Monday, December 21, 2020



Some years ago, I set up this site as an information center and a link to my books. It is not always the most up-to-date source. Readers are also referred to my publishers [W. W. Norton, Viking, Penguin, Scribner, HarperCollins, and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, among others] and to the information below.

I speak nationally and internationally. For inquiries about speaking engagements and for all literary matters, please contact Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 2114, New York, NY 10107, 212-246-0069 or

I am no longer seeing patients.

My most recent book is Ordinarily Well [Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016, paperback, 2017].

My most recent book chapter is “Nonsense,” in The Peanuts Papers: Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang, and the Meaning of Life.

My most recent book review is Why Are We So Eager to Hear Placebo Speak?"Los Angeles Review of Books, May 3, 2016. Recent essays include: Listening During a Pandemic, MV Arts & Ideas Stumbling Toward Psychiatry, Psychiatric News, January 19, 2018; The FDA Just Approved the First Digital Pill. Here’s How It Could Backfire, Fortune, November 15, 2017; Kramer PD, Satel SL: Who Decides Whether Trump Is Unfit to Govern? New York Times, August 29, 2017; and Kramer PD, Kramer SE: Getting The Shift: Father And Daughter Doctors Debate Intern Workloads, The Forward, March 29, 2017.

Other often-requested pieces include this front-page essay on antidepressants for the New York Times Sunday Review and this review for Slate. Under the "Presentations" heading at this website (above), I've posted the text of a talk, about whether the way we diagnose depression is leading to a "loss of sadness" and another updating my concept "cosmetic psychopharmacology." A debate on the question of antidepressant efficacy in which I participated at Massachusetts General Hospital is posted here.

Regards to all --

Peter D. Kramer

[partly updated December 2020]

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Ordinarily Well: The Case For Antidepressants

"Ordinarily Well is an ambitious, persuasive, and important book. Kramer looks from many angles at the nature of the evidence—at what goes into gathering it, and at the ways it is read and misread, applied and misapplied. He doesn’t just make a case for antidepressants. He makes a case for psychiatry itself as a humanistic science that bridges the impersonal ideals of the laboratory and the pragmatic exigencies of clinical intervention. He is defending treatment—drugs, psychotherapy, or both—that relies on imperfect tinkering. And he is demonstrating why psychiatry’s improvisational nature is not a failure of rigor or a rejection of research but a necessary expression of humility in the face of a system so complex that we don’t know where the brain stops and the mind begins (or whether there even is such a boundary)." Jonathan Rosen, the Atlantic.

"…careful and measured and fair, and at times even candidly self-doubting, in its presentation…Though the book cautions against the putative certainties of 'evidence-based medicine' and presents a case for the superiority of clinical wisdom over statistical analysis, Kramer evinces such humility that no one could accuse him of being a pro-­medication ideologue…you will most likely come away convinced by his argument for the efficacy of antidepressants — and moved by his humane concern for his patients, and for the needless suffering of unmedicated patients around the world." Scott Stossel, The New York Times.

"I have always loved Peter Kramer's writing for the reflective way he weds his own practice and personal experiences with extant science to lead us to new and profound insights into the psyche. Listening to Prozac exemplified his ability to define a new paradigm. In Ordinarily Well, he brings a lifetime of treating patients to a consideration of antidepressants, looking carefully at the nature of evidence. The work of one of the few voices out there without ties to industry, this reasoned and beautifully written narrative is another breakthrough, one that brings us to a new and humane understanding of depression and its treatment."—Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting For Stone

"Written with the compassion, verve, and style that are the author's trademark, this book offers an invaluable overview on the state of treatment and the options available."—Kirkus Reviews