The Other Side of Normal: How Biology Is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior

Overview

Psychiatry has ignored the normal. The focus on defining abnormal behavior has obscured what turns out to be the more fundamental question—how does the biology of the brain give rise to a mind which gives rise to everything we care about: thoughts, feelings, desires, and relationships?

In The Other Side of Normal, Harvard psychiatrist Jordan Smoller shows us that understanding what the mind was designed to do in the first place allows us to demystify mental illness and build a ...

See more details below
Paperback
$11.69
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$15.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $3.05   
  • New (11) from $4.36   
  • Used (7) from $3.05   
The Other Side of Normal: How Biology Is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.79
BN.com price

Overview

Psychiatry has ignored the normal. The focus on defining abnormal behavior has obscured what turns out to be the more fundamental question—how does the biology of the brain give rise to a mind which gives rise to everything we care about: thoughts, feelings, desires, and relationships?

In The Other Side of Normal, Harvard psychiatrist Jordan Smoller shows us that understanding what the mind was designed to do in the first place allows us to demystify mental illness and build a new foundation for defining psychiatric disorders from autism to depression. Smoller argues there are no bright lines between normal and abnormal and explains where our personalities come from, and how our temperaments as infants actually stay with us into adulthood. Along the way, he tackles an even greater question—what do we mean by "normal"?—as he explores puzzles as wide ranging as the epidemic of multiple personalities and the shocking phobia of shrinking penises.

Based on Smoller's groundbreaking research and own experience treating psychological disorders, The Other Side of Normal changes the way we think about the human condition.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The premise of this exciting book by Smoller, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is as simple as it is provocative: “Rather than constructing disorders by labeling the extremes—the troubled mind and the broken brain—we must start with an understanding of the normal.” As he so well explains, normal isn’t a singular form of behavior or feeling but a range on a broader spectrum. Similarly, there is no single point at which normal becomes abnormal in all situations. Smoller says that understanding the evolutionary roots of human brain functioning and behavior is essential to defining “normal.” Clearly and articulately, tying evolutionary psychology, biological psychiatry, animal behavior, and related fields into a package of rare coherence, he integrates cutting-edge research with case studies of his own patients. By exploring the origins of emotions such as trust, fear, love, and empathy, he forces us to think about what it means to cross the line from normal to abnormal. And he does a remarkable job of ensuring that we revisit and improve both the concept of pathology and its treatment. 11 illus. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. (May)
Amy Chua
“Move over Oliver Sacks - I couldn’t put this fascinating book down! Path-breaking and witty, as entertaining as it is informative, The Other Side of Normal is filled with insights into why we behave as we do and how biology determines so much of our emotional makeup. A brilliant mind and dazzling writer, Smoller has written a book that will change the way you look at every day life.”
Booklist
“Smoller redefines the biology of normal.”
Denver Post
“Are we born crazy, or is crazy thrust upon us? Smoller investigates.”
Library Journal
Smoller (psychiatry & epidemiology, Harvard Univ.) has written a highly interesting and accessible study of brain science and behavior. Couching his discussion in the familiar debate about nature vs. nurture, he makes the case that these forces work together in a complicated dance that determines human individuality. He frequently references the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the controversies there surrounding the definitions of normal vs. abnormal behavior. He seems to conclude that what is normal is most frequently defined in contrast to what is not normal. He ends his investigation of the normal by noting that abnormal behavior can be treated, the brain "rewired" with drug therapy. Smoller leaves unanswered the question of the ethical implications of manipulating the "abnormal" brain. VERDICT This thoroughly documented work provides enough information to satisfy the science-savvy without leaving the rest of us behind. Personal asides scattered throughout keep the tone from being textbook-dry. Readers interested in human behavior will be fascinated. [See Prepub Alert, 11/21/11.]—Margaret Cardwell, Memphis
Kirkus Reviews
Smoller (Psychiatry and Epidemiology/Harvard Univ.; co-author: Psychiatric Genetics, 2008) suggests that "[l]ike the purloined letter of Poe's tale, many of the most fundamental features of the normal mind have been hidden in plain sight." The author uses the 2010 announcement by the American Psychiatric Association of provisional plans to revise the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an opportunity to revisit the hot-button issue of what constitutes mental disease. In his opinion, one of the shortcomings of the DSM is its creation of "categories from constellations of symptoms" without understanding how they connect to the "functional organization of the mind and brain." While Smoller recognizes that it is sometimes necessary to treat an illness such as delirium without understanding its basic cause, he believes that the process of diagnosis and treatment can be dramatically improved by recognizing syndromes as "perturbations of normal systems and mechanisms." He identifies spectrums of normal behavior, citing research showing that temperamental qualities in adults--for example, being easygoing or prone to anxiety--can be traced to early childhood. Although it is not possible yet to clarify the nurture/nature debate, a correlation has been found between variations of specific genes associated with temperament and neurotransmitters. Brain scans have also identified differences in the brains of highly reactive individuals as compared to low-reactive infants. Smoller notes that while ADHD and similar disorders are often problematic today, such behavior might have conferred a reproductive advantage in previous eras of human evolution. An informative overview of research in neuroscience that provides a scientific foundation for understanding mental disorders.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061492204
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Pages: 390
  • Sales rank: 1,420,972
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jordan Smoller is associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)