Crazy Like Us: Are Americans Exporting Their Dysfunctions to the Rest of the World?

Crazy Like Us

In this episode of BaerTalk I talk with Ethan Watters about his book Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche. Ethan Watters is an excellent journalist who writes on psychology and culture. He’s respectful of the field of psychology, but he also makes some pretty substantial criticisms of it. He worries that by ignoring cultural particularities and differences, mental health professionals may be hurting the very people they seek to help. In Crazy Like Us, he traces some of the ways the American concept of the psyche and the American approach to psychological illness is having a negative impact on other parts of the world. The book is convincingly argued and super interesting.

I had a great time asking Ethan Watters to unpack some of the ideas in his book. He’s clearly knowledgeable about the things of which he speaks, and he’s also passionate about them. If, after listening to the podcast, you’re interested in learning more, here are couple of accessible, easy to read articles by Ethan:

“The Problem with Psychiatry, the ‘DSM,’ and the Way We Study Mental Illness”

“We Aren’t the World”

At the end of the podcast, Ethan also recommends this book by Joseph Henrich:

The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous

I hope you enjoy the episode, and think about subscribing on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud or wherever you get your podcasts .



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