In the insightful narrative tradition of Oliver Sacks, Monkey Mind is an uplifting, smart, and very funny memoir of life with anxiety - America’s most common psychological complaint.
We all think we know what being anxious feels like - it is the instinct that made us run from wolves in the prehistoric age and pushes us to perform in the modern one - but for forty million American adults, anxiety is an insidious condition that defines daily life. Yet no popular memoir has been written about that experience until now. Aaron Beck, the most influential doctor in modern psychotherapy, says that “Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.”
In Monkey Mind, Daniel Smith brilliantly articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, evocatively expressing both its painful internal coherence and its absurdities. He also draws on its most storied sufferers to trace anxiety’s intellectual history and its influence on our time. Here, finally, comes relief and recognition to millions of people who have wanted someone to put into words what they and their loved ones feel.
Daniel B. Smith is the author of Muses, Madmen, and Prophets and a contributor to numerous publications, including the American Scholar, Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, and Slate.
©2012 Daniel Smith (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“You don’t need a Jewish mother, or a profound sweating problem, to feel Daniel Smith’s pain in Monkey Mind. His memoir treats what must be the essential ailment of our time - anxiety - and it does so with wisdom, honesty, and the kind of belly laughs that can only come from troubles transformed.” (Chad Harbach, New York Times best-selling author of The Art of Fielding)
“I don’t know Daniel Smith, but I do want to give him a hug. His book is so bracingly honest, so hilarious, so sharp, it’s clear there’s one thing he doesn’t have to be anxious about: whether or not he’s a great writer.” (A. J. Jacobs, New York Times best-selling author of The Year of Living Biblically)
“Daniel Smith maps the jagged contours of anxiety with such insight, humor, and compassion that the result is, oddly, calming. There are countless gems in these pages, including a fresh take on the psychopathology of chronic nail biting, an ill-fated ménage à trois - and the funniest perspiration scene since Albert Brooks’ sweaty performance in Broadcast News. Read this book. You have nothing to lose but your heart palpitations, and your Xanax habit.”(Eric Weiner, New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss
A wonderful, witty and poignant book that I'd highly recommend. I admire the honesty and bravery of this work. It's easy to identify with Smith’s anxiety, especially in his younger years. In college, he describes his inability to be social, to make friends even with his roommate, a fellow anxiety sufferer: “We should have been up on our bunks trading pills like they were baseball cards.” There's also a memorable scene where the author, suffering for years from profuse sweating, finds a harebrained solution in the feminine hygiene aisle of CVS. It's both humorous and heartbreaking.
My favorite scene is when Daniel Smith’s father gives him the “Birds and the Bees” talk by playing the Meatloaf song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” (The author, in his early teens, believes the song is about baseball.) Or maybe the scene where Smith describes his personal appearance: “The muscles that connect the head to the shoulders were, in my case, perpetually clenched – a condition that, had I weighed more than 120 pounds, might have made me look like a villain on the pro wrestling circuit playing to the crowd.” Or maybe the one where Smith loses his virginity, which his overprotective, overbearing mother calls “rape.”
Smith’s memoir doesn’t really lend itself to a tag line, which is why I like it. Perhaps, “Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.” However, this book is more accessible than Styron’s.
Daniel Smith is sharp and insightful without being a bore. The book’s thoughtfulness, intelligence and self-deprecating tone proves irresistible. To quote the author: “If this all sounds melodramatic, well that isn't a bad metaphor for anxiety as a kind of drama queen of the mind.”
I'm not sure. perhaps someone who was looking for comedy or silly accounting of a serious subject.
He is a good narrator; easy to listen to and expressive
There were occasional pieces of interesting information about the disorder of anxiety.
It is so annoying I want to delete it from my cloud so I don't have to be reminded of the waste of time it was listening to it. I bought it so I wanted to listen to the end hoping I would get something out of it. Well I got something;frustration.
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