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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Book Reviews

In this section we encourage our readers to review books they have read which have a mental health theme.

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Latest Reviews

  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

    Reviewed by Dr Brijesh Desai       11/05/2015

    Nassim Taleb is brilliant, nay, a genius. And with his cracking sense of humour, not one page is boring, patronizing or pompous. A banker friend of mine introduced me to this book. Of course I am quite clueless about financial markets but a quick flick interested me. As I read it, I started seeing all sorts of applications for psychiatry ! And enjoyed the book in the process. read more...

  • Voices on the Great Wall

    Reviewed by Dr Oscar Hill       05/05/2015

    This is a beautifully written book that intertwines the enduring grief of a mother for the loss of her son and some resolution that came from a 100 km walk on the Great Wall of China, initially undertaken to support a charity for the bereaved but which turned into a pilgrimage for the rediscovery of her mental, spiritual and bodily strengths. read more...

  • A Clinician's brief guide to the Mental Health Act, third edition

    Reviewed by Dr Justin Izebor       10/03/2015

    This book, written over 11 chapters and 2 appendices, is very concise and practical. Though it does not in any way replace the Mental Health Act code of practice, it touches on those scenarios commonly encountered during Mental Health Act assessments, in psychiatric units, prisons, courts and patients on Community Treatment Order. read more...

  • Psychobiography of a systemiser: inconvenient home truths and family secrets

    Reviewed by Professor Michael Fitzgerald       19/02/2015

    This is a unique autobiography written in an individualistic style. Phil Wylie states that in relation to the book that it may seem “stranger than fiction”. This crossed my mind as I read it. It is a real “page-turner” with the family history covering the post-British Empire period. read more...

  • Cognitive Behavior for Eating Disorders

    Reviewed by Dr Shyamasree Dutta       19/01/2015

    Cognitive behavioural therapy has been a well-established treatment for eating disorders. In this book ‘Cognitive behaviour therapy and eating disorders', Fairburn and his colleagues gave a detailed practical guide to the practice of enhanced Cognitive behavioural therapy, an evidence-based therapy for patients with eating disorders. This book is comprehensive, well structured and easily readable. read more...

  • The Maze (3rd edition) A Practical Guide to the Mental Health Act 1983 (Amended 2007)

    Reviewed by Dr Maha Fayyaz Khan       08/08/2014

    Mental health law is an area of significant legal and social complexity and ‘’THE MAZE’’ is an honest and pure attempt by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, contextualising the key advancements in the law. It attempts to unfold the complications linked with mental health law enabling the professionals to use it for patient benefit and recovery support. The invaluable material in this book is presented in the form of seven self-contained sections covering 214 pages, with thought provoking facts and appealing front cover. read more...

  • The Dark Threads

    Reviewed by RHS Mindham       30/07/2014

    This autobiography describes the experience of psychiatric care in the West Riding of Yorkshire by a young woman and the effects on her subsequent life. It makes for uncomfortable reading. read more...

  • Sectioned - My Experiences While Detained Under the Mental Health Act

    Reviewed by Dr. Shahrina Nabi       21/05/2014

    In her book Hilary Coveney describes her experiences of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act between June 2010 until discharge in August 2013. This is her story about how she had benefited as well as, using her word, ‘ hindered ‘, by this admission to hospital. I am humbled by her courage to write a book about this distressing time in her life. She has written in the forward “I hope you enjoy reading this book and that it will shed some light on how at least one mental health patient experienced the help she received”. read more...

  • Prayer Life: how your personality affects the way you pray

    Reviewed by Dr Anne Parfitt-Rogers       17/03/2014

    Many people will pray during their lives, particularly in times of stress and difficulty. Written by psychiatrist Dr Pablo Martinez, 'Prayer Life: How Our Personality Affects the Way We Pray' explores the complexities of prayer in relation to our personality, covering areas such as Myers Briggs types, neuroticism, depressive personalities and schizophrenia. The book describes the value of prayer as a treatment and support during illness and tackles problems such as concentration difficulties, 'bad thoughts' and self-acceptance, drawing on scientific studies and Judaeo-Christian and Eastern philosophies. read more...

  • The Shock of the Fall

    Reviewed by Nathan Filer       18/02/2014

    The Shock of the Fall is a book which the author, Nathan Filer, originally envisaged in a different format. He had pictured it composed of the materials written on and by the narrator, Matt, such as type-written sheets. Matt suffers from treatment resistant schizophrenia and uses the resources at his Day Centre in Bristol to write his story. Nathan Filer is a psychiatric nurse and his professional experience and his compassion and empathy for his patients shines through in this eloquent and moving account, not only of life with schizophrenia but also of loss and grief. read more...


The opinions expressed here are those of the reviewers, and do not represent the views of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Selection of a book for review here does not mean that the College endorses any of the information, products or views described in that book. The "Buy this book" links lead to external sites, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists does not bear any responsibility for transactions made on those sites.

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