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Monkey Mind: Book summary and reviews of Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith

Monkey Mind

A Memoir of Anxiety

by Daniel Smith

Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith X
Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith
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  • Published Jul 2012
    224 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Anxiety once paralyzed Daniel Smith over a roast beef sandwich, convincing him that a choice between ketchup and barbeque sauce was as dire as that between life and death. It has caused him to chew his cuticles until they bled, wear sweat pads in his armpits, and confess his sexual problems to his psychotherapist mother. It has dogged his days, threatened his sanity, and ruined his relationships.

In Monkey Mind, Smith articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, and evocatively expressing its self-destructive absurdities and painful internal coherence. With honesty and wit, he exposes anxiety as a pudgy, weak-willed wizard behind a curtain of dread and tames what has always seemed to him, and to the tens of millions of others who suffer from anxiety, a terrible affliction.

Aaron Beck, the most influential doctor in modern psychotherapy, says that "Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron's Darkness Visible did for depression." Neurologist and bestselling writer Oliver Sacks says, "I read Monkey Mind with admiration for its bravery and clarity. ... I broke out into explosive laughter again and again." Here, finally, comes relief and recognition to all those who want someone to put what they feel, or what their loved ones feel, into words.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A true treasure-trove of insight laced with humor and polished prose." - Kirkus Reviews

"Smith does a skillful job of dissecting the mechanics of anxiety as well as placing the reader in his fitful shoes." - Publishers Weekly

"The book is one man's story, but at its core it's about all of us." - Booklist

"You'll laugh out loud many times during Daniel Smith's Monkey Mind... In the time-honored tradition of leavening pathos with humor, Smith has managed to create a memoir that doesn't entirely let him off the hook for bad behavior ... but promotes understanding of the similarly afflicted." - O Magazine

"For fellow anxiety-sufferers, it's like finding an Anne of Green Gables–style kindred spirit." - New York magazine's Vulture.com

"Daniel Smith has a written a wise, funny book, a great mix of startling memoir and fascinating medical and literary history, all of it delivered with humor and a true generosity of spirit. I only got anxious in the last part, when I worried the book would end." - Sam Lipsyte, author of Home Land and The Ask.

This information about Monkey Mind 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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Author Information

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith is the author of Muses, Madmen, and Prophets and a contributor to numerous publications, including The American Scholar, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and Slate. Visit his website at www.monkeymindchronicles.com.

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