How to Stay Sane Book Summary - How to Stay Sane Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

How to Stay Sane summary

Philippa Perry

Simple ways to keep a lid on your stress

4.3 (123 ratings)
15 mins
Table of Contents

    How to Stay Sane
    summarized in 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Your emotional right brain trumps your logical left brain when making decisions in life.

    You might think of yourself as a reasonable person who makes fairly logical decisions. Yet this perception is mostly an illusion!

    We’re not as reasonable as we might think we are, as we’re mostly ruled by our right brain, the home of human emotion and instinct.

    At the age of two, the brain’s right side, as it develops, becomes more active than the left side. It’s in this right brain that your personality is formed, guided by cues from your environment.

    When we’re young, our social environment is largely made up of our main caregivers. So your personality, in terms of whom you trust and with whom you bond emotionally, is formed early on based on these social surroundings.

    The brain’s left side, home to language, logic and reason, develops mostly from around age three. By this time, however, it’s long in the shadow of the right in terms of influence. This is why it’s so hard to overcome strong emotion with cold logic – your right brain remains dominant.

    Why then do we think we are inherently reasonable creatures? Well, it’s because the left brain essentially “tricks” us into thinking this way.

    When our right brain makes an emotional decision, our left brain in retrospect comes up with a reason that makes the decision seem logical. This process is called post-rationalization.

    Neuropsychologist Roger Sperry conducted an experiment in which he triggered the command to “walk” in a subject’s right brain, in a way so that the left brain was unaware.

    Interestingly, the subjects walked when instructed. Yet when asked why they decided to walk, they came up with random reasons, such as wanting to get a drink of water or stretch. The subjects weren’t lying, of course – they believed the justification offered by their left brains!

    So now you know that how you reason may not be totally reliable, given the relationship between your right and left brains. Let’s examine in this context then why we act the way we do in stressful situations.

    Want to see all full key ideas from How to Stay Sane?

    Key ideas in How to Stay Sane

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is How to Stay Sane about?

    In How to Stay Sane (2012), British psychotherapist and author Philippa Perry shows you how to better nurture relationships while using self-observation, “positive” stress and the power of stories to achieve and maintain your mental health.

    Best quote from How to Stay Sane

    The unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates

    —Philippa Perry
    example alt text

    Who should read How to Stay Sane?

    • Anyone concerned about their mental health
    • People interested in psychology and counseling
    • Anyone looking for ways to cope amid tough times

    About the Author

    Philippa Perry is a psychotherapist and author. She wrote the graphic novel Couch Fiction, and contributes to The Guardian and The Observer, as well as the magazine Psychologies.

    Categories with How to Stay Sane

    Books like How to Stay Sane

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial