A personal journey through the science of fear
A compelling personal journey into not only facing but understanding and conquering fear.
In 2015, Eva Holland was forced to confront her greatest fear when her mother unexpectedly had a stroke and passed away. After the shock and grief subsided, Holland was sent 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 (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.
“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, bestselling author
“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
“Science and psychology inform the engaging memoir of an author on a self-help mission … Her goal is not to eliminate fear, but to put it into perspective.”
Kirkus (January, 2020)
“In a plague year where our worst fears are real but unseen, possible but indefinable, [Holland’s] book could not be timelier.”