Your audiobook is waiting…

Suicidal

Why We Kill Ourselves
Narrated by: Joe Hempel
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

For much of his 30s, Jesse Bering thought he was probably going to kill himself. He was a successful psychologist and writer, with books to his name and bylines in major magazines. But none of that mattered. The impulse to take his own life remained. At times it felt all but inescapable.

Bering survived. And in addition to relief, the fading of his suicidal thoughts brought curiosity. Where had they come from? Would they return? Is the suicidal impulse found in other animals? Or is our vulnerability to suicide a uniquely human evolutionary development? In Suicidal, Bering answers all these questions and more, taking us through the science and psychology of suicide, revealing its cognitive secrets and the subtle tricks our minds play on us when we're easy emotional prey. Scientific studies, personal stories, and remarkable cross-species comparisons come together to help listeners critically analyze their own doomsday thoughts while gaining broad insight into a problem that, tragically, will most likely touch all of us at some point in our lives.

Authoritative, accessible, personal, profound - there's never been a book on suicide like this. It will help you understand yourself and your loved ones, and it will change the way you think about this most vexing of human problems.

©2018 Jesse Bering (P)2019 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A Magpie's Nest of Gaffes, Guffaws, and Tears

Is this a Responsible Book on a Risky Subject?
This book is out of balance, All Yin, No Yang. This opinion-driven, ugly book deserves an opinion-driven, ugly review.

As the author has thought of suicide himself, is it unkind to write a negative review?
No, I think people need to know his book is ugly before they read it. I suggest retracting the book.

Does this book add to the ethical and scientific body of knowledge on the topic?
No. Some material seemed quite improbable, such as a diary he detailed. I question his role: he interacts with the actively suicidal or families of those who died. I wonder about the appropriateness of the details he has disclosed and the privacy rights of those involved.

Does this book hold biases and prejudices that offend?
Yes. For example, he devoted a great deal of time to the death of a “tall, attractive blonde.” What about the short, dark people? Are they less sympathetic or worthwhile?

Did this book help me with my own existential crisis?
Not a bit, although writing a negative review might temporarily help me turn my anger outwards with my keyboard.

Does this book enhance a personal sense of value to society?
No. I feel less valued, less connected, less needed, less wanted. I am reinforced in negative perceptions that people do not like people in distress. Is a menopausal woman useful to society or "off the list"? My new term from the author for menopausal women: sexless worker ants. I do not think that using labels like he does is productive.

Do I feel less isolated after reading this book?
No. I feel more isolated, and, worse yet, I was reminded by the author that isolation is a predictor of suicide.

Was useful advice provided?
No. I have found better advice on day to day coping elsewhere. My impression from him was a push and pull based on, “If you are useless to the group, leave.” The laundry list of worldwide phone numbers at the end is of very low value. However, an easy 9-1-1 style number for all people worldwide to get help in crisis is beyond what the author could provide. I think that is needed. The CDC has clearer objectives that address people’s core needs better than what was detailed in the book, such as: economic security initiatives, access to mental health care, social-emotional learning programs, relationship programs, treatment programs, community engagement activities, and system change. I would add to that destigmatization efforts after reading this book. However, these are all prospective investments in people and are not this year’s action initiatives.

Does this book help develop the Protective Factors to lower Suicide Risk?
Even if the US Public Health Service overlaps some of the CDC objectives, these deserve to be reiterated as our society’s needs are urgent:
• Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
• Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
• Family and community support (connectedness)
• Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
• Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
• Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation

Does this author help or hinder suicide survivors?
The author describes research that indicates people would rather love someone from an “outside” or marginated ethnic group than someone who attempted suicide. So, this makes those of us who are unloved even less loved. Good to know.
The author talks about how some people find watching a suicide as incredibly funny or deserved. For those who find the world to be an ugly place, this reinforces a perception that society is diseased. I offer a possible “rationale” for this uncomfortable description of the reactions of some: observers may blame and shame the suicidal person because they are attempting to control their feelings and they feel like they lack control of the situation. Psychologists might be better able to expand on the paradoxical situations involving suicide, but the author did not suitably frame the anecdote.

Do I feel more positive about the human race and my place in it after reading this book?
No. People damage other people in measurable ways. This book causes damage.

Did the author offer helpful coping strategies?
Not in particular, and each of us needs prescriptions that are right for us. For example, he advises a type of “dissociation” and suggests looking at our situation as if we were an observer of our life on a stage. This is scary!!! Detachment like this seems to me to characterize how a person can become the emotionally detached mass murderer. Anger turned inwards is often associated with depression or suicide. Anger turned outwards can get aggressive towards other people or animals or inanimate objects. Detaching from emotions negates happiness and fear right along with the anger and sadness. A 2013 article in Psychological Science emphasizes that anger, happiness, sadness, and fear have the same common neural building blocks. I do not know if it is ever possible to remove one emotion without interfering with the others. What research, Mr. Author, do you cite that supports healthy outcomes from detaching from our emotions? I am familiar with the visualizations where we try to passively observe our emotions, but that is very different from what you offered. We need our emotions; what we don’t need is denial of health and mental care, denial of our emotions, denial of economic possibilities, denial of love, denial of families through courts, and denial of our human hearts.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful