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Why People Die by Suicide by Thomas Joiner
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Why People Die by Suicide

by Thomas Joiner

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An interesting look at what, exactly, are the distinguishing characteristics of those who die by suicide, according to the author's theory. (If you wanted to make this book into a drinking game, you could take a shot every time he writes "my theory", but then you'd be so drunk after the first chapter you'd never finish the book.)

This book sort of crosses, and recrosses again, the fine line between overly scientific and oriented towards the layperson. At times I found the book very accessible, and at times there were sentences riddled with words I've never seen before in my life.

At any rate, you won't find much about mental illness in here, which sort of makes sense, considering that the author is trying to tease out why people kill themselves, and not everybody with a mental illness actually carries out a suicide attempt or dies by one. But still, I found it maybe a bit shortsighted that therapy methods were mentioned briefly, and antidepressants were almost lost in three paragraphs. So, I'm not sure what the author really recommends that one does if one has all of the warning signs for suicide. Go to therapy? I guess? It was hard to tell, ultimately, what his recommendations are. And that's where I think this book really falls short. ( )
  lemontwist | Apr 19, 2014 |
Not a great book. More like "I have a theory. I am going to repeat it until you believe it." But I didn't believe it. ( )
1 vote marti.booker | Dec 2, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674025490, Paperback)

In the wake of a suicide, the most troubling questions are invariably the most difficult to answer: How could we have known? What could we have done? And always, unremittingly: Why? Written by a clinical psychologist whose own life has been touched by suicide, this book offers the clearest account ever given of why some people choose to die.

Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, Thomas Joiner brings a comprehensive understanding to seemingly incomprehensible behavior. Among the many people who have considered, attempted, or died by suicide, he finds three factors that mark those most at risk of death: the feeling of being a burden on loved ones; the sense of isolation; and, chillingly, the learned ability to hurt oneself. Joiner tests his theory against diverse facts taken from clinical anecdotes, history, literature, popular culture, anthropology, epidemiology, genetics, and neurobiology--facts about suicide rates among men and women; white and African-American men; anorexics, athletes, prostitutes, and physicians; members of cults, sports fans, and citizens of nations in crisis.

The result is the most coherent and persuasive explanation ever given of why and how people overcome life's strongest instinct, self-preservation. Joiner's is a work that makes sense of the bewildering array of statistics and stories surrounding suicidal behavior; at the same time, it offers insight, guidance, and essential information to clinicians, scientists, and health practitioners, and to anyone whose life has been affected by suicide.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:45 -0400)

"In the wake of a suicide, the most troubling questions are invariably the most difficult to answer: How could we have known? What could we have done? And always, unremittingly: Why? Written by a clinical psychologist whose own life has been touched by suicide, this book offers the clearest account ever given of why some people choose to die." "Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, Thomas Joiner brings a comprehensive understanding to seemingly incomprehensible behavior. Among the many people who have considered, attempted, or died by suicide, he finds three factors that mark those most at risk of death: the feeling of being a burden on loved ones; the sense of isolation; and, chillingly, the learned ability to hurt oneself. Joiner tests his theory against diverse facts taken from clinical anecdotes, history, literature, popular culture, anthropology, epidemiology, genetics, and neurobiology - facts about suicide rates among men and women; white and African-American men; anorexics, athletes, prostitutes, and physicians; members of cults, sports fans, and citizens of nations in crisis." "The result is the most coherent and persuasive explanation ever given of why and how people overcome life's strongest instinct, self-preservation. Joiner's is a work that makes sense of the bewildering array of statistics and stories surrounding suicidal behavior; at the same time, it offers insight, guidance, and essential information to clinicians, scientists, and health practitioners, and to anyone whose life has been affected by suicide."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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