Three Great Books About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Revealed: From Neurons to Social Interactions by Michael Foster Green, Ph.D.

It’s been some time since I’ve read this book, and it may be a little dated.  However, I recall this being my favorite book on the subject that was written by a mental health professional.  Very clear and very concise.  Green does a magnificent job of explaining in simple terms the biology of the brain and how schizophrenia is involved in that biology.

He also does a masterful job of explaining the social/psychological side of this disorder.  If the biology of schizophrenia is its inner workings, then the social/psychological side is its outward manifestations.

I believe there is only one edition of this book (2003), so it is a little dated; however, of the books I’ve read on the subject, this is the best one in my opinion.  This book is well worth the money, too.


Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers by E. Fuller Torrey, MD

An exhaustive manual on “today’s most misunderstood illness.”  From describing the inner world of this disorder to theories of causes to treatment options (and a whole lot more), this book is a must read. Torrey’s expertise and dedication to helping make sense of schizophrenia and providing a road map for recovery (partial) is invaluable.

Incidentally, there is a link at the bottom of this page to the “Treatment Advocacy Center,” of which Torrey is the founder.  Very good website, packed full of a lot of worthwhile information.

As of this post, the latest edition of this book is the 5th edition (2006).  A little dated maybe, but still very much salient.


When The Music’s Over: My Journey into Schizophrenia by Ross David Burke

This is the only memoir I have read on the subject of schizophrenia, so I can’t compare it to others. I will simply say that this is an astoundingly accurate written account of what it is like to be in the throes of paranoid schizophrenia.

The author suffered greatly from this disorder, and that shows on every page of this book. As a survivor, I associated well with Burke and the inner workings of his mind. To the average layperson, I think if you are totally confused by the book’s end, then you’ve probably come away with a decent grasp of what it is like to live in a world where very few people “speak your language.”

This is not a reflective memoir, meaning that it was not written post-treatment. While Burke did receive some treatment, his treatment was sporadic. The majority of this book was written while Ross was fully symptomatic, which is an incredible feat. It is a special read.

Sadly, soon after finishing his book, Ross succumbed to the disorder and died in 1985. He was 32 years-old. Schizophrenia was the cause of death. The method was suicide.


This is a very short list. There are dozens and dozens of books on the subject, and I would encourage you to read as much as you can, especially if you or your loved one has this disorder.

Do you have your own list of favorite books on this subject? If you do, please feel free to share that list in the “Comments” section of this post. The more we share, the more we’ll help others.

One thought on “Three Great Books About Schizophrenia

  1. Edwin November 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm Reply

    Just wanted to add this book suggestion on this post.

    Ellyn Saks’ “The Center Cannot Hold” was recommended. I’ve heard it is a very good memoir. Incidentally, Ellyn is the Associate Dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould Law School and an expert in mental health law.

    Hope this is a good one! A lot of people have told me about it!


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