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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,812 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Daniel Smith Narrator: Paul Michael Garcia Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the insightful narrative tradition of Oliver Sacks, Monkey Mind is an uplifting, smart, and very funny memoir of life with anxiety—America’s most common psychological complaint.

We all think we know what being anxious feels like—it is the instinct that made us run from wolves in the prehistoric age and pushes us to perform in the modern one—but for forty million American adults, anxiety is an insidious condition that defines daily life. Yet no popular memoir has been written about that experience until now. Aaron Beck, the most influential doctor in modern psychotherapy, says that “Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.”

In Monkey Mind, Daniel Smith brilliantly articulates what it is like to live with anxiety, defanging the disease with humor, traveling through its demonic layers, evocatively expressing both its painful internal coherence and its absurdities. He also draws on its most storied sufferers to trace anxiety’s intellectual history and its influence on our time. Here, finally, comes relief and recognition to millions of people who have wanted someone to put into words what they and their loved ones feel.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “You don’t need a Jewish mother, or a profound sweating problem, to feel Daniel Smith’s pain in Monkey Mind. His memoir treats what must be the essential ailment of our time—anxiety—and it does so with wisdom, honesty, and the kind of belly laughs that can only come from troubles transformed.”

    Chad Harbach, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Fielding

  • “I don’t know Daniel Smith, but I do want to give him a hug. His book is so bracingly honest, so hilarious, so sharp, it’s clear there’s one thing he doesn’t have to be anxious about: whether or not he’s a great writer.”

    A. J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically

  • “Daniel Smith maps the jagged contours of anxiety with such insight, humor, and compassion that the result is, oddly, calming. There are countless gems in these pages, including a fresh take on the psychopathology of chronic nail biting, an ill-fated ménage à trois—and the funniest perspiration scene since Albert Brooks’ sweaty performance in Broadcast News. Read this book. You have nothing to lose but your heart palpitations, and your Xanax habit.”

    Eric Weiner, New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss

  • “Smith does a skillful job of dissecting the mechanics of anxiety as well as placing the reader in his fitful shoes.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Intimate, compelling memoir exploring the boundaries of the author’s severe anxiety…A true treasure-trove of insight laced with humor and polished prose.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “The book is one man’s story, but at its core, it’s about all of us, and anyone who reads it should find a few takeaways.” 


  • “I read Monkey Mind with admiration for its bravery and clarity. Daniel Smith’s anxiety is matched by a wonderful sense of the comic, and it is this which makes Monkey Mind not only a dark, pain-filled book but a hilariously funny one too. I broke out into explosive laughter again and again.” 

    Oliver Sacks, bestselling author of The Mind's Eye

  • “Daniel Smith has written a wise, funny book, a great mix of startling memoir and fascinating medical and literary history, all of it delivered with humor and a true generosity of spirit.”

    Sam Lipsyte, author of Home Land and The Ask

  • Monkey Mind does for anxiety what William Styron’s Darkness Visible did for depression.” 

    Aaron T. Beck, award-winning psychiatrist widely regarded as the father of cognitive therapy

  • Monkey Mind is fleet, funny, and productively exhausting.” 

    New York Times

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, July 2012
  • A New York Times Bestseller (extended list)
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Selected for the July 2012 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Caroline Byrd | 2/20/2014

    " Way too "me" to have an unbiased view without causing a panic attack. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Eli | 2/20/2014

    " I wish I could rate it 2.5 stars. In my opinion, smith misses the focal point of his own book, which he breezes past in about 8-10 pages toward the very end. It's here, in describing his therapeutic process and how he finally learned to manage his anxiety, that he finds the topic that he should have focused on. Instead, we are led through a more generalized memoir of his life, which I kind of felt belonged in a separate book. In the end, I am just left feeling annoyed by his rambling, his mommy issues, and his sexism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Michael | 1/28/2014

    " Good book. Really well written. Just found it hard to relate to the level of anxiety being described. That's not a criticism of the book, just the reason I didn't give it a higher score. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Allison Apprill | 1/26/2014

    " Hilariously written, easy to relate to. "

  • > Show All
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About the Author

Daniel B. Smith is the author of Muses, Madmen, and Prophets and a contributor to numerous publications, including the American Scholar, Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, and Slate.