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Lost Connections: Why You're Depressed and How to Find Hope Hardcover – 23 January 2018
Lost Connections offers a wonderful and incisive analysis of the depression and alienation that are haunting American society. - Hillary Rodham ClintonIf 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
- Publisher : Bloomsbury USA (23 January 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 163286830X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1632868305
- Dimensions : 16.26 x 3.07 x 24.33 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 87,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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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 reviews from other countries
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.
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.
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.