My Age of Anxiety is a nonfiction book that discusses the history, psychology, and philosophy of anxiety while also allowing readers to have a look at the author, Scott Stossel’s, own experiences with anxiety. It presents information on famous people who suffered from anxiety, from sports players to authors to psychologists. It also presents information on how different psychologists and scientists worked on treating anxiety through medicinal and non-medicinal ways over the years and how people’s views on anxiety has changed.
I first heard about My Age of Anxiety when one of my husband’s aunts shared the book on facebook. After reading over the synopsis, I was intrigued mostly because I suffer from anxiety (although not as bad as the author’s) and thought it was interesting that someone wrote a book on the history and psychology of it.
It took me quite a while to read this one. It’s not too long, only 416 pages, but the content is heavy and a lot to take in with all the different people and medicines and treatments and theories listed. It kind of reminded me of when I was in school and having to read through a psychology or history text book, although this book was able to keep my attention much longer than text books usually do. I found the information presented interesting and informative (although I will admit to dozing off while reading at some points. If you’re not used to reading nonfiction, do not read this when you already feel tired). However, I think my favorite parts were when Stossel talked about his own experiences with anxiety or anxiety experienced by famous people in history. Those parts of the book were not so information heavy and focused more on a story, which I personally found easier to get through. Not only did those scenes make the book relatable, but I enjoyed reading about the experiences people like Charles Darwin and Freud had with anxiety and how it shaped their work and possibly even their impacts on history.
Overall, I’m definitely going to have to give this another read (and then maybe even another after that) to allow my brain to soak up some more information presented. This is a great read for a wide range of people, whether you have anxiety, know someone with anxiety, or are just interested in history or psychology.