Below is a list of books on bipolar disorder (linked through Amazon).  Click the book cover to go to Amazon directly.

Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families by Francis Mark Mondimore

This is the first book I read on the disorder after diagnosis.  My husband found chapters 20-23 especially helpful.



Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison

My therapist gave me this book right after I was re-diagnosed.  Touched with Fire is a brilliant work, exploring the connection between manic depression and the creative arts.  It appeals to both left-brain, facts-and-data types and right-brain, creative people.  The author, Dr Jamison, is a psychiatrist and professor at Johns Hopkins and co-director of the Mood Disorders Center.  She also carries a diagnosis of Bipolar I herself.


Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask by Hilary Smith

Another book I read right after being re-diagnosed.  This book has a hip, young adult slant.  Although the book is highly rated on Amazon and the author herself is bipolar, frankly I found some of her comments condescending and her flip attitude about something so serious rather off-putting.  But, then again, I’m 44.  🙂  There are better books out there.  Best for the teens & early 20s crowd.


An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

Another great book by Dr Jamison.  An Unquiet Mind is a mostly unsentimental account of what it’s like to be a highly functioning person with bipolar disorder.  I highly recommend this book for those afflicted as well as their loved ones.



The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry

I’ve been a long time fan of Stephen Fry and greatly admire the courageous documentary he hosted in 2006, The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. Fry always speaks candidly about his bipolarity.  An inspiration to us all.



Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis by Rosalynn Carter, Susan K. Golant, and Kathryn E Cade

I purchased this book after seeing Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter on The Daily Show. Rosalynn Carter, “…has been deeply invested in this issue since her husband’s gubernatorial campaign when she saw firsthand the horrific, dehumanizing treatment of people with mental illnesses.” I wasn’t very impressed with the book, although the message is important – our mental health care (just like all of our health care in the US) is in shambles.  Thankfully, people like Rosalynn Carter are trying to do something about it.


Living With Someone Who’s Living With Bipolar Disorder: A Practical Guide for Family, Friends, and Coworkers by Chelsea Lowe and Bruce M. Cohen MD PhD

My husband is reading this book to learn more and support me.  So far, it has helped both us us tremendously.


My Kind of Crazy: Living in a Bipolar World by Janine Crowley Haynes

Haynes jumps back and forth in time, mirroring her own manic thought processes, and devotes chapters to her son and husband so that they may have their say… Her description of incarceration in a mental hospital is so dead-on accurate, and without sentiment, I had to put the book down for a few minutes and allow my own flood of memories to subside.  Highly recommended for anyone who needs insight into what it’s really like to be committed to a mental ward.


Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney

Cheney, a former L.A. entertainment lawyer, pointedly dispels expectations of a safe ride through this turbulent account of bipolar disorder. With evocative imagery—time-shuffled recollections meant to mirror her disorienting extremes of mood—Cheney conjures life at the mercy of a brain chemistry that yanks her from soul-starving despair to raucous exuberance, impetuous pursuits to paralyzing lethargy.  Cheney’s descriptions of what she experienced internally and how the rest of the world treated her are raw and disturbing.  For those reading on a Kindle, watch for poignant, highlighted passages: “The world is essentially bipolar: driven to extremes but defined by flux. Saints are always just a stumble away from sinners.”


The Dark Side of Innocence: Growing Up Bipolar by Terri Cheney

The author of Manic: A Memoir‘s second book was written in response to parents who read Manic and asked what her childhood was like.  The Dark Side of Innocence was not a comfortable read, especially since the author recants her suicide attempts, the first occurring at age seven.  Cheney’s narrative is filled with subtext that serves as a warning sign manual for parents and adults alike who wonder if they or their child is suffering from Bipolar Disorder.  Again, some may find this an uncomfortable read, however it is well worth it.


A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness by S. Nassir Ghaemi.

Ghaemi poses the argument that mentally healthy people are fine leaders in good times, but when a crisis is at hand, it’s the mentally ill people who are better suited for the task.  He illustrates this argument with profiles of Churchill, JFK, MLK and Hitler.  It’s an interesting premise and I do believe there is some validity to his argument.  Parts of this book, however, reiterated the theme all too often, and made the author seem somewhat desperate to be taken seriously. It’s worth a look, though. (Here is a clip of the author being interviewed on The Colbert Report.)

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