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Going Sane: Maps of Happiness Hardcover – Import, 4 Oct 2005

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Hoping to break through our cultural fascination with madness, Phillips summons his readers to the neglected tasks of defining and cultivating sanity. To date, so few have thought seriously about sanity that it usually remains a bland abstraction, recognized only by its absence in the elemental and overwhelming intensity of madness. By drawing on the insights of earlier explorers of the psyche in imaginative and psychological literature, Phillips endows sanity with a truly profound meaning, one rich with the fullest of human possibilities. Only sanity, he argues, dispels the dehumanizing illusions surrounding power and wealth, so renewing the primal desires of childhood and restoring spontaneity and happiness to adulthood. Surprisingly, complete sanity depends less on clear perception of factual reality than it does on imaginative stories of kindness that shape our frankly acknowledged appetites (sexual, acquisitive, intellectual) within a deep awareness of the needs of others. Phillips thus invites his readers not to endorse a psychological orthodoxy giving sanity a fixed character but rather to embark on the unscripted adventure that gives it life. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


“Phillips has made psychoanalytic thought livelier and more poetic than ever… One of [his] finest and most broadly appealing books.” (New York Times)

“Phillips offers a detailed description of what sanity can mean today.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Beautifully written…clever and funny, and properly profound…A lovely addition to Phillips’ guides to living a happier life.” (GQ)

“Phillip’s arguments, both thought provoking and provocative, may affect future definitions of sanity and madness.” (Publishers Weekly)

As surely as vanilla is a flavor, sanity is a property, and this book delineates its parameters with considerable erudition.” (Andrew Solomon, author of THE NOONDAY DEMON, winner of the National Book Award)

“Bracing and provocative. Should be enough alone to make whole shelvesful of parenting guides self-destruct.”-- (The Observer)

“Wise and subtle. Going Sane has some superbly suggestive things to say about childhood, depression, autism and schizophrenia.”-- (Irish Times)

“Winningly articulate, enlightening but never patronising, [Adam Phillips] is a born writer…Going Sane is written with elegance and zest.” (Arena)

“Challenging and inspiring …Going Sane is an indispensable guide to what wisdom means today.” (John Gray, professor of political thought at the London School of Economics)

“Phillips is, as ever, an original and lucid spirit, a buzzing intellectual gadfly in the ointment of our easy answers.” (Daphne Merkin, author of DREAMING OF HITLER: Passions and Provocations)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New title edition (4 October 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007155395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007155392
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.1 x 21 cm
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsFascinating meditation on sane principles to sex, money, and the good life
5 January 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
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Sandra K Kowall
1.0 out of 5 starsOne Star
26 July 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
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Critical Reasoner
1.0 out of 5 starsIs Equal Time Truly Required For "Sanity" Over "Insanity"?
5 April 2007 - Published on Amazon.com
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A Strong Poet
5.0 out of 5 starsThought-provoking
7 March 2006 - Published on Amazon.com
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