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Sane New World: Taming the Mind Paperback – 27 Feb 2014

844 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (27 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444755757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444755756
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (844 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Ruby Wax has an extraordinary mind, and she has brought it to bear with trademark wit and searing honesty on the subject of that mind, and the minds of all us. Very few will be able to read this wonderful contribution to the literature of mental health without recognising some part of themselves, and certainly of someone they know. A ruby beyond price. (Stephen Fry)

I love this book more than I love Ruby. And that's saying quite a a loud, funny voice. Yes...I love this book. And I know books. And I know love. And Ruby's book is both. (Carrie Fisher)

Ruby Wax combats ignorance with knowledge, confusion with crystal clarity, prejudice with open-mindedness, rigidity with humour and slays the dragon of stigma in this superb introduction to the twenty-first century science of the mind. This book will be a turning point in our battle to bring parity of esteem to mental and physical health. Explaining in simple language the nature of mental disorder and describing evocatively what you can do about it, is a substantial contribution to making our society a better place. This manual for living must be read by everyone. (Peter Fonagy, Freud Memorial Professor of Psychoanalysis at UCL)

Ruby Wax is at her best in this wonderful book. Its acute observations are both extremely funny and deeply moving. Many people will be grateful for her courage, openness, humour and wisdom. (Mark Williams, author of Mindfulness)

In Sane New World, Wax touches upon her own anxieties and fears with honesty and royally hauls a stigmatised fact of life kicking and laughing into the open. (The Times)

The book does succeed as a 'life manual' exactly because it is Ruby Wax who has written it...her life-affirming humour carries it through on a tide of quirky jokes and separate anecdotes from her life. (Daily Express)

In this book, she puts her hilarity in service of the important message that we can change our own minds to live better lives. Her disquisition will be wonderfully helpful to those whose minds need changing, and wonderfully entertaining to everyone else. (Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree)

Ruby Wax is brave, generous and hilarious - the perfect guide on a tour of the brain and how it workings affect our overall well-being. And she is passionate about our collective need to tap into the power of mindfulness to help still our minds in an age of speed, hyperconnectivity and distraction. (Arianna Huffington, New York Times-bestselling author of Thrive)

Finally -- a map for the troubled human mind. And it's funny. (Caitlin Moran, author of How to Be a Woman)

A very funny book about how to be calm and poised and not bonkers. (Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones's Diary)

Wonderful, painfully funny and instructive. (Allison Pearson, author of I Don't Know How She Does It)

I was both amused and educated by Ruby Wax's self-help look at our brains, and the ways they're out to get us, and what we can do about it. She's a smart and funny writer on a mission to help us help ourselves. I was impressed. (Neil Gaiman)

Witty, wise and thought-provoking. (Nigella Lawson)

Use this excellent book to navigate your mind and this world with new ease and wonder (Russell Brand)

Book Description

Comedian, writer and mental health campaigner shows us why and how our minds can send us mad and how we can rewire our thinking, especially through mindfulness, to calm ourselves in a frenetic world.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Shackleton on 20 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I wish I'd known ages ago that with simple training you can change how you feel by changing your thoughts which changes your brain physiology and anatomy. She backs it up with empirical evidence based in science and research.

What I love about the techniques is that you're not trying to overrule or change unwanted or negative thought patterns (think positive!...yeah, like that's possible if you're feeling traumatised, stressed or depressed, and she proves why it isn't possible to tackle it that way as well). It's done using simple awareness and focussing exercises. Sounds too easy doesn't it? well it is easy and I'm personally flabbergasted at the amazing results I've experienced already.

Like a lot of people I've tried various self help books and manuals and had counselling for my issues but none have been as effective as this approach. It's completely changed my perspective on how we tend to view thoughts as the self and defining rather than 'brain events' as she describes.

If you've explored your own issues but still find your mind, thoughts and mood hostage to them then I can't recommend this book highly enough to you. It works and the science backs it up so I guess that's why it works.
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87 of 91 people found the following review helpful By meriet duncan on 6 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant Book. I read it with Ruby's voice in my head which made it easy and amusing. I wish she had written this book when I was 14, it would have saved me years of heart/head ache.. A must read for those who want to find out more about themselves and those around them. Thank you Ms Wax, I am only sorry that you had to suffer first in order to get tothis point in your life...
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166 of 179 people found the following review helpful By Scotty13 on 7 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read a lot of books about neurology, psychology and psychotherapy. Just put this one down having finished the last page. This one is a bit special because it has been written by someone who writes from the heart, with an honesty that's compelling. It has been said that there is no owner's manual that comes with each brain. This one provides a pretty good idea of what to do if you feel that your own brain is not quite getting you through your life the way you'd like. Highly recommended. I've always liked the author as a comedienne... I like her even better as an author and educator.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By rahla xenopoulos on 6 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
this book is a gift to the world. it's a helpful book without being a 'self help book.' funny, insightful and a revelation. it makes the most impossible concepts accessible for everyone and will help anyone understand the intricate workings of the brain and the responses we have to life. a must have for anyone trying to navigate their way through all the madness. major thanks to miss wax...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christof on 13 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback
A book of two halves. If you can put up with all the autobiographical stuff (showbiz excesses, maternal deprivation, shopping fixations...) and rather flippant and harsh tone (she makes snide remarks about other celebs and historical figures, doesn't conceal her contempt for anything to do with mysticism or religion and admits to bullying other students on her therapy course) in the first half, it does improve when she gets onto neuroscience and how thoughts affect the structure of the brain. It's particularly good on how the practice of mindfulness can help to deal with depression and negative thinking, and gives us a range of practical techniques we can apply in our daily lives. So if you do buy the book, stick with it!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rose on 27 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After following the eight week course outlined in Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic worldI was desperate to tell as many people as possible how wonderful Mindfulness is and what an impact it is having on my life. In the same week as I completed the course I discovered that by some wonderful coincidence Ruby had written her own book on the subject. Not only that but it was not some celebrity 'bandwagon' exercise but a serious contribution to the topic, based on her own experiences and her studies at Oxford University with the very professor who designed the course I'd just completed.
Ruby explains, with her characteristic humour, the latest scientific understanding of how the human mind works. She laments the fact that we don't come with a user manual and points out that we instinctively behave as if we were still hunter gatherers - hence all the shopping!
The good news is that we can rewire our brains and don't have to be trapped by our genes or our history. I can vouch for this with my own experiences. It was interesting to read the scientific proof. I would have liked to see an appendix with references for the studies she quotes. The absence of this in my kindle version is the only reason I didn't give the book 5 stars.
It's a shame, although probably inevitable, that those interviewing Ruby about the book want to concentrate on her own history because you don't have to suffer from depression or any other mental illness to benefit from practising Mindfulness. Whilst Ruby explains how it helps her she also provides a comprehensive list of studies and examples that show just how much benefit it can bring to any human being.
I hope many many people will read this book and be inspired to undergo Mindfulness training. If they do the world will be much better for it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What's the one thing we all say when asked what we'd wish ourselves or our children and loved ones? A happy life. This excellent book isn't just for those people with a mental health diagnosis. It's a book for any human being who wants a happier life. A manual for improved life quality - improved thinking, feeling and behaviour. I want to send one each to all our children.

Here's a modified something I wrote on Ruby Wax's website ( today.

"I'm glad the Irish Sane New World Tour went so well. My work hours were reduced from 36 to 12 per week when I had to have time off for an episode and the doctor's certificate showed 'bipolar depression'. That's a 2/3 cut in my salary. We moved area and I now work from home doing something I love. But mental illness can still hit us in the pocket and lower self-esteem further in this way, as you mention in SNW. The law definitely needs changing. We can never have too many people being open and honest about their experiences.

I'm now told by my e-reader I'm at '94 of 150' and thus at Part 4 of Sane New World. Although I took two NHS Mindfulness courses, the brain part was only explained in that we can change our thinking and thus feeling and behaviours. There simply wasn't the budget or time on the NHS to go into that detail and we concentrated on the actual practice.

So, at very long last, someone has explained for me in layman's/Joe Public human terms what scientists and scholars actually know, from all the research we have up to now (and clearly more needs doing), about our brains and minds. I knew Mindfulness was doing me good, making life richer and me more content, but the info in SNW's been a revelation to me. How complex is the brain! No wonder it's taking time to work it all out.
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