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Paranoia Switch Hardcover – Sep 13 2007


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Summer Clearance on Books Books That Make You Think





Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fsg Adult (Sept. 13 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374229996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374229993
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.1 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #598,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Two sections are illuminating in this slight discussion of how 9/11, and political manipulation of that event, has made Americans paranoid. In one, psychologist Stout (The Myth of Sanity) provides neurological and psychodynamic perspectives on trauma. In the other, she looks at paranoid moments in American history (though, curiously, without any mention of Richard Hofstadter's seminal book on that subject) and at the limbic wars being waged by fear-mongering political leaders. Stout also helpfully includes 10 ways to recognize such manipulators of our anxiety: for example,Fear brokers are secretive, and are certain that other people, too, are keeping dangerous secrets. But Stout devotes far more space to collective trauma than to the personal kind, in which she has professional expertise, assuming a unified national consciousness; she speaks in overly broad terms about what we feel, about our paranoia and about what you believe (You were red or you were blue). Finally, her suggestions for how we can reclaim our courage—which boil down to [s]triving to be calmer, more aware, and more rational—are too vague to be helpful. (Sept.)
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Review

Praise for The Sociopath Next Door
The Sociopath Next Door is a chillingly accurate portrayal of evil–the decent person’s guide to indecency. Martha Stout draws upon sound scientific data and clinical experience and her writing is graceful and compelling.”
—Jonathan Kellerman, author of Therapy, When the Bough Breaks, and Monster.

“Stout’s portraits make a striking impact and readers with unpleasant neighbors or colleagues may find themselves paying close attention to her sociopathic-behavior checklist and suggested coping strategies. Deeply thought-provoking and unexpectedly lyrical.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harrison Koehli TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 29 2007
Format: Hardcover
Martha Stout's newest book, The Paranoia Switch, is a welcome addition to the new and growing science of ponerology: the study of the root causes and genesis of evil, on both the social and interpersonal levels.

A recurring theme of Stout's book is the similarity in essence (but not scope) of a battered spouse and a country, battered by terror and paranoia, under the sway of a psychologically deviant leader. Stout not only lists the character traits to watch out for in leaders, but also the steps through which a society cycles between stages of limbic warfare.

Traumatic events, like terrorism, overload our limbic system. The heightened response of our amygdala, which registers the emotional significance of the event, leads to a decreased response in the hippocampus, which usually prioritizes information and allows the higher brain centers to create coherent memories.

So, traumatic events do not get integrated by the higher brain centers, but instead leave us with nonintegrated fragments of memory: isolated images and sensations. These memories can then be "triggered" by similar images. In this way, ruthless and conscienceless leaders can keep us in a state of vulnerable paranoia.

They stage or co-opt national catastrophes in order to "save" their public, in much the same way that an abuser will beat his wife, only to "save" her from everyone else around her. The logic is twisted, but the phenomenon of "battered wife syndrome" works remarkably well for human predators.

In a time of crisis, populations turn to authoritarian leaders, to their own detriment. Only a knowledge of terrorism's root purposes and causes can protect us from its effects. When fearmongers like the American government leaders (Republican and Democrat) exploit terror, the "terrorists" win. And often, the terrorists are the very people who exploit terror.
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By ZSky on Nov. 4 2007
Format: Hardcover
A month ago, I have obtained this new book by Martha Stout, Ph.D, while browsing a local bookstore and this book has just been released this month. It was an interesting timing because this book has addressed how the traumatized event of 9/11 affected the American minds and how these minds were 'locked' on fear. By using her psychological and neuro-psychological research on fear and terror, Martha Stout wrote a very insightful book. Her work brings the reader to understand the nature of fear and terror, and how it was done to one's mind. There are nine chapters in this book, but it is composed of four parts: a personal struggle with fear, the phenomenon of terrorism, protection against future fear, and a new hope. Throughout The Paranoia Switch, there is an understanding about how politician leaders used people's fear by looking what are terrorism, limbic wars, and fear brokers.

We often hear this word, "terrorism," daily in our lives. We hear it on the radio, watch it on the news, read it in the newspapers, and we would feel the fear when this word is mentioned everywhere we go. In her book, Stout defined terrorism as "violence committed with the primary goal of manipulating the minds of the surviving population" (p. 27). So, why has terrorism becomes massive on global scale? It is because our fears are what fuels terrorism and our leaders are using our fears for their own selfish reasons. It is important for one to know, from reading this book, that terrorism does not always work unless it affects our minds.

Stout pointed out that the United States was a 'habituated' country until that morning of September 11, 2001. It was not 'used' to being exposed to acts of terrorism as other countries have had done, and it has experienced a profound shock.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Another Wonderful Gift from the Author of THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR Oct. 5 2007
By D.H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Every American should read THE PARANOIA SWITCH as soon as possible. It will change the way you think about yourself and the country you live in. The writing is extremely beautiful, as you would expect from a book by Martha Stout, and the pages fly by because they're fascinating and because of the stories, but that's not really why everyone should read it. You should read it because if we all did, we might really be able to get our country back. And also our "selves."
The book begins with descriptions of just how terrified and full of grief everyone was right after September 11, 2001. You think you know this already, but when you see the actual descriptions and numbers, it's mind-blowing. After this, there's a test you can give yourself in the privacy of your own home to see how anxious you yourself are right now.
Then there's a chapter on how terrorism really works, told from a psychologist's point of view. This is a brand new way for most of us to think about terrorism.
Most of the rest of the book is about the unethical "fear politics" that have gone on in the United States since the terrorist attack in 2001. Dr. Stout describes in layman's language how terror affects the brain itself, how psychological trauma places a "paranoia switch" in our brains which sits there invisibly until something or SOMEONE pushes it. Then she discusses the sort of politician (the "fear broker") who would stoop low enough to use our fears to increase his own power. She discusses several situations from American history where this has happened, the KKK for example, and Joseph McCarthy and the U.S. Senate hearings. It's eye opening to see all the similarities between those chapters in our history and what's happening right now and to relate all that to the study of the brain.
Then most important of all, the book gives a list of ten characteristics of politicians and leaders who are "fear brokers" so that we can learn to recognize them when we see them on our televisions or elsewhere. Did you know for example that fear politicians have a different way of using pronouns from the way "moral leaders" use pronouns? There are many, many other danger signs discussed in the book that you can actually learn to recognize.
I can imagine the difficult corner the author was in when she wrote THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR, which is also a wonderful book. In that book she talks about how sociopaths (people who have no conscience) can reach very high levels in the society and in government, but I'm sure it wasn't possible for her to name names. Now in THE PARANOIA SWITCH, it's a lot clearer what she meant even though she doesn't use the same word (sociopath).
If all you're interested in is a book that talks about your personal life, your circle of friends, or help deciding if your boyfriend/girlfriend is nuts, then you're not someone who can fully appreciate THE PARANOIA SWITCH. If you want to read something new age about sending positive energy to the White House, then maybe get a different book. But if you want to read about bigger issues and REAL issues such as the real brain and the real condition of our government, please read THE PARANOIA SWITCH. To go along with the five stars, I'd like to give it a large banner that says IMPORTANT. MUST READ.
The author talks about courage in this book and tells good people how they can get their courage back. In my opinion, it took a lot of courage to write this book in the first place about the so-called leaders who are using our fear after 9/11 to try to control us. She takes the masks off some powerful people who definitely don't like to have their masks taken off. But it's only when we can see something clearly that we stand a chance of dealing with it. Many thanks to Dr. Stout.
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Limbic Warfare and the Rise of American Fascism Oct. 29 2007
By Harrison Koehli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Martha Stout's newest book, The Paranoia Switch, is a welcome addition to the new and growing science of ponerology: the study of the root causes and genesis of evil, on both the social and interpersonal levels.

A recurring theme of Stout's book is the similarity in essence (but not scope) of a battered spouse and a country, battered by terror and paranoia, under the sway of a psychologically deviant leader. Stout not only lists the character traits to watch out for in leaders, but also the steps through which a society cycles between stages of limbic warfare.

Traumatic events, like terrorism, overload our limbic system. The heightened response of our amygdala, which registers the emotional significance of the event, leads to a decreased response in the hippocampus, which usually prioritizes information and allows the higher brain centers to create coherent memories.

So, traumatic events do not get integrated by the higher brain centers, but instead leave us with nonintegrated fragments of memory: isolated images and sensations. These memories can then be "triggered" by similar images. In this way, ruthless and conscienceless leaders can keep us in a state of vulnerable paranoia.

They stage or co-opt national catastrophes in order to "save" their public, in much the same way that an abuser will beat his wife, only to "save" her from everyone else around her. The logic is twisted, but the phenomenon of "battered wife syndrome" works remarkably well for human predators.

In a time of crisis, populations turn to authoritarian leaders, to their own detriment. Only a knowledge of terrorism's root purposes and causes can protect us from its effects. When fearmongers like the American government leaders (Republican and Democrat) exploit terror, the "terrorists" win. And often, the terrorists are the very people who exploit terror.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Save your Mind...Read this book Nov. 9 2007
By Laurie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a gift. The insight it brings cannot come at a better time. The truths spelled out so clearly in Martha Stout's most recent book need to be understood by us all, before it is too late.

The 'Paranoia Switch...' gives an understanding of the manipulations of our 'fear broker' politicians. How they perpetuate the fear of an imagined enemy to persuade us to follow their private agendas, while convincing us that it is for our own good, for our protection and to keep us safe from the enemy 'out there'.

She spells out how we can 'say NO to FEAR', say no to psychological manipulation and protect our God given ability for critical thought from the fearmongers of our government and the terrorists who exploit fear to the detriment of our well-being.

A guide book in how we can reclaim our courage.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Free your mind, and the rest will follow... Oct. 8 2007
By Gene Taft - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Building on two critically acclaimed books--The Sociopath Next Door, and The Myth of Sanity--THE PARANOIA SWITCH is Dr. Stout's latest groundbreaking look at the mental and emotional factors that drive people to do and feel the things they do.

Through her books, Dr. Stout provides fascinating insight into popular psychology, but it is important to remember that her theories are based on a stellar professional resume including over twenty-five years of teaching at Harvard Medical School and practicing clinical psychology.

The sixth anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone, but the memory of that horrible day lingers on in our brains. But does the memory linger on simply because of the severity of the mental trauma or because our leaders want us to remember it so they can more easily manipulate us?

According to THE PARANOIA SWITCH, the answer is a little of both.

The after effects of 9/11 are ingrained into our brains, and in fact, that trauma has changed our brains and semipermanently flipped on our own personal paranoia switches. But perhaps worst of all, the horror of that tragic day has been and will continue to be used by political fear brokers to control us and to bend us to their will.

Fight back! Free yourself!! Read THE PARANOIA SWITCH!!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Terror Rewires Our Brains Oct. 15 2008
By Kelly Jadon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
From: [...]
Author & Book Views On A Healthy Life!

Book Review: The Paranoia Swithch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) by Martha Stout, Ph.D.

Do you remember 9/11? Odds are you do. You probably recall exactly what you were doing and where you were when the news of the Twin Towers reached your ears. At the time, I was filling in for my child's elementary school teacher who was home sick. By background, I am a teacher; my concern of course was for the children. After having a quick conference in the hallway, and because details of the attacks were sketchy at 10 AM for those of us without access to current news, the fourth grade instructors decided not to explain what was happening to the pupils, and rather carry on as usual. The kids caught on though. They knew something was up as child after child was called down to the office for "early dismissal." By 1 PM the majority of the student body had been excused, and even I was told that I wasn't needed any longer. Where did we all go? Home--to our television sets.

Psychotherapist Martha Stout, Ph.D., author of The Paranoia Switch, writes that 9/11 officially traumatized nearly all of us. "9/11 grabbed us by the throat like nothing else. It changed us emotionally, behaviorally, spiritually. It caused people of conscience to fear for the future of the whole human world." After researching the issue, Dr. Stout found a Pew Research Center survey which stated that six out of ten men and eight out of ten women felt depressed. The New England Journal of Medicine summarized that within three to five days after the terror plot occurred, "44% of ordinary Americans reported at least one clinical symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms of PTSD include shattered self-confidence, exaggerated startle responses, panic attacks, impaired concentration, nightmares, and dissociative reactions. Many of us, including our children, were affected because we saw the glued-to graphic television coverage either during the actual event or shortly thereafter, over and over. The traumatic event replayed itself continuously in our minds as well.

FEMA asserts that terrorism is used to create fear, get immediate publicity of a cause, and convince citizens that their government is powerless in the prevention of terror. We were frightfully afraid on 9-11. Dr. Stout writes, "Fear is more widely destructive than anything we can be afraid of. Fear makes us do things we would not otherwise do. And fear is contagious."

Has fear, brought on by the terror of 9/11 changed us, permanently? Some studies show that it has. The Endocrine Society released a report stating that women who were pregnant and present during the World Trade Center collapse passed on markers of PTSD to their babies. More recently, Archives of General Psychiatry published a 3-year national study following up the 9/11 attacks, showing that, "Acute stress responses to the 9/11 attacks were associated with a 53% increased incidence of cardiovascular ailments over the 3 subsequent years." Psychologically, we are still being challenged. The terror of 9/11 has rewired our brains.

Dr. Stout believes that, "...for whatever reason, we are hardwired to be most fearful of harm when it threatens to occur maliciously, at the hands of our fellow human beings, and this special variety of fear is the most contagious of all." Together we, as a nation, were scared. Together, we developed a paranoia of the unknown. Do you take a closer look at fellow passengers in the terminal or on the plane? Is international news and its relationship to the United States more of a priority now? Does a sounding alarm evoke a physical response from you? What flips your paranoia switch?

5 Stars


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