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Book Review of: Are You Crazy?

For insight into the crazy world around us, and into your own pysche, you will want to read this book.

Are You Crazy?

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Review of Are You Crazy?, by Andrew N. Williams.

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 5,000 articles.

Having read and reviewed Williams' previous book, How Do You Compare?, I was excited to discover this author had written another self-examination guide. While the world is just seething with insanity, our natural tendency is to have a "I'm OK, you are crazy" view of things. Some people are not as crazy as we think they are, we are not necessarily as sane as we think we are, and some of the quirks we are embarrassed about are not as whacky as we think.

An honest reader of Are You Crazy? will get a helpful reality check. For most of us, reading the text and doing the self-tests will help us affirm that we are OK after all. Probably for many more of us, this book will help us be more accepting of other people and their behavior. And for some, this book will be a lifeline--by identifying that something is wrong after all. Of course, the value of the tests rests squarely on the honesty of the person taking them. Those who are in denial probably need more help than this book can provide. But for most folks, it will prove to be a very good use of their time.

Are You Crazy? does include some Anglo-Saxon vernacular, which some folks may find offensive. But for those who "venture outside the monastery," the language is descriptive and appropriate.

Now, what is in Are You Crazy?? This book consists of eight chapters. The first chapter focuses on the reader--with tests on narcissism, negativity, and shyness. The second chapter focuses on the reader's relationships with others--with tests on security, jealousy, and manipulative behavior.

The third chapter focuses on eating and drinking disorders. Interestingly, eating and drinking disorders are "normal" in the USA (which is why we have an obesity epidemic and a diabetes epidemic). People without these disorders are actually oddballs! The drinking disorder part is referring to alcohol only, not to other beverages. So, for example, if you drink "osteoporosis in a can," this book won't identify that as crazy behavior--even though it is. Nor does it go to the very core of the dieting vs. eating right "debate." But it does touch on that.

The next four chapters delve into darker areas. These include se*ual peccadilloes, phobias, weird stuff, and really weird stuff.

The book closes by wrapping all of this up in Chapter Eight. Now that you've looked at all of these things, what do they mean? What is the big picture, and how does it relate to you?

If you want to break out of self-defeating delusion--what I think of as being perpetually asleep--(you may not even be aware you are in it) add this book to your collection. The movie "The Matrix" was a big hit, primarily because it reflected the fact our world as we perceive it is not at all our world as it is. And that is very dangerous. I think most people are actually scared of the truth, because with truth comes responsibility. But no ostrich has ever escaped the hunter by sticking its head in the sand.

You may have heard the expression, "The truth shall set you free." If you believe that expression has any validity, then this book is a must read for you. If, on the other hand, you don't mind sand in your ears--then you should probably buy this book only as a gift to someone else.

A note on style and composition: Form is important, as it dictates readability. Fortunately, this book actually uses Standard Written English (SWE)--with only a few grammatical gaffes here and there. In an age where most "authors" seem oblivious to basic writing, this book stands out as one where the author actually cares about communicating to the reader. Given the subject matter, Williams' consideration for the reader is a crucial plus.




About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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