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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of I Quit Sugar transforms cultural perceptions of the mental health issue of our age - anxiety - viewing this widespread condition not as a burdensome affliction but as a powerful spiritual teacher that can deepen our lives.

While reading psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison's groundbreaking account of bipolar disorder, An Unquiet Mind, Sarah Wilson discovered an ancient Chinese proverb that would change her life:

To conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.

Wilson, a best-selling author, journalist, and entrepreneur, had spent years struggling with her own beast: chronic anxiety. And the words of this proverb would become the key to understanding her condition.

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful charts Wilson's epic journey to make peace with her lifetime companion and to learn to see it as a guide rather than as an enemy. With intensive focus and investigatory skills, Wilson examines the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. She reads widely and interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism of her own experiences. Pulling at the thread of accepted definitions of anxiety, she unravels the notion that it is a difficult, dangerous disease that must be medicated into submission and reframes it as a divine journey - a state of yearning that will lead us closer to what really matters.

Practical and poetic, wise and funny, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful is a small book with a big heart. It will encourage the myriad souls who dance with this condition to embrace it as a part of who they are and to explore the possibilities it offers for a richer, fuller life.

©2017 Sarah Wilson (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Brilliant

What a profound book this was for me. An awesome look at anxiety and mood disorders in general. I bought 3 hardcopies. 1 for myself so I can go through to highlights and make notes in the margins, and 2 for gifts.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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highly recommend!

This was the best book I have read in a long time. Sarah is not only brilliant, but also so very brave. Her book is painfully honest at times... yet she continues to show up for the readers in an authentic way. She is right: more transparent conversations like these need to be happening!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Made anxiety worse!

This book is overwhelmed with facts. And research is a bit scattered & not fully accredited. Some is just writers opinion. I thought this would help with my anxiety but made it much worse. There are many other books out here that are much more suited for those of us who are anxious.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Highly recommend!

I read this hoping to find insights and tools to use, as I am dealing with more and more anxiety. I want to get a handle on it before it becomes too big a "beast." I also wanted to learn more, as I have a family member whose anxiety has affected her life greatly, and has become paralyzing at times. This book gets five stars on both counts. Sarah Wilson has done the research and lived it, providing valuable insights into the what, why, and how to work with managing anxiety. I'll take this information with me and use what I've learned to "roll up my sleeves and do the work" to better my life, and to see others with anxiety with more compassion and instead of being totally bewildered by their actions, know how to help them tame their beasts. I consider this a must read for anyone battling anxiety or who knows someone who is.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Insightful

I picked this book up in the midst of a personal crisis with my own anxiety. Its a broad topic, and not everything Sarah encounters in her story and research fully applied to my situation. However, I found a lot of solace in what she had to say, and found answers to a lot of the questions that we're bouncing around my head. All in all, it made facing my Beast a little easier, which is exactly what I needed.

I continue to listen to it now and then, sometimes specific chapters, when I need a reminder that I'm not alone with my anxiety, or a refresher on a better tactic in facing it.

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Love love love

Anyone who struggles with anxiety needs to read this book! Sarah is brilliant, intuitive, funny and authentic. A great listen!

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Not for the unanxious

If you do experience a great deal of anxiety, this may be a great book for you.

I got this book because I am not an anxious person and wanted to better understand those who are. At the end of chapter 3 the author describes people who are dispositionally unanxious as life naturals. This book, she says, is not for you.

Having listened to the first three chapters I'm afraid I must agree. In those chapters she made comments and described experiences that we 'all' go through. I kept thinking "But I don't!" or "Wow, that's never bothered me!" I simply couldn't relate. After enough of these sorts of comments I gave up.

I would still like to better understand anxiety but I guess I'll take my life naturalness and look for that elsewhere.

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I can’t decide

I can’t decide what I think about this book yet! I sort of liked it and it was sort of all over the place. I did find some interesting information and I liked hearing about another journey.

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Endearing

Sarah Wilson makes you fall in love with her, with her honesty, quirkiness, and witty humour. Do you want to know what anxious people feel like? Read this book. I am not an intrinsically anxious person, but I have anxious people in my life, and I could still identify myself with some of the things she said. I think we all have a little bit of anxiety, if only for a while. I can still hear her voice in my hear with catch phrases from the book. "Just meditate" was one of them, meaning you have to put in your meditation time, it doesn't matter if you don't think you are doing it right, or if you have a million doubts about what you are doing... "just meditate". I loved another one: "don't change hotel rooms", meaning don't try to control and change everything around you, because it's a lost cause. You could be changing hotel rooms for eternity, and you will still find things to complain about in every new room. So... "don't change hotel rooms". I have been trying to start meditating for a long time, and this book finally convinced me. I don't think that was her intention, but she did it anyway, with the wisdom from her own journey through anxiety, and through the research she has done. She said that if you are an anxious person, meditating is "not negotiable". And lastly, I will quote herself on this one: if you want a job well done, give it to an anxious OCD person, because they will do an extraordinary job. That's this book. She might not have the credentials of a scientist, but she is a true natural researcher. She must have read hundreds of books for all the research she references. You will love it. *With an australian accent* I promise.

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oh my goodness!

oh my goodness, this book really opened my eyes and helped my understand myself...the layers that make this successfully completed person that I am.
thank you Sarah!