous value. This is because for many people, just reading the first half and perhaps recognising some things they hadn’t previously thought about may, in itself, provide very valuable insights – and those insights might themselves be of enormous value in beginning to change those things that bring us so low.
So, while I found the final third of the book a little disappointing – perhaps inevitably so – without doubt this is a timely analysis not only of depression but actually of the age in which we live. It is an analysis but that’s not to say it’s a difficult-to-understand scientific document. On the contrary, it is full of personal anecdote, of sad but also uplifting stories.
Above all, this book MAKES SENSE of why so many people – and certainly not just those labelled as depressed – feel bad about themselves or about life or relationships in our society today.
However,I would strongly suggest anyone who has experienced or is experiencing depression and has or is taking prescribed medication for it, should read this book and see how it resonates with your own experience. This book has hugely changed the way I think about medication of all kinds and think it is a very valuable contribution to well-being debates and becoming well oneself.
I only gave it a 4 star simply because it does 'go on' a bit and could have arguably been edited a little more thoroughly, and because I would have liked to have seen him at least refer to research evidence which counters his thesis. It is a little one-sided as it is. Never the less, a thought provoking and ideas changing book. Recommended.
I want everyone to read it.
I am buying it for all my colleagues!
I just wish
The bloody tag line on the front cover was different. I’m not depresssed and never have Been. If I had seen the tag line I wouldn’t never have red it (I listened to it on audible and then bought the paperback to re-read).
But with that very minor complaint aside this is really one of the best books I have read.
Thanks Me Hari - this is EXCELLENT!
I would advise readers who have benefitted from this book also read 'Drop the Disorder' edited by Jo Watson.