Good Reasons for Bad Feelings

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry

Paperback (06 Feb 2020) | English

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Synopsis

'A new approach to mental disorder. Randolph Nesse's insightful book suggests that conditions such as anxiety and depression have a clear evolutionary purpose ... This intriguing book turns some age-old questions about the human condition upside down' Tim Adams, Observer

One of the world's most respected psychiatrists provides a much-needed new evolutionary framework for making sense of mental illness

With his classic book Why We Get Sick, Randolph Nesse established the field of evolutionary medicine. Now he returns with a book that transforms our understanding of mental disorders by exploring a fundamentally new question. Instead of asking why certain people suffer from mental illness, Nesse asks why natural selection has left us with fragile minds at all.

Drawing on revealing stories from his own clinical practice and insights from evolutionary biology, Nesse shows how negative emotions are useful in certain situations, yet can become excessive. Anxiety protects us from harm in the face of danger, but false alarms are inevitable. Low mood prevents us from wasting effort in pursuit of unreachable goals, but it often escalates into pathological depression. Other mental disorders, such as addiction and anorexia, result from the mismatch between modern environments and our ancient human past. Taken together, these insights and many more help to explain the pervasiveness of human suffering, and show us new paths for relieving it.

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings will fascinate anyone who wonders how our minds can be so powerful, yet so fragile, and how love and goodness came to exist in organisms shaped to maximize Darwinian fitness.

About the Publisher

Penguin Books

Penguin Books

The first ten paperback Penguin books appeared in 1935 costing 6d each (the price of a packet of cigarettes). Since then the Penguin list has developed enormously, but still aims to bring the best writing to the widest possible audience. Penguin Paperbacks now range from Booker Prize-winning contemporary authors, to mass market bestsellers, with successful history, biography and general non-fiction as well.

Book information

ISBN: 9780141984919
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Imprint: Penguin Books
Pub date:
DEWEY: 616.89001
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Sales rank: 8818
Number of pages: xv, 363
Weight: 280g
Height: 129mm
Width: 196mm
Spine width: 33mm