• Why Smart People Hurt

  • A Guide for the Bright, the Sensitive, and the Creative
  • By: Eric Maisel
  • Narrated by: Seth Podowitz
  • Length: 5 hrs and 43 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (133 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Make your gifted life meaningful.

Overcome your unique challenges. The challenges smart and creative people encounter - from scientific researchers and genius award winners to best-selling novelists, Broadway actors, high-powered attorneys, and academics - often include anxiety, overthinking, mania, sadness, and despair. In Why Smart People Hurt, natural psychology specialist and creativity coach Dr. Eric Maisel draws on his many years of work with the best and the brightest to pinpoint these often devastating challenges and offer solutions based on the groundbreaking principles and practices of natural psychology.

Find meaningful success. Do you understand what meaning is, what it isn’t, and how to create it? Do you know how to organize your day around meaning investments and meaning opportunities? Are you still searching for meaning after all these years? Many smart people struggle with reaching for or maintaining success because, after all of the work they put into attaining it, it still seems meaningless. In Why Smart People Hurt, Dr. Maisel will teach you how to stop searching for meaning and create it for yourself.

Learn from a truly thought-provoking personal growth book. In Why Smart People Hurt, you will find:

  • Evidence that you are not alone in your struggles with living in a world that wasn't built for you or your intelligence
  • Logic- and creativity-based strategies to cope with having a brain that goes into overdrive at the drop of a hat
  • Questions that will help you create your own personal road map to a calm and meaningful life

Consumers of true, natural self-help books for gifted people struggling with life, anxiety, and depression, like Living with IntensityMisdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults, and Your Rainforest Mind, will learn how to create meaning in their lives with Why Smart People Hurt by Dr. Eric Maisel.

©2013 Eric Maisel (P)2020 Vibrance Press

What listeners say about Why Smart People Hurt

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Stunningly Unintelligent

"Why Smart People Hurt" simply is an incredibly poorly written book. Firstly I got through an hour of this garbage and the word "smartness" is repeated around 10 times. Seriously, for a book with this title the writer couldn't demonstrate a greater vocabulary? Intellect, intelligence, native cognitive ability or capacity none of these words come to mind?...I would consider the irony funny if it weren't so aggravating. That's just the verbiage, the tone of the books is cloyingly ingratiating. I found myself increasingly irritated with this patronizing and evasive material but it tracks with other "self help" genre books. Writers like this are the snake oil salesmen who comes to town, spouts a bunch of trumped up nonsense and gets out before it's fully realized how fraudulent and meaningless their rhetoric is.

The book goes on to not define "smartness" in any particular way. Wouldn't that be a natural place to start, to define some parameters however broad they might be? My suspicion is the author avoids this potentially murky territory in part because he simple doesn't have the insight to speak with any authority. Secondly avoiding defining "smartness" is simply a better sales tactic, why potentially alienate readers by describing boundaries on this concept? I WOULD recommend for those curious about this territory "The Drama of the Gifted Child" it's more of an academic essay but light years beyond this book.

26 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

disappointed

feels like cognitive behavioral therapy for the chronically bored, burnt out average person who was taught that television is a panacea. People, and capitalism are the thing that most often make smart people bored and depressed. We already know to make meaning. This is why gifted programming allows more freedom. Meaning Making is a natural impulse. Then society kills our souls.

11 people found this helpful

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Outdated, Unscientific, Dangerous

In chapter 4, I was skeptical. In chapter 5, I lost all respect for this “natural” psychologist. He attempts to discredit all that we know about mental health and particularly bipolar disorder (without any real evidence, mind you) and entirely mischaracterizes manic episodes as just a racing mind - ignoring all of the other aspects of mania that define it - and ignoring all of the other symptoms of bipolar disorder.

The scientific consensus on mental health disorders is that real biochemical and physical differences exist in the brains of those with mental health disorders. Where does this “natural” psychologist even get off with trying to rationalize away people having mental health disorders as simply being smart?

It’s offensive and dangerous, as anosognosia is a common feature of bipolar disorder that can lead people to real danger during their manic periods.

9 people found this helpful

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Yes and No

A good practical introduction to Natural Psychology. The three personalities is a useful concept for pursuing authenticity through an integration of the original, formed, and available. A fair guide to dealing with shifting life values and finding meaning.

But I think the title is misleading. He begins with an accurate list of issues that had me nodding, and promptly shifted to making me cringe at examples of imbalance, anxiety, addiction, and personal dishonesty. These are what you call smart people? Perhaps the problem is defining "smart". Damasio suggests that without emotion to give meaning to choices otherwise intelligent people can't function. So yes, meaning is key to applying all those smarts, but this is more of a book on the possible pathology of an immature and/or imbalanced intelligence.

The pain that I know, and why people join intelligence clubs, is the extreme difficulty in sharing the things we see with those who do not see, will not see, and worst, think they see but are not self critical. There is pain in seeing eyes glaze over when we talk about ideas rather than events or people. Pain when we assume we are among equals but discover that we are alone and will not receive reciprocity. It is the loneliness a parent feels when they cannot connect with their teen to share a precious understanding. No love or rationale will open their ears. The pain of being utterly unable to understand the value system and behavior of crowds. The sheer disconnect with a self destructive world. What can we offer those who are so different?

That's what I hoped this book would talk about, even if only to say he understood it too, but again I remain alone.

6 people found this helpful

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A lot of what you should think and not how

I agree with most of the author's points, and getting more reinforcement that there are people out there like me experiencing the same level of neuroticism is comforting. However, as is my problem with most self-help books and therapy, the book does not offer any great techniques of how to stop your brain or change your perception. My problem isn't identifying the problem, as I would imagine is the case with most people who would choose this book.

I agree with the author on this point so it did not bother me; however, if you are religious this book will not be for you. The author clearly does not respect religious people and calls them " mystics", and speaks about the frustration of having a society where a significant portion of the population does not accept evolution. I agree, but I guess I still respect religious people enough to warn them off from reading something that will be insulting.

3 people found this helpful

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very relatable

This book describes many of my life challanges and good ways to be findful and recognize solutions.

3 people found this helpful

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Promising title but disappointing content

First, the book is read with the enthusiasm of a funeral home director telling mourners how to get to the post burial reception hall. Or in short, phone book style.
Second, for anyone who has read anything in the past about the science of human brain or the challenges of higher intelligence as an outcome of natural evolution will find that this book brings nothing new or surprising to their knowledge. I honestly tried skipping around chapters to see if the author does come to some insightful conclusions but to no avail. Returned the audible credit and looking for a replacement.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful book about making meaning

Taught me how to focus on using my available personality to transform how I produce meaning in my life using every moment I have.

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Interesting Ideas

The book has a fairly nihilistic tone and is quite rooted in the author’s aetheist beliefs. So if any of that is something you can’t tolerate, the book may not be for you.

While I may disagree with the author’s core ideas, the book certainly has some interesting ideas and some broad ideas about how they might be implemented to help you manage the daily “meaning crisis.”

You know that horrible place where you wonder why you even try because your life is going nowhere and has no point? If you are prone to those moments then it is definitely worth a read.

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would have been better as a single paragraph

This book has a basic premise that is repeated multiple times in various chapters. The chapters themselves are redundant and repetitive. I finished the book, hoping it would get better. It did not. If you accept the idea that we make our own contextual meaning, there is no point to reading this book. It's cool that someone named this natural psychology, but check Wikipedia and you'll get the same. You just won't have to endure the entire text

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  • Amrita Kumal
  • 06-16-22

love the book

love the book . i feel really relaxed while i was listening ...***** would recommend

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  • Julie Baxter
  • 09-23-21

Totally Patronising!

This book has very little to offer people of high I.Q. and, as a former chair of British Mensa, I can say that with confidence.

First of all, contrary to Mr. Maisel's assertion, Mensa does, in fact, provide a community (a village?) for people who are like-minded in as much as they have an instinctive understanding of each other's mentality and, generally, share a similar sense of humour. While the members of Mensa might not agree on all issues, they do at least understand each other's point of view and happily accept their differences; in fact, it's the differences of opinion that lead to the most stimulating conversations!

That aside, I'm not sure who this book is aimed at. It tells 'smart' people very little that they haven't already figured out for themselves and I can't imagine it's of much interest to the rest of the population. Moreover, it broadly portrays 'smart' people as rather neurotic and unstable. In my experience, there are as many grounded 'smart' people as there are 'not-so-smart' people. This book is a potboiler of the lowest kind.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-28-21

An overall good book

I find it disappointing that the authors needed to discredit creationism based on humans being imperfec, it simply wasn't necessary and put a damper on the book for me which I mostly enjoyed. the argument wasn't necessary to the overall message in the book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-05-22

Just what I needed when going through some big life questions

Very thought provoking and possibly life changing book. Great insight on human experience. A daring challenge for all smart and self loathing people to answer with their own resolute. I have to read it again

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  • WMR
  • 06-19-22

A few useful points

This book started like it was written for me and I couldn’t wait to get into it. However, I found it to be quite contradictory with respect to its own core tenets in places, and I’ve seen softer approaches to advocating a particular belief system in television evangelists. It does give a few good pointers about creating meaning in life , but for someone in the depths of depression, I suspect it might be too simplistic - and unachievable - an approach.

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  • needbetterheating
  • 05-24-22

Probably better in hard copy

Not a bad book from the couple of chapters I listened too. I was interested in the content but, for me, the issues discussed needed a visual angle. The fact that there are questions to answer and this interactive element didn't work for me in audio book form.