• Good Reasons for Bad Feelings

  • Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry
  • By: Randolph M. Nesse
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)

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Good Reasons for Bad Feelings  By  cover art

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings

By: Randolph M. Nesse
Narrated by: Arthur Morey
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Publisher's summary

A founder of the field of evolutionary medicine uses his decades of experience as a psychiatrist to provide a much-needed new framework for making sense of mental illness.

With his classic book Why We Get Sick, Dr. Randolph Nesse helped to establish the field of evolutionary medicine. Now, he returns with an audiobook that transforms our understanding of mental disorders by exploring a fundamentally new question. Instead of asking why certain people suffer from mental illness, Nesse asks why natural selection has left us all with fragile minds.

Drawing on revealing stories from his own clinical practice and insights from evolutionary biology, Nesse shows how negative emotions are useful in certain situations, yet can become excessive. Anxiety protects us from harm in the face of danger, but false alarms are inevitable. Low mood prevents us from wasting effort in pursuit of unreachable goals, but it often escalates into pathological depression. Other mental disorders, such as addiction and anorexia, result from the mismatch between modern environments and our ancient human past. And there are good evolutionary reasons for sexual disorders and for why genes for schizophrenia persist. Taken together, these and many more insights help to explain the pervasiveness of human suffering and show us new paths for relieving it by understanding individuals as individuals.

Includes a Bonus PDF of charts and visuals.

Cover art © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2018.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Randolph M. Nesse (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A fascinating study of the evolutionary roots of mental illness.” --The Economist, "The Best Books of 2019

“All psychiatrists and patients who find themselves having occasional ‘bad feelings’ about our current understanding of mental illness will have many ‘good reasons’ to consult this book. I do fully expect that someday nearly all psychiatry will be identified as evolutionary psychiatry. If so, Randolph Nesse’s book should be seen as the field’s founding document.” --The Wall Street Journal

“If you’re curious about why humans seem stuck with emotional suffering, Good Reasons for Bad Feelings provides thoughtful evolutionary commentary. Nesse looks at emotions, addictions, and mental afflictions every which way and, to his credit, does not pretend to have all the answers. The ones he offers and the questions he raises about their likelihood make for highly interesting and enlightening reading.” --New York Journal of Books

“If your idea of self-care skews less spiritual and more scientific, Nesse’s new book on why humans are so vulnerable to a variety of mental disorders is a must. In this new work, he covers both why some people get sick, as well as why natural selection left us all so vulnerable to developing mental illness. Topics covered include changes in our environment impact us, how anxiety and low mood sometimes help our genes and how social anxiety is nearly universal.” --Forbes

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