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A doctor's bold analysis of the cultural disease that afflicts us all. Despite an astonishing appetite for life, more and more Americans are feeling overworked and dissatisfied. In the world's most affluent nation, epidemic rates of stress, anxiety, depression, obesity, and time urgency are now grudgingly accepted as part of everyday existence they signal the American Dream gone awry. Peter C. Whybrow, director of the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA, grounds the extraordinary achievements and excessive consumption of the American nation in an understanding of the biology of the brain's reward system offering for the first time a comprehensive and physical explanation for the addictive mania of consumerism. American Mania presents a clear and novel vantage point from which to understand the most pressing social issues of our time, while offering an informed approach to refocusing our pursuit of happiness. Drawing upon rich scientific case studies and colorful portraits, "this fascinating and important book will change the way you think about American life" (Karen Olson, Utne Reader).
What do Americans need that most eludes them? It's not a tank of cheap gas (as astonishing as that would be) or ever earlier pre-holiday sales. What Americans need most - and most of them know it - is satisfaction, especially the satisfaction of enough.So when the call for submissions to this book went out, the mainstream response was enthusiastic. From the outpouring of personal stories submitted, the editorial committee chose these twenty to represent the broadest possible spectrum of Americans who have sought and found a simpler, more satisfying life.
Our drive to consume -- our desire for food, clothing, smart phones, and megahomes -- evolved from our ancestors' drive to survive. But the psychological and neural processes that originally evolved to guide mammals toward resources that are necessary but scarce may mislead us in modern conditions of material abundance. Such phenomena as obesity, financial bubbles, hoarding, and shopping sprees suggest a mismatch between our instinct to consume and our current environment. This volume brings together research from psychology, neuroscience, economics, marketing, animal behavior, and evolution to explore the causes and consequences of consumption. Contributors consider such topics as how animal food-storing informs human consumption; the downside of evolved "fast and frugal" rules for eating; how future discounting and the draw toward immediate rewards influence food consumption, addiction, and our ability to save; overconsumption as social display; and the policy implications of consumption science.Taken together, the chapters make the case for an emerging interdisciplinary science of consumption that reflects commonalities across species, domains, and fields of inquiry. By carefully comparing mechanisms that underlie seemingly disparate outcomes, we can achieve a unified understanding of consumption that could benefit both science and society.
When first published in 1997 this groundbreaking work on the science of mood both redefined the field and--with compassion, understanding, and scientific rigor--made it accessible to those who would most benefit from the latest findings. Now, Peter Whybrow, one of the world's most distinguished psychiatrists, has updated his definitive account of mood disorders. In A Mood Apart he argues that disorders such as depression constitute afflictions of the self, exploring the human experience of manic depressive illness, and rediscovering the human being behind the diagnosis. Drawing on cutting-edge research and his experience as a clinician, he shows how the science and culture surrounding mood disorders have changed since the first edition. Nearly two decades since its original publication, A Mood Apart remains an essential book for anyone who has been affected by depression.
In this optimistic and inspiring book, Peter Whybrow, the prize-winning author of American Mania, returns to offer a prescription for genuine human progress. The Well-Tuned Brain is a call to action. Swept along by the cascading advances of today's technology, most of us take for granted that progress brings improvement. Despite spectacular material advance, however, the evidence grows that we are failing to create a sustainable future for humanity. We are out of tune with the planet that nurtures us. Technology itself is not the problem, as Whybrow explains, but rather our behavior. Throughout its evolution the ancient brain that guides us each day has been focused on short-term survival. But fortunately we are intensely social creatures. Without the caring behaviors that flow from intimate attachments to others, we would be relying on a brain that is only marginally adapted to the complexity of the problems we must now face together. Today we must grapple with survival, not in its immediacy but over the long term. The first step in finding our way forward is to reexamine who we are as creatures of this planet. To this end, Whybrow takes us on a fascinating tour of self-discovery, drawing extensively upon his decades of experience as a psychiatrist and his broad knowledge of neuroscience and human behavior. Illustrated throughout with engaging personal stories, the book's trove of cutting-edge science is enriched by philosophical, historical, and cultural perspectives. What emerges is a summons to rediscover the essential virtues of earlier nurturing, of mentored education, and an engagement with the natural world through curiosity and imagination. Neuroscience can open the search for a better future. But technology alone will not save us. To achieve success we will need the strength and wisdom of our better nature as humane social beings.
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