A Very Human Ending

A Very Human Ending

How suicide haunts our species

Summary

'I have yet to come away from reading [Bering's] work and not feel considerably better informed than I was minutes before' (Forbes)
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This penetrating analysis aims to demystify a subject that knows no cultural or demographic boundaries.

Why do people want to kill themselves?

Despite the prevalence of suicide in the developed world, it's a question most of us fail to ask. On hearing news of a suicide we are devastated, but overwhelmingly we feel disbelief.

In A Very Human Ending, research psychologist Jesse Bering lifts the lid on this taboo subject, examining the suicidal mindset from the inside out to reveal the subtle tricks the mind can play when we're easy emotional prey. In raising challenging questions Bering tests our contradictory superstitions about the act itself.

Combining cutting-edge research with investigative journalism and first-person testimony, Bering also addresses the history of suicide and its evolutionary inheritance to offer a personal, accessible, yet scientifically sound examination of why we are the only species on earth that deliberately ends its own life.

Reviews

  • Jesse Bering asks the questions no one else dares, he tells truths that others shy away from, and he writes the books that I wish I had written. To me, he is everything a great scientist and communicator should be. Suicide may be an uncomfortable subject yet the escalating numbers of people who take their lives each year means we must make it’s unravelling our priority. I have no doubt this book will have a profound impact on all who read it, and add considerably to our understanding of that self-willed oblivion, whether it lies palpably just beneath our own skin, or the skins of those we love. But perhaps most importantly of all it will help dispel the stigma and shame that so perniciously clings to all suicides.
    Dr Christian Jessen

About the author

Jesse Bering

Jesse Bering is an award-winning science writer specializing in evolutionary psychology and human behavior. His ‘Bering in Mind’ column at Scientific American was named a 2010 Webby Award Honoree by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. His previous books are, The Belief Instinct whichwas included in the American Library Association’s Top 25 Books of the Year.This was followed by a collection of his previously published essays, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? and Perv , a taboo-shattering work igniting discussion and fierce debates, named as a New YorkTimes Editor’s Choice.
A developmental psychologist by training, Bering is a renowned expert in the field ofcognitive science and religion, He began his career at the University of Arkansas, as an Assistant Professor of Psychology from 2002 to 2006. He then served as the Director of the Institute of Cognition and Culture at the Queen’s University, Belfast until 2011. Presently, he is an Associate Professor of Science Communication at the University of Otago, New Zealand.
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