I've recently read this book, and think it's very good.
I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the way in which people use the modern concepts of sanity & inanity , for example to evoke a certain social reaction, or portray certain priorities as the correct ones to have.
The author agrees with many of my concepts and philosophies about sanity and human psychology, so I also found reading this book to be surprisingly empowering , in addition to being uplifting.
As an honest look at the paradox between superficial sanity and profound sanity, and the tenuous grasp people tend to have on only one or the other, if either at all, I think that many people would find it to be very insightful.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Going-Sane-Adam ... 0241142091
There's a nice synopsis in one of the Amazon reviews by someone called ' Fitzcarraldo "eco worrier" ' -
In Going Sane, Adam Phillips skilfully marshals a wide cast from literature and the literature of psychology in order to examine the many headed and currently vague notion of sanity.
How is the term used? Why is the term used? Does sanity encompass madness or exclude it?
Opening with a sceptical voice, he considers ideas such as the misuse of the word by The Party in Orwell's 1984 and Laing's consideration of madness as a rational response to circumstances.
Further on, we're challenged to regard the difficulties of an idea of sane sex and the programmed madness of adolescence.
As the book progresses, Phillips asserts his own voice more strongly, finishing with his idea of a sane life; perhaps how a life might be sane, but at least in how the thing might be recognised.
Even while arguing forcefully and eloquently, Phillips still manages to avoid being over prescriptive; his voice is too secular for that. In any case, he insists (in the introduction) that his ideas are there as a challenge.
If you're up for such a challenge and especially if you're interested in where psychology meets philosophy, then this book is for you.
I think anyone who has ever been labelled insane, or treated as such by others, or who doubts their sanity because of feeling traumatised, isolated, unsupported, terrorised etc.... and thus being unable to maintain a false and acceptable social facade of the sort many others constantly expect socially, would find this to be a very meaningful book which could give them valuable support through showing them a more expansive and meaningful approach to sanity (or the lack of it) than they are likely to be accustomed to encountering in daily life.