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  • Toby Sinclair

Summary: Lost Connections by Johann Hari

Updated: Feb 4

⭐ Rating: 10/10

Hidden Potential by Adam Grant Summary Image

3 Big Ideas from Lost Connections by Johann Hari 💡

Here are three big ideas that business leaders can apply to lead their business and team more effectively:

  1. Redefining Depression: Johann Hari challenges the conventional understanding of depression as primarily a biological condition. He emphasizes the importance of social, psychological, and environmental factors, arguing that depression often results from disconnections in our lives, such as from meaningful work, relationships, and values.

  2. Social and Psychological Factors: Johann Hari identifies seven key factors contributing to depression. He argues that the real solution to solving depression is rebuilding the connection to these factors. The seven factors are:

    1. Disconnection from meaningful work

    2. Disconnection from other people

    3. Disconnection from meaningful values

    4. Disconnection from childhood trauma

    5. Disconnection from status and respect

    6. Disconnection from the natural world

    7. Disconnection from a hopeful or secure future

  3. Beyond Medication: While not entirely dismissing the role of antidepressants, In Lost Connections by Johann Hari, he suggests that they are often overprescribed and don’t address the underlying issues causing depression. He advocates for a more holistic approach, focusing on social connections, community-building, and addressing societal factors contributing to mental distress.

2 Best Quotes from Lost Connections by Johann Hari 💬

"What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief—for our own lives not being as they should? What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost, yet still need."

"You aren’t a machine with broken parts. You are an animal whose needs are not being met."

Tobys Top Takeaway

Lost Connections by Johann Hari is a powerful call to rethink our approach to mental health. For business leaders, it's a reminder that creating environments that foster meaningful connections, whether in the workplace or the community, is crucial. Leaders should focus on building teams where individuals feel valued, connected, and purposeful. Acknowledging the psychological and social dimensions of wellbeing can lead to a more engaged, healthy, and productive workforce. Additionally, understanding the multifaceted nature of depression can help leaders support their team members more effectively, promoting an inclusive and empathetic workplace culture.

In my lowest moments, I turn to this book. It acts as a compass to find a way out of the ditch. Using the knowledge from the book, I do this simple exercise


Exercise: Connection Circle


  1. Draw a circle and divide it into 7 parts.

    1. Label each part with one of the seven connections from the book

    2. Meaningful work

    3. Other people

    4. Meaningful values

    5. Childhood trauma

    6. Status and respect

    7. Natural world

    8. Hopeful or secure future

  2. Think about a scale of connection.

    1. Center of the circle. Strong connection (10)

    2. Outside of the circle. Weak connection (1)

  3. Shade each segment based on how you feel right now.

  4. Once all shaded, take a moment. Looking at the circle, what can you learn?

You can take the exercise further to identify actions. However, I’ve often found that just seeing where the disconnections are can help spark my actions naturally.

In conclusion, Lost Connections by Johann Hari is a vital read for anyone interested in the intricacies of mental health, offering profound insights into the often-overlooked social and psychological factors contributing to depression and anxiety. Hari's book encourages us to look beyond the medical model and consider how our connections to the world around us deeply impact our mental wellbeing.

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