Book Review: The Man Who Couldn’t Stop


The Man Who Couldn’t Stop

By David Adam

FSG

After years of battling the irrational terror of catching a disease every time he touched a door handle, drank from a water bottle, or scraped his knee playing soccer, Nature editor David Adam earned the right to be annoyed when people called themselves “a little bit OCD.” The greatest strength of his book—part memoir, part scientific treatise on obsessive-compulsive disorder—is that it meets those dilettantes on their level: “Imagine you can never turn it off.” Adam’s personal insights, and case studies from the famous (Winston Churchill, Nikola Tesla) to the obscure (an Ethiopian schoolgirl who ate a wall of mud bricks), make that feat of imagination both possible and painful.

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  • Rebecca Cohen is a former editorial fellow at Mother Jones.