A Mind Unraveled

A Mind Unraveled

The compelling story of an acclaimed journalist and New York Times bestselling author's ongoing struggle with epilepsy--his torturous decision to keep his condition a secret to avoid discrimination, and his ensuing decades-long battle to not only survive, but to thrive.As a college freshman, Kurt Eichenwald awoke one night on the floor of his dorm room, confused and in pai...

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Title:A Mind Unraveled
Author:Kurt Eichenwald
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A Mind Unraveled Reviews

  • C

    I couldn’t stop reading. Eichenwald’s memoir is a powerful and riveting story of how he fought for what was right—the right to have good doctors, the right for a job that was inclusive of him and believed in what he could do, and the right to live as normal of a life as possible. The story begins as Eichenwald is diagnosed with epilepsy during his freshman year of college. After being told by an awful doctor that he should restrict his goals, he is continually misdiagnosed other doctors and almo

    I couldn’t stop reading. Eichenwald’s memoir is a powerful and riveting story of how he fought for what was right—the right to have good doctors, the right for a job that was inclusive of him and believed in what he could do, and the right to live as normal of a life as possible. The story begins as Eichenwald is diagnosed with epilepsy during his freshman year of college. After being told by an awful doctor that he should restrict his goals, he is continually misdiagnosed other doctors and almost dies due to the drug toxicity. After this moment, he finds Dr. Naarden, a wonderful neurologist who tells him that he can do whatever he wants and that epilepsy does not have to control his life. In the midst of dealing with incompetent doctors, Eichenwald is thrown out of Swarthmore and upon graduation is discriminated against at his job. Additionally, Eichenwald struggles to obtain health insurance due to his condition and is unable to maintain the job he truly loves due to needing insurance to cover his medical expenses. In the midst of all of this, he does not let anything stop him. He does all of the things that the first neurologist told him he couldn’t do. Eventually while working as a copy boy for The New York Times, he begins his career in reporting and after some time becomes successful as an investigative reporter and has a family of his own.

    As a premed student, I was shocked and embarrassed by the lack of bedside manner and treatment given to Eichenwald. It’s so easy to think that being told to be empathetic is something we know and are supposed to do in healthcare, but over and over again, as in Eichenwald’s case, we see medical professionals not seeing the person, but seeing the condition instead. And we can’t pretend that this happened 30 years ago and cannot happen again. I remember reading an article recently about some schools that are alleged to have convinced students with mental illness to take a semester off and are given more hassles when they attempt to return. And even though I don’t have a chronic condition, I can name times I went into the doctor’s office and was not listened to, or was told terms I did not understand, or was looked at like a spectacle and not a human being.

    As I said, as soon as I began, I could not stop reading this book. I’m not sure if it was because I love reading stories of how people succeed against adversity, or that as a medically-minded person I was interested in learning about someone’s life with epilepsy. However, I must say that this memoir is a fantastic look at a successful reporter's life who let nothing get in the way of what he desired. Because of this memoir, I desire to be a better doctor and I hope that other healthcare providers who read this become better clinicians who treat people well. Moreover, I hope that everyone who reads this book is kinder to people who have challenges in life. I am also more informed about epilepsy and will make it a point to shut down ignorance. And above all else, I’ve learned about the resilience of the human spirit. As Eichenwald states at the beginning, he was given a set of cards in his life, and he played them well. Very well.

    Thank you Ballantine Books and Kurt Eichenwald for offering this book giveaway!

  • Cindy

    Exceptionally well written memoir that completely held my interest. It’s the story of one young man’s diagnosis of epilepsy in the late 70s. I often find the details in a memoir tedious but this author found the exact right balance. An epilepsy diagnosis is horrible but I had forgotten what a terrible stigma was associated with it in the past and I hadn’t known how hard it often was to get the right diagnosis. This author’s trials and tribulations were way beyond horrible and at times it is hard

    Exceptionally well written memoir that completely held my interest. It’s the story of one young man’s diagnosis of epilepsy in the late 70s. I often find the details in a memoir tedious but this author found the exact right balance. An epilepsy diagnosis is horrible but I had forgotten what a terrible stigma was associated with it in the past and I hadn’t known how hard it often was to get the right diagnosis. This author’s trials and tribulations were way beyond horrible and at times it is hard to read but the lessons in persistence and resilience are well worth it. I look forward to going back and reading this author’s prior books and highly recommend this compelling read.

    Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an early release for an honest review. I am delighted I got to read this book.

  • Anne

    I received an advanced copy of A Mind Unraveled as part of the giveaway program. Reading Eichenwald's story is like reading my own autobiography. It's amazing how much the public still does not understand epilepsy. Only those who are the closest to the individual really know what the person experience. Kurt was fortunate to have roommates and family who stood by him throughout his life. I thought the idea of making recordings was such a great idea. I wish someone had made that suggestion to me o

    I received an advanced copy of A Mind Unraveled as part of the giveaway program. Reading Eichenwald's story is like reading my own autobiography. It's amazing how much the public still does not understand epilepsy. Only those who are the closest to the individual really know what the person experience. Kurt was fortunate to have roommates and family who stood by him throughout his life. I thought the idea of making recordings was such a great idea. I wish someone had made that suggestion to me over 20 years ago. The hardest part about epilepsy is what you don't remember. Having friends and family (or audio tapes) are a great help to serve as a memory.

    This book should be a must read for anyone who who has ever met anyone with epilepsy be it a friend, family member, coworker, or whatever. Epilepsy is so much more than seizures.

  • Meg

    This is a well-written, informative, and enlightening book. A long read, but it went by fast because I could not put it down. Hard to believe the way doctors and Swarthmore failed him at many turns, but they did. Disgusting, actually. We should be able to trust those in the medical profession, but here is proof of a frightening opposite scenario. I felt and empathized with the author's anger and frustration, but cheered on his mother when she took control. That Eichenwald came through all of it

    This is a well-written, informative, and enlightening book. A long read, but it went by fast because I could not put it down. Hard to believe the way doctors and Swarthmore failed him at many turns, but they did. Disgusting, actually. We should be able to trust those in the medical profession, but here is proof of a frightening opposite scenario. I felt and empathized with the author's anger and frustration, but cheered on his mother when she took control. That Eichenwald came through all of it with his health mostly intact is a testament to his fortitude. He also showed amazing brilliance in his investigative work. I am impressed. His visit to Washington with his sons was especially heartwarming.

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and it is an uncorrected proof. There are very few errors, but my hope is that a good proofreader finds them and makes the necessary corrections. The chronological order of the book is perfect. An excellent memoir.

    My only regret is googling the author (as I do with every new author I read) and finding out the controversy surrounding him. I wish I hadn't done that.

  • Michelle Arredondo

    With a little over 41o pages it's safe to say that this book is a lot. Alot of information, a lot of content, a lot to think about and ponder issues within our own lives. A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is the true story of Kurt Eichenwald an acclaimed journalist and best selling author and his tormenting struggle with epilepsy. Easily among the list of top 10 non-fiction books that I have read this year so far.

    Eichenwald first began experiencing symptoms when he was in high schoo

    With a little over 41o pages it's safe to say that this book is a lot. Alot of information, a lot of content, a lot to think about and ponder issues within our own lives. A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald is the true story of Kurt Eichenwald an acclaimed journalist and best selling author and his tormenting struggle with epilepsy. Easily among the list of top 10 non-fiction books that I have read this year so far.

    Eichenwald first began experiencing symptoms when he was in high school. I could not imagine...remembering my high school years...how difficult they were already...discovering yourself....still feeling all the insecurities one feels among their peers....and then symptoms occur. The fear..the stress....the embarrassment...is mind blowing and gut wrenching. To go from slight symptoms...to eventually full on grand mal seizures. That wasn't even the worst of his struggles. The discrimination he endured both in school and in the workplace, the misdiagnoses, the mismanagement of his condition by physicians. Truly an unraveling of such a difficult life journey. It's inspirational...absolutely but it pulls at your heart strings through out. Gut wrenching...a powerful message. Like the saying goes.....you don't know unless you step a mile in someones shoes. Grab the tissues and don't expect for this story to leave you any time soon.

    Thanks to the peeps at goodreads, Kurt Eichenwald, and to Ballentine Books for my free copy of this book via giveaway. I received. I read. I reviewed this book honestly and voluntarily.

  • Susan

    This is my number one read of 2018. This book will rip you apart. It is agonizing to go on this journey of epilepsy with Kurt Eichenwald. It is infuriating to meet a bevy of incompetent doctors. There are so many people in this book that I absolutely hated. Yet through it all Kurt never gave up. He kept pushing on demanding answers and never letting epilepsy keep him from accomplishing his goals even when it was really difficult. This book tackles very difficult subjects but is written beautiful

    This is my number one read of 2018. This book will rip you apart. It is agonizing to go on this journey of epilepsy with Kurt Eichenwald. It is infuriating to meet a bevy of incompetent doctors. There are so many people in this book that I absolutely hated. Yet through it all Kurt never gave up. He kept pushing on demanding answers and never letting epilepsy keep him from accomplishing his goals even when it was really difficult. This book tackles very difficult subjects but is written beautifully. I had a hard time putting this one down.

    I was provided a copy of this book by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Melanie

    I would have read this book at one clip had my Nook not required a charge toward the end. Riveting, infuriating, informative, human, loving, and reflective -- this memoir tells the story of a man who refused to give into institutional stupidity, professional insufficiency, and personal trauma. He decided, twice in his life, to proceed to a specific goal, one academic, one personal. He achieved his goals because of his own strength while undergoing traumas beyond what most of his readers can even

    I would have read this book at one clip had my Nook not required a charge toward the end. Riveting, infuriating, informative, human, loving, and reflective -- this memoir tells the story of a man who refused to give into institutional stupidity, professional insufficiency, and personal trauma. He decided, twice in his life, to proceed to a specific goal, one academic, one personal. He achieved his goals because of his own strength while undergoing traumas beyond what most of his readers can even imagine, and because others in his life were loving. It's not "just" the story of overcoming obstacles - it's the story of holding one's own despite the overwhelming weight of the world.

  • Lynn Donahue

    This was a fascinating look at the life of an epileptic man who just wanted a life like everyone else had. There is so much stigma attached to the condition that he was often forced to fight for the right to do normal things like attend college and get a job. His rise above all the odds was inspiring and you find yourself rooting for him as he forces open closed doors. A true tribute to the human spirit and what can be accomplished through hard work, a supportive family and an unfailing belief i

    This was a fascinating look at the life of an epileptic man who just wanted a life like everyone else had. There is so much stigma attached to the condition that he was often forced to fight for the right to do normal things like attend college and get a job. His rise above all the odds was inspiring and you find yourself rooting for him as he forces open closed doors. A true tribute to the human spirit and what can be accomplished through hard work, a supportive family and an unfailing belief in yourself. #netgalley #AMindUnraveled #KurtEichenwald

  • Lilisa

    An in-depth personal account of living with epilepsy, the unvarnished reality of misdiagnosis and the struggles that people with medical challenges face every day. It is quite amazing how Kurt Eichenwald’s determination, motivation, and belief in himself helped power him through the many dark periods in his life as he struggled to get accurate diagnosis despite numerous obstacles. Much has to do with his personality and his persistent nature - at times confrontational, at others slipping into th

    An in-depth personal account of living with epilepsy, the unvarnished reality of misdiagnosis and the struggles that people with medical challenges face every day. It is quite amazing how Kurt Eichenwald’s determination, motivation, and belief in himself helped power him through the many dark periods in his life as he struggled to get accurate diagnosis despite numerous obstacles. Much has to do with his personality and his persistent nature - at times confrontational, at others slipping into the depths of despair, but generally not for long. The book is a detailed - sometimes excruciatingly so - journey living with epilepsy, from its early onset to his success in managing his life despite his health challenges. His cadre of supportive friends was admirable - much rested on their young shoulders - particularly his room mates. They are to be commended for sure. Keeping epilepsy a secret is probably one of the hardest medical conditions to hide. Deeply personal, the book is an unabashed exposure of the author’s life experience living with epilepsy - personally and professionally. A book worth reading but be prepared for a bit of length and a dose of reality. Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the ARC.

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