The most important audience for this book are those who have experienced serious mental illness in themselves or loved ones. The inner experiences of major depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are shown to derive from the breakdown of normal emotions we all know intimately. These everyday feelings are ancient, have played a central role in our evolution, and thus can be viewed as “emotional fossils.” Stigmatized for centuries, mental illnesses are revealed to be the price we pay as a species for the extraordinary mental capacities that make us human.
Short and explicitly written to be accessible, this essay interprets the scientific findings of human evolution in accordance with an evolving mind.
This book, or, as the author prefers to term it, this essay is very interesting and illuminating. Even for a casual student of psychology, evolution, mental health or medicine, this will be an engaging book, based on facts and referring to multiple studies for added depth of information.
However, while the blurb says this book is accessible for a layperson, I would like to disagree slightly. I am a layperson in this field, as while I am interested in this subject, I have not studied psychology or mental health on an academic level. I thought this book would be wonderful, which it was. I also expected it to be easy for me to understand, which it wasn’t.
Don’t get me wrong – it is very educational, and I am more aware for having read it, but it is not a breezy read by any means and you should probably set aside some time to read this book when you can concentrate on it and do justice to the subject matter, because this book certainly deserves it. There is much to delve into and do a deep dive into, so make full use of the resources this book provides to further educate yourself.