Sane New World – Book Review – the layman manual for the mind

Ruby Wax

Book: Sane New World: Taming the Mind by Ruby Wax

Places to Buy: Amazon, Kindle, Audible, iBooks

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

About the book

We are born without a manual for the mind and society spend millions of dollars visiting shrinks and taking medication without understanding the way the mind works. If there was a manual for the mind, would you read it?

Ruby Wax – Comedian, writer, actress and mental health campaigner explains how our mind can threaten our sanity.

During her own journey with depression / anxiety disorders, she finds herself completing her masters from Oxford in mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy where she learns about psychology and neuroscience. This filled with her crazy mind adventures as a celebrity whilst battling mental illness.

Her message for us to overcome our mental madness is if we need to understand how our brains work, rewire our thinking and find calm in a frenetic world. This is a manual to help you become the master of your mind and not the slave.

“…the idea is to relate to thoughts as merely brain events rather that absolute truths. Thoughts are not who you are, they are habitual patterns in the mind nothing more and as soon as you see them that way, they lose their sting..”

My Review

I was about to abandoned this after listening to the first 30% of this novel but, I persisted and lucky I did. If you stick past all the sarcasm and poor jokes, Ruby eventually does a great job of explaining how the human mind works.

Some of the jokes are funny and specially to lighten the mood on a disaster mental health story, but unfortunately others may leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Her experience in psychology and neuroscience has paid off as she could clearly explain some difficult theories such as emotions, brain chemistry and therapies associated with mental illness in layman’s terms. Learning terminology that was explained, really help me understand the workings of the mind.

She shows some great techniques to manage the monkey mind and using CBT with mindfulness practices. She delves into step by step mindfulness techniques that can be used to help many situations. There are also stories of other and how they manage in tough situations followed by heaps of studies that show the benefits of these techniques.

This is a must read if anyone who is dealing or has family/friends with depression and anxiety. You get the inside view, the voice in the head and silly antics the mind conjures when people suffer from these disorders.

I found it difficult to relate to her personal life story, but she does a fabulous job of explaining the mind talk to a person who is suffering from mental illness. I think many will relate to this and will enjoy her descriptions.

“..thoughts aren’t facts. They are constantly changing patterns..”

More about Ruby Wax

Ruby is American born but residing in the UK. She has a history of being in front of the camera with experience in acting, comedy and television host.

As a role model for mental illness, her TED Talk uses energy and alternative humour to why we should put an end to the stigma of mental illness.


 Have you read it? What’s your feedback on the book. Please leave a comment below and share.

18 Comments on Sane New World – Book Review – the layman manual for the mind

  1. This looks like an interesting read. I like when celebrities come out and advocate for mental health treatment and therapy – the more stigma is removed, the more people will get help.

  2. Hi Vince,
    Thanks for the review! A friend had recommended this book to me, but I still haven’t gotten around to checking it out yet. It’s always interesting to hear someone’s perspective who both experienced and studied the wild and interesting things that can go on in our minds, especially when done with a bit of humor. Looking forward to checking out the rest of your site!

  3. Hello Vince. Nice article. There are definitely people who struggle with OCD that could really use this. CBT is a goo method for treating anxiety disorders. Have you also heard of ERP and ACT treatments?

    • Hey Dan, thanks for your feedback.
      I have heard of ERP but not ACT. ERP is very effective from what I’ve heard but can be difficult for some facing fears like phobias. I’ll be checking out ACT soon. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I too believe mental illness should be looked at as something that’s not just “those people”. It can happen to anyone at any age due to trauma or illness so we all need to be careful in how we treat others and label those who need support. It really is a societal problem. This looks like a good read.

  5. Thanks for the review. I love it when celebrities talk about their personal experiences with mental health issues. I think it certainly helps remove some of the stigma and shame around it.

    I’ve always like ruby wax, (and her lame jokes)…I’ll definitely be giving this book a go. Thanks for the Review!

  6. I think ruby wax is hilarious but I didn’t realise the problems she had, ok, she seems a bit nuts but I never thought she had problems like that. I’ll have to read this and ill let you know what thought of it

  7. interesting article. I really enjoyed reading your review. I have never read the book myself. I will definitely have to check it out. The stigma associated with mental illess is not as bad as other countries. It is great to see someone putting herself out in the public and offers to help people with mental illness.

  8. I 100% agree with the book and your review ! How we react to “brain events” is the answer. We can’t let these events control us ever. People need to read this book and along with your strategic musical choices allow us to calm down. I would add certain scents, like lavender around your rooms to help you stay calm. Great review ! Thank you !

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