- By Peter C. Whybrow

American Mania: When More is Not Enough

  • Title: American Mania: When More is Not Enough
  • Author: Peter C. Whybrow
  • ISBN: 9780393328493
  • Page: 448
  • Format: Paperback
  • American Mania When More is Not Enough Despite an astonishing appetite for life and Americans are feeling overworked and dissatisfied In the world s most affluent nation epidemic rates of stress anxiety depression obesity and time ur

    Despite an astonishing appetite for life, and 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 InstitutDespite an astonishing appetite for life, and 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.

    1 thought on “American Mania: When More is Not Enough

    1. American Mania: When More is Never Enoughby Peter Whybrow M.D.Below are my favorite quotes from this provocative book. I would have included more but only allows 4000 characters per review. The first two quotes give the basic feel for the book. As a psychiatrist and an immigrant himself, Whybrow uses the mental disorder, manic depression, the migrant temperment of risk-taking and curiosity, and the original capitalism of Adam Smith to explain America's insatiable desire for more wealth. While h [...]

    2. If I were still wandering the groves of Academe, I would find a way to induce every first-year college student to read this book. It explains clearly, with insights from both economics and neuroscience, that the ever-growing pursuit of MORE cannot lead to a happy life. That pursuit has led too many Americans to lonely and sedentary lives, starved of real community and lacking in time to enjoy the real wealth they possess -- not a unique message, or a new one, but vitally important. Published in [...]

    3. Whybrow presents an interesting, thought provoking, plausible hypothesis about a combination of culture and physiology that promotes maniacal behavior but after clearly describing the ball he will carry he keeps on running and running with it maniacally (sorry, I couldn't resist). The long drawn out example of "Peanut" and the table conversation with three other people left me yawning. It's as if Whybrow were dealing with a not-very-bright reader, leading them slowly along the path of explanatio [...]

    4. Would have made a great long essay. Too repetitive as a book. Though does have some thought provoking ideas like, maybe the problem isn't capitalism, per se; it's our own biology and behaviors that can't adapt quickly enough to deal w/ affluence and abundance. and so we need to be rational to adapt. Also, that happiness and pleasure are not the same, and may be opposed. Again, nothing super new-feeling here, but well stated (though stated too many times, over and over).

    5. Good idea, poor executionAmerican mania explored an interesting idea, but the author spent more time soliloquizing than he did providing facts and evidence to back up his argument. He embellished heavily with hypotheticals and anecdotes (which were not supported by studies). The book didn't feel like it went anywhere, instead taking a meandering, directionless path.

    6. Unlike many books that simply tell us what we already know: that we are too materialistic, too stressed out, need to slow down and focus on "the moment," etc this book goes a bit further. By using the author's insights as a psychiatrist, the book presents a case of modern day America - a nation of immigrants - who are exhibiting a case of modern day manic behavior. Whybrow then combines the insights of Adam Smith, the Scottish economist wrongly believed to be an advocate of unbridled greed and s [...]

    7. The author examines the relationship between neurochemistry and evolution in a world of scarcity with its impact on people living in a society in which the market system has provided bounty. How do the mechanisms of pleasure and desire cope with a world in which scarcity is no longer the rule? He also looks at the neurotransmitters that lead to risk-seeking behavior. It is based on this, that he suggests there are unique aspects to the American character.Dr. Whybrow also refers extensively to th [...]

    8. I like sociology of all cultural groups. I am reading this book to understand why Americans are the way we are. When I have traveled to other countries there are many views of Americans both negative and positive. I have enjoyed many conversations and debates with my international friends. In turn, I want to understand America myself and why we have this need for more and more. Especially now with the recession and so many people out of work. Being industrious is great, but not to the peril of i [...]

    9. I found this book on a blurb on a previous book I read. It was a little dated and kind of floundered, in my opinion. It didn't have direction or wrap up to a main topic. Yes, we are a gluttonous society. Tell me something I don't know. Yes, it would be nice to go back to a simpler time (trust me, I am like the least tech forward person my age) but it ain't happening. A decent research book, but brought nothing new to the table.

    10. Thoughtful book about the intersection of social and genetic traits of Americans, as viewed by a psychiatrist who posits the theory that we are "wired" for mania. The author - himself an immigrant to the US - describes the paradoxes and perils that result from this self-selection, and suggests that our national affluence is also related to an epidemic of mental and physical health problems.

    11. The question I am left with after reading this book is"What causes a person, or a culture, to be joyful as well as accomplished?" The driven mania by itself doesn't lead to success, or the pursuit of happiness, or a sense of purpose.

    12. This book can be summed in one sentence: more and more possessions don't make you happy, people make you happy. Not much of a read.

    13. This was a fair book, interesting take on why Americans in particular might be actually genetically predisposed to more risk taking behavior than people in other countries.

    14. Wow. A must-read about the current US mania for more-a psycho-biological, anthropological,historical look at the self-absorbed life-style, from politics to credit card debt.

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