Anna Lembke

In this fascinating—and at times, both chilling and hopeful—book, Dr. Anna Lembke (a professor of psychiatry at Stanford)—makes the convincing argument that “we are essentially titillating ourselves to death.” What she means is that in this age of plenty, we are overdoing pleasure—with addictions not just to traditional vices like drugs and alcohol, but also to shopping, social media, and more—which is changing the chemistry of our brains. Our brains are being flooded with dopamine, the “feel-good hormone.” But there is a downside: we always want more, and often, we can no longer find enough in the simpler pleasures of a beautiful view or good meal with a friend. The result is that in our constant pursuit of pleasure, we cause ourselves pain through disconnection and apathy.