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The Man Who Couldn't Stop: Book summary and reviews of The Man Who Couldn't Stop by David Adam

The Man Who Couldn't Stop

OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought

by David Adam

The Man Who Couldn't Stop by David Adam X
The Man Who Couldn't Stop by David Adam
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  • Published Apr 2014
    304 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

This book offers an intimate look at the power of intrusive thoughts, how our brains can turn against us and what it means to live with obsessive compulsive disorder. Have you ever had a strange urge to jump from a tall building, or steer your car into oncoming traffic? You are not alone. In this captivating fusion of science, history and personal memoir, writer David Adam explores the weird thoughts that exist within every mind, and how they drive millions of us towards obsessions and compulsions. David has suffered from OCD for twenty years, and The Man Who Couldn't Stop is his unflinchingly honest attempt to understand the condition and his experiences.

What might lead an Ethiopian schoolgirl to eat a wall of her house, piece by piece; or a pair of brothers to die beneath an avalanche of household junk that they had compulsively hoarded? At what point does a harmless idea, a snowflake in a clear summer sky, become a blinding blizzard of unwanted thoughts?

Drawing on the latest research on the brain, as well as historical accounts of patients and their treatments, this is a book that will challenge the way you think about what is normal, and what is mental illness. Told with fierce clarity, humor and urgent lyricism, this extraordinary book is both the haunting story of a personal nightmare, and a fascinating doorway into the darkest corners of our minds.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Adam moves from these full-blown cases to more commonplace obsessions with ease, while his smooth prose ensures an enjoyable read. Not neglecting the darker nature of obsession, Adam manages to end on a note more hopeful than harrowing" - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Riveting, at times disturbing, but always enlightening... Adam clearly shows both the devastating impact our thoughts can have when they turn against us, and how science is helping us fight back." - Booklist

"Starred Review. An engrossing first-person study of obsessive-compulsive disorder from within and without... Well-researched, witty, honest and irreverent, Adam's account proves as irresistible as his subject." - Kirkus Reviews

"[A] fascinating study of the living nightmare that is obsessive compulsive disorder... [David Adam] has written one of the best and most readable studies of a mental illness to have emerged in recent years... An honest and open and, yes, maybe life-changing work." - The Observer (UK)

"A clear-sighted and eminently accessible account... The Man Who Couldn't Stop is a fundamentally important book." - The Sunday Times (UK)

"[An] engaging, exhaustively researched neuro memoir, a blend of brain science and personal history." - Evening Standard (UK)

"A captivating first-person account of how a blizzard of unwanted thoughts can become a personal nightmare. At times shocking, at times tragic, at times unbelievably funny, it is a wonderful read." - BBC Focus (UK)

"This blew me away. Stunning." - The Guardian (UK)

This information about The Man Who Couldn't Stop was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Dr David Adam is a writer and editor at Nature, the world's top scientific journal. Before that he was a specialist correspondent on the Guardian for seven years, writing on science, medicine and the environment. During this time he was named feature writer of the year by the Association of British Science Writers, and reported from Antarctica, the Arctic, China and the depths of the Amazon jungle.

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