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Why People Die by Suicide Paperback – 15 Sep 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 79 ratings

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (15 September 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674025490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674025493
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Boxed-product Weight: 272 g
  • Customer Reviews: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

In a book both personal and scientific, Thomas Joiner gives us the deepest understanding of suicide that has yet been written. He reminds us that to go on living we need to feel that we belong to someone and that we are effective. But he adds a surprising third factor--we must not break down our fear of death. Joiner offers wise guidance not only to professionals, but to those who must live on after this kind of death in the family.Pauline Boss, author of Ambiguous LossAs a survivor, I find this book to be illuminating, informative, and, most of all, healing. Joiner searches for the 'why' of suicide as both a scientist and a survivor himself, and his research and insights help us to make sense of the pain and confusion that led our loved ones to end their lives.Carla Fine, author of No Time To Say Goodbye: Surviving The Suicide Of A Loved OneJoiner provides an elegant description of what leads people to commit suicide and what professionals, families, and friends can do to prevent the crisis that this tragedy creates for everyone involved.Aaron T. Beck, M.D., University Professor of Psychiatry, University of PennsylvaniaJoiner provides a fascinating contribution to psychological literature that is certain to join the ranks of Amile Durkheim's Suicide and Karl Menninger's Man Against Himself. Not only has Joiner established professional prominence in suicidology, but he also has a profound personal relationship with the subject: his own father died by suicide. Drawing on the pain of this experience as well as on clinical and epidemiological evidence, Joiner has managed to conduct significant research into why some people die by suicide, while others survive their attempts at self-annihilation. His persuasive thesis is that practice, mental and physical, is what separates the completers from the attempters. In particular, those who have become desensitized to physical pain are most likely to orchestrate their own deaths successfully. Joiner also identifies perceived burdensomeness, little sense of belonging, genetics, neurobiology, and mental disorders as contributors to suicidality andcompletion.Lynne F. MaxwellLibrary JournalTaking one's own life goes against one of our strongest urges--the instinct of self-preservation. The deterioration of this instinct, says Thomas Joiner, should be regarded as a symptom of disease...His theory, outlined in Why People Die by Suicide is that it happens when severely depressed people acquire fearlessness. How do people become fearless? Through practice and learning, he says. This explains the bouts of self-harm or failed suicide attempts that are not cries for help so much as rehearsals for a deadly finale.Anjana AhujaThe Times theory is the most comprehensive yet put forth to explain why some people end their lives. Joiner offers a dizzying array of studies to shore up his argument, and some of the evidence he offers is quite novel for the lay reader.Philip ConnorsNewsdayMr. Joiner's book is a useful guide to suicidal behavior...Mr. Joiner draws on many scientific fields--genetics, neuroscience, psychiatry, evolutionary psychology--all of which, he thinks, have something to offer the study of suicide. The major lesson of his book is the necessity of keeping the ability to commit suicide from coinciding with the desire for death...His book is a practical study, full of up-to-the-minute research.Thomas MeaneyWall Street JournalIt is the synergy and tension between Joiner's dual identity as suicide survivor and academic that imbues this book with both its power and a certain logical grandiosity...Joiner is to be commended for a powerful effort to integrate science and personal tragedy. In an easily digestible style, he reviews the breadth of modern suicide scholarship--biological, psychological, and social, and presents his integration clearly and forcefully.J. Michael BostwickBoston GlobeThe Florida State University psych professor, who grew up here and endured the suicide of his father not far from their Atlanta home, asserts that suicide is not simply an act but a process. Joiner describes how a person works up to suicide by overcoming the fear of death and the instinct for self-preservation. In accessible, somber prose, he also explains the conditions under which a person becomes suicidal.Lawrence WrightAtlanta Journal-ConstitutionMany researchers and clinicians have tried to explain why people commit suicide. The majority of studies that have been conducted to date have examined correlates and risk factors for suicidal behavior. However, many of these risk factors are found throughout the general population, and the vast majority of people do not engage in suicidal behavior. Dr. Joiner's theory is one of the first that integrates many of these risk factors into an explanatory model. His model makes sense both intuitively and empirically. What makes Dr. Joiner's theory particularly credible is the research that he and his students have done to support his model. Additionally, he is able to use his theory to explain such diverse behaviors as the suicide attacks on 9/11 and Kurt Cobain's suicide. What makes this book particularly interesting is that it begins with a prologue detailing Dr. Joiner's personal account of loss by suicide...This book is a must-read for clinicians and researchers who are involved with suicidal patients. Dr. Joiner's model highlights the acute risk factors for serious suicidal behavior thus providing tangible targets for assessment and treatment. Additionally this volume is an excellent resource for family members who have lost a loved one to suicide...Based upon the book's combination of sound scientific research with thoughtful personal reflections and examples it is given a strong recommendation.Elizabeth L. JeglicCognitive Behavioral Therapy Book ReviewsThe change in the way I now look at my dad's death comes because of compelling book.Steve MartinThe Times

About the Author

Thomas Joiner is Distinguished Research Professor and Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology at Florida State University.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
79 customer ratings
5 star 67% (67%) 67%
4 star 25% (25%) 25%
3 star 5% (5%) 5%
2 star 0% (0%) 0%
1 star 4% (4%) 4%

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Top international reviews

Adam Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, concise
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 January 2016
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4 people found this helpful
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Dancer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good purchase
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 October 2016
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One person found this helpful
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JC
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting theory.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 March 2018
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Helen L-S
4.0 out of 5 stars Best text book I ever read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2016
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C. WATT
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful contribution to an extraordinarily difficult question
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 February 2010
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27 people found this helpful
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Cliente Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Muy recomendable para el estudio del suicidio
Reviewed in Spain on 30 December 2019
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sassytoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and a must read
Reviewed in Canada on 13 September 2019
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped with losss of my dad
Reviewed in Canada on 28 March 2019
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J.P.91
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Reviewed in Canada on 1 December 2013
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Brigit N.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on 23 April 2016
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Musical Truth
4.0 out of 5 stars Some good information here and perhaps some new ways of understanding suicidal tendencies.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 August 2014
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2 people found this helpful
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mr robert wheldon-holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars A coherent theory
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 June 2013
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4 people found this helpful
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L. McGaffey
4.0 out of 5 stars Helped me with husband's suicide
Reviewed in the United States on 1 March 2018
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10 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Would like to have seen more statistics within it
Reviewed in the United States on 29 April 2017
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13 people found this helpful
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Awetabon
5.0 out of 5 stars Some shoehorning and keen insight into human nature
Reviewed in the United States on 5 April 2019
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