Friday, April 7, 2017

Can't. Just. Stop.

Can't. Just. Stop.: An Investigation of Compulsions by Sharon Begley, 296 pages

In this intriguing and well-researched book, Begley looks into the nature of compulsions, spanning from the "textbook" cases of OCD and hoarding to compulsively checking smartphones or social media. It's a fascinating book, and Begley does an excellent job of explaining the science and psychology history in an easily understandable way, often tinged with a bit of humor.

What really stands out, however, is Begley's ability to present examples of people suffering from different compulsions (from hoarding to OCD to shoplifting to hair-pulling) with grace, respect, and dignity. A less talented writer could easily have slipped into the sort of sensationalism that is found on too many cable reality shows. But here? No gawking, no sensationalism, just kindness. Because of that, I walked away from the book feeling comfortable with my own compulsions, and with a lot more empathy for those that experience more severe compulsions. An excellent book.

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