Top critical review
Intentionally withholds information
Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2017
"The Craving Mind" by Judson Brewer includes interesting results from numerous neuroscience and medical/behavioral studies undertaken by the author and others. In his discussion of the research into cravings, the book really shines. As someone who has both taken graduate school-level neuroscience classes, and spent some "time on the cushion" (meditating), it was a fascinating book. However, it was deeply disappointing in one important sense, and unfortunately I am not able to recommend it. The critical problem is that it doesn't fulfill the second half of its title, "How We Can Break Bad Habits." The book begins well and describes the methodology the author used to test mindfulness as an aid to cigarette cessation. He describes the protocol his program used to help the smokers. Great! The entire rest of the book, however, is about research and without practical steps that people can use to conquer their own addictions. Most books of this sort begin with research (building their case for the program they outline), and then they transition to active next steps suggested for the reader. These active next steps never happen. I started wondering if perhaps this book just outlines research and if perhaps the author hasn't formulated practical suggestions for his readers. The author mentions near the end of the book, however, that he DOES have a program. Brewer states that a former businessman met with him and outlined how the author could market the program to more people by starting a company that could help people stop smoking, quit emotional eating, etc., and this program has been out since 2013 (I believe). This book was released in 2017. If you want the practical steps that can really help you, you need to pay a $26/month subscription. If this book were intended to simply outline research in the field, I would've given it five stars. But knowing that he intentionally withholds his help from the readers of this book is something I find unethical. He offers readers nothing concrete they can do other than modify his smoking cessation program to their addiction. A better title would be: "The Craving Mind: ...Why We Get Hooked and How You Can Pay My Company $26/Month to Help You Break Bad Habits."
Furthermore, as an appendix to the book, the author mentions an ancient Buddhist text that defines character types with the intent to know what their individual struggles will be with respect to meditation and best be able to tailor their meditation training accordingly. The author has included a quiz you can take to see what your personality type is. Cool! Who doesn't love a good quiz?! But once the quiz is over and you have your results, that's the end of the book. Literally. There is no discussion AT ALL of what meditation struggles each personality type will have, or any specific tips. Why even include the quiz if he's not going to say what the results of the quiz mean? He doesn't even suggest a book or other resource that could give you the information.
The author comes across as a genuinely caring human being, and it is puzzling to me that he doesn't offer people the help he's spent his adult life researching. I wish he would've at least given readers a list of suggested books or internet resources that could give people practical suggestions.
P.S. I did not purchase the audiobook, but listened to it through an excellent (and free) program through my local library called "Hoopla." This is why Amazon doesn't show it as a "verified purchase."