Reviewed by Kathie Smith

Monkey Mind is the true account of Daniel Smith’s battle with anxiety in his own words. Smith is quick to tell the reader that this is not a self-help book and will not provide the answers for anyone suffering with anxiety; that is not its purpose. What Monkey Mind will do is provide a truly descriptive inside explanation of anxiety. Daniel holds nothing back in order to save his ego. He is brutally honest about the problems and mistakes he made while driven by his anxiety and he is remarkably open with the embarrassments and agony related to his condition.

Smith’s account is a serious look at a serious issue that has been debilitating for him at times. His writing is peppered with medical facts, therapeutic concepts and his particularly quick wit. He opens by explaining the process his mind goes through while he is on a walk. A thought as simple and reasonable as “anxiety makes it impossible to concentrate” leads him down an illogical, unstoppable spiral to the worst case scenario. He describes, both with humor and truth, how he can go “from freeform anxiety to death-by-prostitution in eight short steps.” His candor, knowledge and humor create an honest look at anxiety that is both interesting and informative.

He first realized he had an issue with anxiety while still in his youth. He walks the reader through the painful awkwardness and fear of his college, professional and personal life. Smith shares his attempts at therapy and, perhaps his best and most often used support system – calls to his family members who also deal with extreme anxieties of their own. There are many examples of self-coping methods that have worked with varying success and, ultimately, the method he found that has most helped him overcome his own extreme anxiety in the long term.

Monkey Mind will have fellow sufferers of anxiety nodding their heads with recognition as they identify with Smith’s predicaments. It will also give those without anxiety an entrance into the mind of perfectly logical and intelligent people who can dissolve into a state of severe anxiety with little provocation. The truest values of Monkey Mind are the understanding it can provide for those who do not struggle with anxiety, but are looking for help in finding empathy and compassion, and the hope it can offer others who are fighting to cope with this very real psychological condition.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Kathie is a writer, wife, mother and volunteer living in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Her passion for the written word is fulfilled by creating her own fictional work, freelancing, acting as an adviser to another author, and reading with her six year old daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.