LEIGH FORBES: Books of all Sorts

Sane New World: Taming the Mind

by Ruby Wax.

Ruby Wax makes an excellent ambassador for mental health. She writes with clarity, humour, and detailed knowledge.

The greater part of the book details the workings of the brain and the mind (as distinct entities), and gives the reader an excellent understanding of how (and why) the subsequently-explained mindfulness/CBT techniques can be so beneficial. This approach, which acknowledges that people with mental-health problems are not stupid, just stuck, is valuable and enlightened. Understanding the science behind the methods (e.g. neuroplasticity) will undoubtedly help some folk engage more with these techniques than books that just dictate what you should do. I struggled in places with Wax’s humour, some of which (e.g. simple snidery) didn’t sit well in a book that – on a basic level – encourages compassion.

Wax doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but writes convincingly about the possibilities and benefits of how retraining the brain can help with all kinds of mental-health issues.


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