Monday, May 2, 2016

Book Review: Capture by Dr. David Kessler

Capture: A Theory of the Mind

Why do we think, feel, and act in ways we wished we did not? For decades, New York Times bestselling author Dr. David A Kessler has studied this question with regard to tobacco, food, and drugs. Over the course of these investigations, he identified one underlying mechanism common to a broad range of human suffering. This phenomenon—capture—is the process by which our attention is hijacked and our brains commandeered by forces outside our control.

In Capture, Dr. Kessler considers some of the most profound questions we face as human beings: What are the origins of mental afflictions, from everyday unhappiness to addiction and depression—and how are they connected? Where does healing and transcendence fit into this realm of emotional experience?

Analyzing an array of insights from psychology, medicine, neuroscience, literature, philosophy, and theology, Dr. Kessler deconstructs centuries of thinking, examining the central role of capture in mental illness and questioning traditional labels that have obscured our understanding of it. With a new basis for understanding the phenomenon of capture, he explores the concept through the emotionally resonant stories of both well-known and un-known people caught in its throes.

The closer we can come to fully comprehending the nature of capture, Dr. Kessler argues, the better the chance to alleviate its deleterious effects and successfully change our thoughts and behavior Ultimately, Capture offers insight into how we form thoughts and emotions, manage trauma, and heal. For the first time, we can begin to understand the underpinnings of not only mental illness, but also our everyday worries and anxieties.Capture is an intimate and critical exploration of the most enduring human mystery of all: the mind.
I'm going to preface my review by just saying that I don't love this cover or the subtitle.  The cover is just generic and the subtitle doesn't do the book's topic justice.  I probably wouldn't have picked it up without having read the description, which is a shame because the book is actually right up my alley.

Writing
Yes, yes, yes!  Science and psychology writing exactly the way I like it - tons of examples and studies all backed up with excellent references and footnotes.  There are close to 300 pages of text and over 100 pages of footnotes and citations, which is just heaven.  I'm still making my way through the notes and making a list of further reading that I want to do.  Along with the meticulous research, the author also writes in a way that is easy for the casual reader - you won't need to be a scientist or psychologist to understand the concepts being presented.

Entertainment Value
Again, based on the subtitle I never would have guessed it, but this book completely hooked me by focusing on a topic that I've long been interested in but have never found explored the way I wanted.  The connection between genius and madness has been something that has fascinated me since college, but I struggled in finding a more psychological examination of the subject.  While this book isn't written to directly address the topic, by the end of the introduction I was hooked.  I'm thrilled to report that this answered a lot of my questions about the topic or at least addressed the ideas surrounding both genius and madness.

Overall
If you're a fan of science and/or psychology writing this is a great one to read.  I think it's also good for anyone who struggles with anxiety or depression or any other mental illness.  It's less of a "how to" and more of a "how your brain works", which I find extremely helpful.  It's not fiction and it's not a super fast read, but it's worth it.

Thanks to TLC for having me on the book tour.  Click here to see the other stops on the tour!


1 comment:

  1. It's a real art for someone to be able to explain a complicated subject in a way that most people can understand! Thanks for being on the tour!

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