Back From The Brink Amazon 5 Star Review Summaries

Graeme CowanUncategorized

This is an edited version of some of the book reviews on


Peter Saad

I connected to this book from the get go. The stories of 10 different people – each life different, each suffered in similar ways to what I have. The author’s understanding of what it’s like to be in depression, and what’s it’s like to recover also helped me connect with him.

The book gives great hope that there is a way out of this awful pain and anguish. Through sharing 10 other lives who have suffered, (some a lot worse than I did), kept me thinking “if they can, there’s hope for me”.

But perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book is the road map out of it. The chapter titled “Depression Treatments That Work” has coincided with my experience of what works.

I wish I had this book earlier, it would have cleared up a lot of false ideas I had about my illness and the solutions available.



Cowan has interviewed a number of high-profile politicians, journalists and sportspeople about their experiences of depression and bipolar disorder. Their stories were fascinating and heartening, powerful testaments to the possibility of recovery.

In the second section of the book, Cowan offers a lot of helpful advice to depression sufferers. His lived experience helps here; he is compassionate, not preachy, and his advice is practical. He recognises that some people are further advanced on their journey of recovery and offers tips for people who are bedridden as well as those who are on the way to recovering their lives.

I like that the book finishes with a list of organisations and resources, enabling people to follow Cowan’s advice. Cowan is a wonderful leader and mentor for those who are vulnerable and desperately need guidance. This book is a wonderful resource, offering practical advice and very real hope. I would definitely buy a copy for anyone with a mood disorder or a caregiver.


Jennifer (PA)

Many books provide information on the causes and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder, but “Back from the Brink” provides something that is often more important to those who are struggling with these often debilitating conditions…hope.



This book has great personal stories from many prominent people, mostly from America, yet although I’m not American I found the accounts fascinating.

We come to learn how different and sometimes how similar peoples’ experiences of mental illness can be. By sharing his own story too we discover the power of tenacity, of never giving up when it seems like the cards are stacked up against us and we have given up on ourselves.

 I think this book should be required reading for everyone, sufferers, carers, health workers, teenagers, family, co-workers. It will reduce stigma and increase understanding of mental illness, which is so very sorely needed even today, 2014.



In his new book, “Back from the Brink,” Graeme Cowan affords us a fresh perspective on the management and treatment of major depression and bipolar disorder (manic depression). This wonderful text is sure to be a valuable resource not only for those who suffer mental illness but also for those who care for them. In fact, Cowan asserts that one of the most important things sufferers can do for themselves is “to build the knowledge and resilience of their loved ones.” As such, this is a must read for sufferer and caregiver alike.

What makes Cowan’s book unique, appealing, and a must read: Through a series of interviews conducted with people willing to share and discuss their plight with mental illness (people Cowan refers to as “fellow travelers”), not only do we learn about how mental illness has adversely impacted the life of the interviewee, but we also learn about “what works” for that individual in overcoming depression–with the tacit understanding that if it works for him or her, it may very well work for you! [My personal favorite is the interview with Bob Boorstin.] 


Kathy (Connecticut)

This book is wonderful because it is like being at a well-run support group with a bunch of famous people.

I loved the way that at the end of each person’s story [Graeme] summarized in a box (literally) what that person found most useful in managing his or her illness. If you turn to those pages alone you will learn a lot – but you should read the rest of the book too.



This book provided so much hope, to know that such strong people, as I once saw myself, could suffer as I do, and come out “the other side” is an absolute gift during this desperate point in my journey.

Another valuable tool was Graeme’s own story. So powerful… I will win no matter what – and I now feel that hope in me.

Reading the book forced me to demand an appointment with my new psychiatrist.

I think anyone who is newly diagnosed severely depressed or bipolar would be the perfect candidate to get the most from this book.


Marty Wilson

This is a truly wonderful and incredibly important book for those suffering through depression and/or those caring for or living with someone who is. The stories in it very quickly reassure the reader that many people have been right where you are now, and have moved through that big ball of blackness to a bright future. The research is thorough, and the advice down to earth and concise. It was a massive help for me to understand my wife’s depression, and for her to be inspired to persevere through some deeply troubling times. Thank you Graeme. Highly recommended.


Lauren Campbell

I found Graeme Cowan’s approach in Back from the Brink inspirational and educational.

This book should be mandatory reading not just for those suffering from a mood disorder, or family and friends, but for every citizen!


Phil Powell

In reading this book, sufferers of Depression or Bi-polar disorder have the opportunity to relate to people who have “walked in their shoes” and most importantly, can attest to the fact that there is a pathway to a better future. This book not only contains these important life stories but also provides a solid foundation of understanding of the multi-factored influences and consequences surrounding these illnesses that are little understood by most people in the community, including sufferers, particularly at the early stages of experiencing problems.
I believe this book can save lives.



This book is invaluable for those struggling with depression or bipolar disorder. It offers stories of success, positive representations of relationships between the person with the mental illness and their support system in their lives, personal advice, models for recovery, and so much hope. The interviews give you the feeling that you’re not alone and that a better life is possible, you don’t have to put up with feeling bad and suicide is not the answer. I highly recommend this book! I personally have bipolar disorder and this book gave me so much positive information and hope.


Tatiana Paipetis, PhD

An important and revealing mental health resource. Especially useful are the structured summaries of what worked for each interviewee. Read together these summaries identify common strategies that worked for all interviewees. Finally, Graeme’s own elaboration on how he beat depression and the final chapter on proven treatments provides a hands on and detailed handbook on options available to alleviate depression. Well worth reading for anyone battling periods of darkness as well as their support network.


John McDonald

Nine people tell their stories and what worked for them. Take your time and read their stories. This advice comes from people who have been in the thick of it. And made significant progress out of it. Changed their lives.
If you are stuck, get help.

Good books are like good friends. Books like this can help.


Geoff McDonald

This book was an inspiring read to see some simple and powerful truths about the human condition. The interviews expose many of the private struggles we hide – even from friends and family. The candour and honesty of the interviewees is a real joy. We hear what daily challenges, stigmas and social misconceptions they had to overcome. Plus, the practices and rituals they employed to be successful.

This book is for anyone wanting to boost their mental health and build their resilience. It points to some basic truths that we can all adopt and cherish.

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