3.56 (587 ratings by Goodreads)
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A personal story about not only facing but conquering fears. In 2015, Eva Holland was forced to confront her greatest fear when her mother had a stroke and suddenly passed away. After the shock and grief subsided, Holland began to examine the extent to which her many fears had limited her, and wondered whether or not it was possible to move past them. This sent Holland on a deep dive into the science of fear, digging into an array of universal and personal questions: Why do we feel fear? Where do phobias come from and how are they related to anxiety disorders and trauma? Can you really smell fear? (Yes.) What would it be like to feel no fear? Is there a cure for fear? Or, put differently, is there a better way to feel afraid? On her journey, Holland meets with scientists who are working to eliminate phobias with a single pill, she explores the lives of the few individuals who suffer from a rare disease that prevents them from ever feeling fear, and she immerses herself in her own fears including hurling herself out of a plane for her first skydive (and in the process, learns that there are right and wrong ways to face your fears). Fear is a universal human experience, and Nerve answers these questions in a refreshingly accessible way, offering readers an often personal, sometimes funny, and always rigorously researched journey through the science of facing our fears.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 160 x 235 x 18.29mm | 498.95g
  • United States
  • English
  • 0735237336
  • 9780735237339
  • 1,813,594

Review quote

"Eva Holland put herself on the line to probe what makes us cower, and the result is this brave and emboldening book. Weaving memoir with science research and reportage, Nerve exposes fear for what it really is: a flush of chemicals, an evolutionary instinct, a mirror to the self--sometimes a liability, but often a guide." --Kate Harris, author of Lands of Lost Borders "Nerve is a white-knuckle journey into extreme states of terror and grief, but it does more than merely evoke those feelings. It also illuminates them. It's a gift for all of us who are fated to live with fear and sorrow--that is, for human beings." --Brian Phillips, author of the bestselling Impossible Owls "I really enjoyed Nerve--it has a good balance of personal story and actual science. And I appreciated the clarity with which Holland describes her experiences. Nerve gave me a lot to think about." --Alex Honnold, professional rock climber, author of Alone on the Wall, and star of Free Solo "A harmonious blend of memoir and science reporting . . . [Holland] makes her story both specific and universal." --Kirkus Reviews "A moving, groundbreaking look at how we can live in a world filled with dangers, both real and perceived, by one of the most talented writers working today." --Frank Bures, author of The Geography of Madness. "Holland presents us with a raw, intimate account of her deepest terrors, then invites us along as she fights to overcome them, embarking on a globe-trotting journey of self-discovery and scientific exploration. This book about fear is scarily good and profoundly brave." --Luke Dittrich, author of Patient HM "An enlightening intellectual road trip across the vast and seldom-explored science of fear. On this journey, Holland is an ideal companion--warm and intelligent, open-hearted and clear-eyed. But more than anything, she is a person who has felt, and conquered--and then captured and made sense of--fears so intense that they made me wince just reading about them." --Rob Moor, author of On Trails "Brave, surprising, and gorgeous, Nerve plunges into some dark territory--fear, loss, trauma--and shines a lovely light. Holland is a gifted storyteller, and by using science to understand and confront her own worst fears, she shows us how to find peace with our own." --Jason Fagone, author of the bestselling The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies
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About Eva Holland

EVA HOLLAND is a freelance writer based in Whitehorse, Yukon. She is currently a correspondent at the magazine Outside, and has had her work published in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, Pacific Standard, National Geographic News, The Walrus, Hazlitt, and many more.
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Rating details

587 ratings
3.56 out of 5 stars
5 18% (107)
4 33% (196)
3 36% (212)
2 11% (63)
1 2% (9)
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