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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm sane, me...
In Going Sane, Adam Phillips skilfully marshals a wide cast from literature and the literature of psychology in order to examine the many headed and currently vague notion of sanity.

How is the term used? Why is the term used? Does sanity encompass madness or exclude it?

Opening with a sceptical voice, he considers ideas such as the misuse of the...
Published on 23 Jan 2007 by Fitzcarraldo

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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Potential waffle
I am afraid I am going to have to agree with the negative reviewers here. I had difficulty seeing anything coherently persuasive in the book, largely because it lacked any substantive evidences and seemed highly subjective. Even the opinions were not clearly illustrated or supported, so I constantly found the thread of the text to be counter-intuitive if not indeed often...
Published on 28 Mar 2009 by E. Mills


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm sane, me..., 23 Jan 2007
This review is from: Going Sane (Paperback)
In Going Sane, Adam Phillips skilfully marshals a wide cast from literature and the literature of psychology in order to examine the many headed and currently vague notion of sanity.

How is the term used? Why is the term used? Does sanity encompass madness or exclude it?

Opening with a sceptical voice, he considers ideas such as the misuse of the word by The Party in Orwell's 1984 and Laing's consideration of madness as a rational response to circumstances.

Further on, we're challenged to regard the difficulties of an idea of sane sex and the programmed madness of adolescence.

As the book progresses, Phillips asserts his own voice more strongly, finishing with his idea of a sane life; perhaps how a life might be sane, but at least in how the thing might be recognised.

Even while arguing forcefully and eloquently, Phillips still manages to avoid being over prescriptive; his voice is too secular for that. In any case, he insists (in the introduction) that his ideas are there as a challenge.

If you're up for such a challenge and especially if you're interested in where psychology meets philosophy, then this book is for you.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For anyone and everyone, 19 Jan 2008
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This review is from: Going Sane (Paperback)
This was my first exposure to Adam Phillips. It took me a while to get into this book and then suddenly it gripped me and didn't let go till I'd finished. Phillips is a brilliant writer and must be a brilliant man. Since reading this I have tried to find as much of his stuff as I can and every time I finish one of his books I go looking for another - he's that good. Not that he is interested in being 'good' as much as he is interested in being kind, dignified, perceptive, honest and thorough. This is a body of work that replaces anti-Freudianisms with a re-positioning of Freudian thinking at the centre of our everyday lives and pre-occupations. Above all Phillips is determined to expose our humiliations and repair them with a language and a way of thinking about ourselves that preserves or perhaps resurrects our dignity as something worth protecting and nurturing. A thought provoking, gentle, passionate and ultimately inspiring book for anyone feeling weary.
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4.0 out of 5 stars too soft the cover, 27 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Going Sane (Paperback)
i like very much the point of view of mr adam philips.his gaiz is very penetrating and gives you another dimention of human nature
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Potential waffle, 28 Mar 2009
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E. Mills (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Going Sane (Paperback)
I am afraid I am going to have to agree with the negative reviewers here. I had difficulty seeing anything coherently persuasive in the book, largely because it lacked any substantive evidences and seemed highly subjective. Even the opinions were not clearly illustrated or supported, so I constantly found the thread of the text to be counter-intuitive if not indeed often relying on presumptions.

My eyebrows were especially raised when the author moved into the topic of autism and schizophrenia, since I am not at all convinced that these are either (a) not to a significant extent biological/physiological or (b) responsive to psychoanalysis. The truth which seems to be emerging through more objective, scientific evidence, including genetics, is that insanity (and subsequently sanity) is not something which can be defined in these terms, much like we would not suggest someone 'think through' their diabetes, even if the cause is environmental (ie. not just genetic) for example. I accept that the book did not intend to address these issues, but I think a book on the topic should at least discuss the concepts briefly, if it is to try to reach a valid overall definition which is not entirely open to question.

I do value psychoanalytical methods, where they are shown to be appropriate, and I did have interesting and thought-provoking moments, especially in the chapter on money.

Overall, the conclusion that sanity equates to balance could have been put forward in a much shorter article. Even for a slim volume, I felt the book was padded out.
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30 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sanity in a Sea of Madness, 18 Mar 2005
This review is from: Going Sane (Hardcover)
This insightful book picks up on the fact that though people talk,and have done for millenia,incessantly about madness as something easily recognisable and identifiable, no one has ever really defined what sanity is. Rather, it is described as the opposite of madness, which is so non-specific as to be useless. Phillips skillfully weaves a narrative as entertaining as it is thought-provoking in charting the idea of sanity and trying to pin its meaning down. In the final chapter Phillips formulates a definition of sanity to which, if we're open-minded enough, we may aspire to.
Despite this, the book is not a self-help manual. It is much more sophisticated and far less didactic. Phillips rigourously backs up his arguments and musings with evidence and ultimately provokes us into thinking about what madness is, whose interests its works in and how we can cope with the conflicting desires we are made of (his thesis is informed by Freud). In essence, Phillips's is a sane and measured voice calling for a realistic definition of sanity that may help us stay sane in an insane world. Overall, a stimulating and rewarding read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit academic, 11 Jan 2007
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This review is from: Going Sane (Paperback)
I like Adam Phillips' writing generally, however I found this book slightly disappointing as the first part of this book reads more like an academic paper as he spends more time than necessary defining sane-ness. In the second half there is more to pick through and his insights provoke reflection though I wasn't totally convinced by his proposals for what a blueprint of sanity might look like.
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard going, 7 Dec 2006
This review is from: Going Sane (Paperback)
I picked up Going Sane having read newspaper interviews with Adam Phillips and been intrigued. Sadly the book infuriated me and my husband had to put up with my continual mutterings as I slogged through it. It was a frequent experience to get to the end of the page and having to start again because I hadn't absorbed anything.

Phillips particularly tended towards obfuscation when merrily quoting from other psychologists. The obtuse style of his predecessors is not Phillips fault but he hardly guides you through with ease.

If you must read it then skip section one. Section two is still hard going but there were occasional moments of enlightenment. The section on greed at least gave pause for thought: 'To want money over and above the amount one actually needs to live is an essential part of modern people's passion for ignorance about themselves'.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You'd have to be mad to read Going Sane, 7 Dec 2007
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Grey (Gloucestershire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Going Sane (Paperback)
Finishing this book was an achievement and a relief. To say is it vague is an understatement. I get the impression the author has spent little time researching and writing this awful book. Avoid.
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6 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disapearing up its own arse backwards, 31 Oct 2005
This review is from: Going Sane (Hardcover)
I thought this was an apalling book. What is it about Therapists that they think they can construct the most impossible and fantastic theories about human behaviour on the flimsiest of evidence. Booring, turgid and embarrassingly verbose this book only convinced me that the majority of psychotherapists are every bit as barmy as the poor soles they are ment to be analysing and should be avoided like the plague.
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Going Sane
Going Sane by Adam Phillips (Paperback - 30 Mar 2006)
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