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Publisher's Summary

All around us people are looking at their phones too much, eating too much, drinking too much. Our world is addicted to fleeting distracting pleasures that get us nowhere. Dr Anna Lembke provides a clear way back to a balanced life.

This audiobook is about pleasure. It's also about pain. Most importantly, it's about how to find the delicate balance between the two, and why now more than ever finding balance is essential. We're living in a time of unprecedented access to high-reward, high-dopamine stimuli: drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, Facebooking, Instagramming, YouTubing, tweeting.... The increased numbers, variety and potency are staggering. The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation. As such, we've all become vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption.

In Dopamine Nation, Dr. Anna Lembke, psychiatrist and author, explores the exciting new scientific discoveries that explain why the relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain...and what to do about it. Condensing complex neuroscience into easy-to-understand metaphors, Lembke illustrates how finding contentment and connectedness means keeping dopamine in check. The lived experiences of her patients are the gripping fabric of her narrative. Their riveting stories of suffering and redemption give us all hope for managing our consumption and transforming our lives. In essence, Dopamine Nation shows that the secret to finding balance is combining the science of desire with the wisdom of recovery.

©2021 Anna Lembke (P)2021 Penguin Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Dr Anna Lembke is a whiz on why we get hooked on things - and how we can enjoy pleasurable things in healthier doses." (The Guardian)

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What listeners say about Dopamine Nation

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An excellent deep dive into addiction and the roles dopamine plays

A compelling listen, with real life insight at times unnerving but excellent in assisting the storytelling. Amazingly valuable book. A must read or listen!

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Profile Image for Dejan Markovic
  • Dejan Markovic
  • 10-06-21

A htealthy read

The author is notably empathetic and instills self-belief in the reader by assuring us that not only are we capable of enduring the initial stress of abstinence, but also can potentially find value and joy in the process itself, rather than just focusing on the extrinsic end goal.

The delivery is patient, concise and, unlike the vast majority of modern authors, spares us that sense of urgency that the self-help cult always insists on. She does that by also avoiding superlatives, exclusive and categorical statements.

There's a refreshing perspective on relapses, wherein she makes them an opportunity to learn right then, rather than when we've regained clarity and exited hypofrontality, so to speak...but, it does stray on the lenient side at times and leaves room for justifying a relapse if the reader comes across a certain chapter during a so-called open crisis.
E.g. Having listened to about half of the book, I paused to binge a bit of that toxic youtube shorts vortex, which turned into four hours...when I realized it, not only did I snap out, but I also felt a kind of self-compassion, undoubtedly instilled into me by the book...the next evening while listening to the book, I felt the urge to go in youtube, paused the book and just...witnessed the urge...it was unpleasant to the point of making me dizzy and nauseous..but there was still that one synapse, that one axon in my pfc goin "I'm stronger thsn this jedi mind trick"...and I was.

The neuroanatimical breakdown is just enough to reinforce the explanation of some phenomena, but not too arduous with the nomenclature...in fact, I was surprised she didn't use the term hedonic adaptation when talking about pain or hypofrontality when talking about making decisions with our limbic system. I know that just knowing these two terms has helped me immensely, so I'd say there's an opportunity to just insert those in the next edition.

I could go on, but..it's just a wonderfully insightful book, quitr balanaced and what I like the most is it doesn't promise to change your life. Also, kudos for the self-disclosure...that really bridges the typical "I'm a shrink, therefore I'm normal and you're not, so listen up" elitist propensity that some psychoanalysts, psychiatrists and neyroscientists have.

I've offered to translate this book into Serbian, but haven't heard from the publisher yet...fingers crossed. The rate is preposterously low, but I know I'd do a great job and would enjoy the process.

Sorry for such an extensive review, it's just that the quality of the book is multilayered.

Oh yeah, perhaps most importantly - rather than focusing on the benefits of getting help from others, fiiiinally an author that emphasises our own capacity to just, pathetic as it may sound, love our past, present and future self enough to not resort to escapism...and it also makes us aware of how gradual and non-linear the process of recovery can be, thus equipping us with the insight crucial for those bad days. It feels like she's right here yslking ti me, rather than just me reading a very good book. I wish I could convey that when writing.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Nabil Alhusail
  • 11-22-21

unskippable fluff

I'm at the first useful chapter (ch4) and she's going into unnecessary details of what her room looks like

I get that it's an attempt at immersion, but give me a way to skip without losing the important stuff

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  • Mark Keenan
  • 11-18-21

Decent listen - not mind blowing

Interesting listen but nothing mind blowing.
No direct, practical takeaways that I was expecting might be the case.

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  • owevakas
  • 01-04-22

Worthwhile

A book about addiction for a general audience, this is an well-paced and interesting listen. Using a range of examples, it sets out some broad principles that the author has found useful in tackling addiction and compulsive behaviour in herself and her patients. Most listeners will be able to glean something relevant to them. The author’s narration is good.

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  • Tanya Love
  • 12-08-21

Changed my thinking by chapter 5!

Really good, loved the honesty - felt connected with the author over extreme life experiences, including own! Not suitable for younger people as I feel it could give unhelpful ideas, but still interesting to hear! Not for the squeamish!

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  • George Penn
  • 11-01-21

useful tips and very interesting

fantastic book and makes me feel motivating. great insight into how the brain works and how we can all find a wee bit of balance.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-21-22

Authentic, wise, empathetic

Shocking and sobering when we hear secrets so gently exposed. Especially our own. Who knew?

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-15-22

Very informative in an easy to hear way

Very happy to have chosen this as a first listen for a new year. A subject close to my heart through which I have lost very dear people in my life, both dead and living. It explains with great examples some of the essential functions of the brain and scientific discoveries which should be accessible to all from a young age and I hope shall help humanity re-balance itself.

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  • Joyce
  • 01-08-22

A very insightful work on addictions

I really found listening to this book helpful to understand addictions and how we are all susceptible to them. She shares stories from her therapy patients which provides an insight into the human struggle of addiction, and todays battle with easy access to so much and how this is hurting us. I’d highly recommend this book to everyone whether you have addictions or not, and we all do to be honest! The narration was very good too and keep me engaged. I will be listening to this again in a few months.

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  • Yvonne W
  • 01-02-22

A really interesting read.Important topic.

An interesting slant on a modern day phenomenon. The owners own story adds the personal insight .

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-02-21

meh

She is talking about a really interesting topic but I can help but think some parts are really dramatised and can't really get behind her supporting the war on drugs.

Probably good for beginners on the topic but as a health professional myself and friends with two recovering drug addicts this book doesn't nearly hit the spot for me.

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  • Ashleigh
  • 11-28-21

Interesting read!

Anna does a great job of narrating her book. It is obvious that she is passionate about her work, patients and just humans in general. I learnt a lot, however, there were still some topics I didn't fully understand (not surprising considering I'm no psychologist). Despite this, I really enjoyed the book. Worth the read!

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  • JB
  • 11-23-21

Somewhat biased view of addiction

Unfortunately, I felt like the book was biased - it comes across as a collection of research and anecdotes that support the author's perception of addictions. The author came across as a heavy proponent of self-agency and free will while disregarding the effects of personal histories. Also, her arguments felt unbalanced, There was a heavy reliance on the biological - psychological (to be precise the notion of personal responsibility) dichotomy, while the social aspects have been somewhat disregarded.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-17-21

Interesting

A good book for anyone who finds themselves with addictions, not only hard drugs but seemingly simpler things in life like sugar and caffeine.
Also for people interested in psychology and personal development.
The chapters about the equilibrium between pain and pleasure are particularly informative.
My only complaint would be that when the author/narrator puts on a male’s voice to do a reenactment it’s always in the wimpiest tone possible.
I do recommend the book. It’s a very good listen.

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  • Tim Gayton
  • 01-16-22

Immensely interesting, and complimenting narration

I was first exposed to Anna Lembke on the Andrew Huberman podcast, which was a fascinating episode. This increased my appetite for more of Anna's work and Dopamine Nation quickly filled that void.
This book contains such incredible insights into her research into dopamine, enhanced by the unique offerings through the first hand accounts of her clients. As well as some of Anna's own odd addictions, increased my awareness to the realm of dopamine. The accounts and research relating to drugs was confronting, and understanding these unknown outcomes relating to drugs, alcohol and a unique set of other addictions, was immensely interesting. However, the applied mechanisms by the clients in their efforts to overcome their various addictions, were positive and pleasing to understand.
This was an immensely informative, well written, and in this case, well narrated book and I think anyone with, or effected closely by people with addictions, will find numerous insights from this book and Anna's research.
One standout component was the theme of time. This was how time underpins and dramatically effects those with substance and addiction problems. Consequently, inhibiting their ability to delay gratification, by being not interested in long term rewards, but a desire to take a short term, less beneficial ones. This was relatable but also hugely alarming, and similar style anecdotes are peppered throughout to ensure a compelling read
More than likely, I will return for another listen in 2022, but I loved being exposed intially on the Huberman podcast, and this book really was the showpiece from that episode.
Some standout highlights:
'The internet promotes compulsive over consumption not merely by providing increased access to drugs old and new but also suggesting behaviours that otherwise may never have occurred to us.'
'Human beings are social animals when we see others acting in certain ways online those behaviours seem normal because other people are doing them.'
'One form of self binding is to create literal physical barriers, and or geographical distance between ourselves and our drug of choice. This
allows your current self to “bind” your future self to the course you want, and prevents you from losing your way when your willpower wanes.'

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  • Chloe Choi
  • 12-08-21

Gets better as you listen

I found this book incredible relatable and eye opening. Anna does an amazing job getting her message across in empathetic and fun stories. I’ve found Anna through the Huberman Podcasts and am so glad I purchased this book - it has been life changing in how I view the world. Thank you Anna.

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  • Sy Xinh Le
  • 10-02-21

change life for anyone who is living

change life for anyone who is living under the earth planet
it is real storyies

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lorena
  • 01-21-22

Hard

It is hard to hear so related stories, and great to hear the overcoming!

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  • Fiona B.
  • 01-14-22

Must read to understand people in 21st century

Such a delightful insight into people and their vices. We are all the same

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-21-21

Full of great information

loved the book I really took a lot out of the information provided and highly recommend