Chess, Schizophrenia, and the Poet’s Fire

The Greek Gods Frowned Upon Hubris

willauthorI am writing this short article to fight negative stereotypes associated with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a poorly understood topic in our society. These days, with medication and talk therapy, recovery from even very serious mental illness is not only possible, but, with proper treatment, probable. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Read on, and open your mind.

It is a health issue. I was a “normal” kid, loved by my mom and brothers, and dad always made sure we were ok.  Athletic, well-liked and popular at Stuyvesant High School, the number one high school in New York City, my mid-teen years were joyful.  Later, at State University of New York at Stony Brook I achieved senior status and #1 status at the competitive applied math program, at the tender age of nineteen. I earned straight A in applied mathematics to the upper division, the top student at one of the top applied math programs in the world. The semester before my first psychotic break,  I signed up for twenty-three credit hours, about a double full-time credit load. The classes lined up were honors physics, data structures, econometrics, masters level game theory for economists, and Chinese, among a few others. The future looked bright. I had a girlfriend who I very much wanted to marry. I worked a job or three. The view from the top of the world was heady. I was aware of what my accomplishments were, maybe there was a touch of hubris, unhealthy pride. In any event, they say “pride cometh before the fall”, and the bigger they are, the harder they fall. My ego, big and proud, fell hard, as I plummeted into the deadly abyss of insanity.

Stress causes many problems in life, both physical and mental. Critical life choices including finances were being mismanaged, and stress was one big reason I had my first psychotic break. Later, as I discovered as a psychiatric library chief there were also other reasons for my unfortunate fall from sanity: being a premature winter birth, being born to an older father, having a mother with an under-active thyroid, a stressful early childhood, having a low fatty fish content in my diet, having sub-optimal magnesium levels, not taking a good multivitamin, being sleep deprived, working seven days per week without a break for years, studying long hours for seven days per week, and, finally, having both bipolar and psychosis expressed in the genetics of the family. Yeah, unbeknownst to me, I was a ticking clock, waiting to go off, and my time eventually ran out.

I had a total psychotic break with reality at the age of nineteen. I was hospitalized for nearly two months, at Stony Brook University Hospital just a mile from my old “successful” life at University- so close but truly a whole world away. Following my descent into total madness and paranoia, eventually, I learned to cope. As mom correctly has pointed out to me, “Will, recovery for you is a journey. You are never ‘Recovered’.”  I found meaning in life by learning about my illness and psychiatry in general, so I would “know my enemy”. Years later I was invited to write as a freelance journalist for City Voices, the mental health newspaper based out of NYC, founded by famous mental health advocate Kenneth Steele back in 1995. My life’s mission was transformed into helping others in my shoes.

Excerpt From My Autobiography, A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope

At nineteen, during my first psychotic break, my thoughts were thus:

“In the psych ward, I felt that this must be how Jesus felt.  Jesus was wrongly persecuted in his life. Just as I am being persecuted.  I could have been a drug dealer many times in my life, picked up a gun and settled a few scores, or just become some kind of loser. I could have become someone with no future who didn’t try. I could have been someone who didn’t work hard, as a janitor to pay their way through college.   I’ve had a hard life, I thought.  I don’t deserve to be treated this way.  It’s not right.  But, Jesus forgave his enemies. And so will I.  Because I thought I knew exactly how Jesus felt, I reasoned, I must be an incarnation of Jesus.

Images flew through my mind. There was an excellent movie called Amadeus which chronicled a possible but far-fetched theory that Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart may have been murdered by Salieri, a musical competitor of Mozart. At the end of the movie, after Salieri confesses to his role in the demise of Mozart, the priest looked shocked to find a heart so black.  The scene cuts to Salieri being lead through the mental asylum, absolving his fellow inmates.  “I absolve you”  “I absolve you” he repeated  to everyone he saw. He said this to the people in cages and the people in chains. He laughs an evil laugh and says, “I absolve everybody.” And the movie ends, and the credits roll. For some reason, this aspect of the movie Amadeus went through my mind the same instant I thought I was some kind of incarnation of Jesus.  I, think that I, being a better person than Salieri, could truly absolve people.  I think that people will recognize my goodness and feel better about being where they were.  I walk around the room saying “I absolve you” to people who are there.   What happened next, I did not expect….”

For Those Who Are Curious about the Science and Medicine

I like numbers, especially statistics. Roughly one percent of the world’s population develops schizophrenia. A bit more than one percent will develop bipolar disorder. About one in seven will develop an anxiety disorder. About one in seven, or more, will develop clinical depression. Think about it. If you go to a high school of 1,000 kids in just a few, short years 250 of you could be struggling with a major psychiatric issue, with or without co-occurring substance abuse. College is a crucible of stress and is made much worse by use of illicit drugs and drinking. Wife of President Ronald Regan, Nancy Regan, was right when she told kids of the 80s to “Just say No!”best books about schizophrenia

So, why do these genes that can trigger serious and persistent mental illnesses still exist? One would think that these debilitating diseases would be bred out of the gene pool eventually. It’s like this, when one identical twin develops schizophrenia, the other twin has only a 50% chance of a psychotic break and consequent schizophrenia. Why? It seems genetics with schizophrenia is only 50% of the puzzle, and the mystery of the other 50% is embedded in the epigenome: the way the environment turns on off specific genes which either lead to health or illness. So, more than 50% of people who have the perfect genetics for schizophrenia will never develop the disease, and hence they are carriers. Carriers of what? Well, according to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory research, schizophrenia is a genetically complicated disorder of micro-additions and micro-deletions of genetic code. This is why they have not found one “schizophrenia gene”. It doesn’t exist. This is also why genetic therapies will have to be individualized and genetic codes sequenced, if medicine ever attempts a “cure” of the schizophrenia genetics.

Schizophrenia generally hits young men in late adolescence or early adulthood, whereas women develop the disorder in young adulthood, possible due to a protective role of estrogen. Either way, broadly speaking, in ten years time, after diagnosis, one-third of people diagnosed with schizophrenia generally completely recover, one-third stay about the same, and one-third get worse. Things like the THC in marijuana, a parasite called toxoplasma gondii sometimes found in cat fecal matter, and stress can cause people to “flip” on bad genes, causing a first psychotic break.  So, please just say no to these things, my friends!

A Full Life in Spite of the Schizophrenia

Despite my developing schizophrenia in my late teenage years and the fact that not every day is a good day, I have overcome many obstacles and accomplished much. Powerful, mind-numbing drugs have brought me down to Earth. Before medicines, I was able to read more than five hundred pages per day, do amazing feats of strength like run a half mile in under two minutes, and do a thousand push-ups in a day. No longer can I do these amazing feats of Will.

However, academically, I have graduated from a top university, with honors, then I earned an accredited Masters  in Library Science. Professionally, spanning nearly a decade, I worked as a professor at CUNY Kingsborough’s Library and then at New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia Psychiatry as a respected library Chief at the #1 psychiatric research center in the world, part of a team of healers. Culturally, I am fluent in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. I feel I have an interesting worldview, inspired by the cultures behind the languages I have learned to love.  I wish to explore more world languages and cultures.  I have authored twenty-six books about mental health, literature, business, history, language learning, library science, weight loss and diabetes control, an internationally popular guide to the living culture of New York City, a guide to natural intelligence enhancement, and an “inspiring” memoir, A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope. I hope to keep writing in some capacity both in order to reach new readers and to explore new and exciting worlds both inside and outside myself.

In my professional life, the thing of which I am most proud is being one source of hope to people who may feel forgotten by life.  The thing I am most proud of in my private life is the careful attention with which I have taken care of my family and friends, because I feel the most important thing in Life is Love. With all I’ve done so far, I feel my work here on Earth is not yet done. I have miles to go before I sleep. Wish me luck in writing my next chapters, my friends. I hope to keep on doing my own brand of positive thing for a while more, and I have promises to keep.

I close with a “poetic” quote of mine about chess:

I once saw a “deep” quote from a “Buddhist” Facebook Page concerning one of my favorite games, chess: “Once the game is over, the King and the pawn go back in the same box.”

I thought about my own struggle with schizophrenia and I felt that I could not let that nihilist have the last apt word. So, I penned the following response…

“So true! The game of Kings ends in this way… so poetic! Yet, the play of armies, led by Kings is the thing that separates the legends from the forgotten. Kings and pawns go to the same box, true, but it is how they played that makes all the difference. Not every King is named Arthur, and not every chess player is a Kasparov or a Fischer. As for the game of life as chess, we all eventually lose to Death. Death smiles at us all as we strategize and plan, but the best a man can do is follow the rules, smile back and play his damnedest, until it is his turn to rest. Life is not only about our final destination. It is also the journey we make, the others we touch, and the tales that are told! God gives burdens, also shoulders.”Washington Heights Poetry

I invite you to check out more of my poetry and art in The Poet of Washington Heights: A Scrapbook of Poetry, Photography, Digital Art, and Social Media,  twenty three of my books in English, Spanish, and French can be found on my Amazon Author’s Page.  Many of my ebooks are available on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, as well as other fine purveyors of the written word. Salud!

For quality medical information about schizophrenia: check out this information from NIMH 

This is my curated list of Best Books about Schizophrenia

Please help me reach people who need my story of hope! Thank you! |

Best Books about Schizophrenia

Best Books About Schizophrenia

Best Books about Schizophrenia as Curated by former Columbia Psychiatry Library Chief

Bienvenidos! My name is William Jiang, MLS and I was the Chief of the Patient Library at

Best Books About Schizophrenia
Former Columbia Psychiatry/ NYSPI Library Chief, William Jiang, MLS

Columbia Psychiatry / New York State Psychiatric Institute for almost a decade from 2004-2011. According to the Surgeon General, approximately one in one hundred people in the United States struggles with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is arguably the most devastating mental illness of them all. Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder. It is, rather, a break from reality. Many homeless people suffer from schizophrenia, and many with schizophrenia have auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations and delusions, or paranoia.  The following were the best books about schizophrenia of the Columbia Psychiatry Patient Library during my tenure and of today.

Best Books about Schizophrenia: Autobiography

  • A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope
    by William Jiang, MLS “A talented ambitious young student is afflicted by the most dread mental illness in the prime of his life. This first person account describes this all too common occurrence but what is unique is how he reacts to this adversity and his courageous and successful journey to recovery. Will Jiang’s impressive and moving story is reminiscent of other similar first person accounts of personal struggle and triumph over mental illness including Elyn Saks’ The Center Cannot best books about schizophreniaHold and Temple Grandin’s Thinking In Pictures: and Other Reports from My Life with Autism. Will’s story will be similarly informative and inspirational to everyone who has the good fortune to read it.” — Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D. President, American Psychiatric Association
  • The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
    by Elyn Saks “Elyn R. Saks is an esteemed professor, lawyer, and psychiatrist and is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Law School, yet she has suffered from schizophrenia for most of her life, and still has ongoing major episodes of the illness. THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD is the eloquent, moving story of Elyn’s life, from the first time that she heard voices speaking to her as a young teenager, to attempted suicides in college, through learning to live on her own as an adult in an often terrifying world. Saks discusses frankly the paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, the voices in her head telling her to kill herself (and to harm others); as well the incredibly difficult obstacles she overcame to become a highly respected professional. This beautifully written memoir is destined to become a classic in its genre.”
  • The Day The Voices Stopped: A Memoir of Madness and Hope
    by Ken Steele “For thirty-two years Ken Steele lived with the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia, tortured by inner voices commanding him to kill himself, ravaged by the delusions of paranoia, barely surviving on the ragged edges of society. In this inspiring story, Steele tells the story of his hard-won recovery from schizophrenia and how activism and advocacy helped him regain his sanity and go on to give hope and support to so many others like him.”
  • Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir
    by Mark Vonnegut MD “More than thirty years after the publication of his acclaimed memoir The Eden Express, Mark Vonnegut continues his story in this searingly funny, iconoclastic account of coping with mental illness, finding his calling, and learning that willpower isn’t nearly enough.Here is Mark’s life childhood as the son of a struggling writer, as well as the world after Mark was released from a mental hospital. At the late age of twenty-eight and after nineteen rejections, he is finally accepted to Harvard Medical School, where he gains purpose, a life, and some control over his condition. There are the manic episodes, during which he felt burdened with saving the world, juxtaposed against the real-world responsibilities of running a pediatric practice. Ultimately a tribute to the small, daily, and positive parts of a life interrupted by bipolar disorder, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So is a wise, unsentimental, and inspiring book that will resonate with generations of readers.”
  • A Mind That Found Itself: An Autobiography
    by Clifford Whittingham Beers “In the groundbreaking book, Clifford Beers tells what it was like to be institutionalized at a time when mental illness received little attention or respect. “A Mind that Found Itself” is Beers’ own story, as one of five children who all suffered psychological distress and were all confined to mental institutions at one time or another. Beers, who wrote the book after his own confinement, gained the support of the medical profession and was a leader in the mental hygiene movement. “A Mind that Found Itself” has been an inspiration to many mental health professionals in their choice of a profession. It also did much to help the rest of the world see mental health issues as a serious disease. “A Mind that Found Itself” is an excellent read for anyone seeking to better understand, or treat, mental illness.”

Best Books about Schizophrenia: Biography

  • A Beautiful Mind
    by Sylvia Nasar “In this powerful and dramatic biography Sylvia Nasar vividly re-creates the life of a mathematical genius whose career was cut short by schizophrenia and who, after three decades of devastating mental illness, miraculously recovered and was honored with a Nobel Prize. A Beautiful Mind traces the meteoric rise of Best books about schizophreniaJohn Forbes Nash, Jr., a prodigy and legend by the age of thirty, who dazzled the mathematical world by solving a series of deep problems deemed “impossible” by other mathematicians.”
  • Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness
    by Frank Brady “At first all one noticed was how gifted Fischer was.  Possessing a 181 I.Q. and remarkable powers of concentration, Bobby memorized hundreds of chess books in several languages, and he was only 13 when he became the youngest chess master in U.S. history.   But his strange behavior started early…. After years of poverty and a stint living on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, Bobby remerged in 1992 to play Spassky in a multi-million dollar rematch—but the experience only deepened a paranoia that had formed years earlier when he came to believe that the Soviets wanted him dead for taking away “their” title.  When the dust settled, Bobby was a wanted man—transformed into an international fugitive because of his decision to play in Montenegro despite U.S. sanctions.  Fearing for his life, traveling with bodyguards, and wearing a long leather coat to ward off knife attacks, Bobby lived the life of a celebrity fugitive – one drawn increasingly to the bizarre.  Mafiosi, Nazis, odd attempts to breed an heir who could perpetuate his chess-genius DNA—all are woven into his late-life tapestry.”


Best Books about Schizophrenia: Recovery

  • Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies
    by William Jiang, MLS “In this useful guide, Jiang gives a short practical summary of a wide variety of mental disorders ranging from the classical bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia to the more modern affliction of digital addictions. In each category, he supplies a list of non-pharmacologic treatments, providing for each item a reference with abstract. He also offers resources such as national networks and local support groups.” – Marjorie Ordene, MD
  • Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual
    by E. Fuller Torrey “Updated throughout and filled with all the latest research, the bestselling Surviving Schizophrenia is back, now in its sixth edition. Since its first publication in 1983, Surviving Schizophrenia has become the standard reference book on the disease and has helped thousands of patients, their families, and mental health professionals. In clear language, this much-praised and important book describes the nature, causes, symptoms, treatment, and course of schizophrenia and also explores living with it from both the patient’s and the family’s point of view. This new, completely updated sixth edition includes the latest research findings on what causes the disease, as well as information about the newest drugs for treatment, and best books about schizophreniaanswers the questions most often asked by families, consumers, and providers.”
  • 100 Questions & Answers About Schizophrenia: Painful Minds
    by Lynn E. DeLisi “Approximately one percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their life-time. This chronic, severe mental illness can be devastating for patients and their family and friends. Whether you’re a newly diagnosed patient with schizophrenia, or a friend or relative of someone suffering from this mental illness, this book offers help. Completely revised and updated, 100 Questions & Answers About Schizophrenia: Painful Minds, Second Edition gives you authoritative, practical answers to your questions about treatment options, sources of support, and much more. Written by an expert on the subject, and including a foreword by parents of a person with schizophrenia, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone coping with the physical and emotional turmoil of schizophrenia.”
  • Fountain House: Creating Community in Mental Health Practice
    by Alan Doyle and Julius Lanoil “Since 1948, people suffering from mental health issues, mental health professionals, and committed volunteers have gathered at Fountain House in New York City to find relief from stigmatization and social alienation. Its “working community” approach has earned the organization vast critical recognition, enabling it to replicate its methods across the world. This volume describes the humanity, social inclusivity, personal empowerment, and perpetual innovation of the Fountain House approach. Evidence-based, cost-effective, and transferable, this model achieves crosscultural results by supporting the principles of personal choice, professional and patient collaboration, and the need to be needed, achieving substantive outcomes in employment, schooling, housing, and general wellness.”
  • I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment. 10th Anniversary Edition.
    by Xavier Amador “’This book fills a tremendous void…’ wrote E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., about the first edition of I AM NOT SICK, I Don’t Need Help! Ten years later, it still does. Dr. Amador’s research on poor insight was inspired by his attempts to help his brother Henry, who developed schizophrenia, accept treatment. Like tens of millions of others diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Henry did not believe he was ill. In this latest edition, 6 new chapters have been added, new research on anosognosia (lack of insight) is presented and new advice, relying on lessons learned from thousands of LEAP seminar participants, is given to help readers quickly and effectively use Dr. Amador s method for helping someone accept treatment. I AM NOT SICK, I Don’t Need Help! is not just a reference for mental health practitioners or law enforcement professionals. It is a must-read guide for family members whose loved ones are battling mental illness. Read and learn as have hundreds of thousands of others…to LEAP-Listen, Empathize, Agree, and Partner-and help your patients and loved ones accept the treatment they need.”


I invite you to add your own favorite books about schizophrenia in the comments.

In Health,

William Jiang, MLS


Kindle books 99 cents!

Kindle Books 99 cents!

Kindle books 99 Cents
Author, William Jiang, MLS

Kindle books 99 cents that you’d actually want to read? Yes! I was one of the Library Chiefs over at Columbia Psychiatry / New York State Psychiatric Institute for almost a decade, and from that career path I decided to write books about mental health and wellness. My Amazon Kindle books have been selling quite well over the years at $9.99 and up. My books have ranked at #1 in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Australia, and Japan. However, because I want to reach as many people as possible with my knowledge of mental health, language acquisition, e-commerce, and literature, I’m practically giving away all my Kindle titles now for only 99 cents. I can not sell them for less! Amazon will not let me! I’m also giving away all of my paperback books and audiobooks  for the lowest prices Amazon is allow me to sell them. My Kindle Books for 99 cents are written in English, Spanish, and French. The titles that are available follow:

English Kindle Books 99 cents

  1. A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of HopeSchizophrenia, Diabetes, and CAM
  2. Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies
  3. A Historical Reader: The New York Times and Madness, 1851-1922
  4. How to Shop Online like A Boss: How to do Online Consumer shopping Right in the United States
  5. The Medical Librarian’s Guide to the Best Medicine in America
  6. Healthy Body, Healthy Mind (Annotated): The Medical Librarian’s Guide
  7. The English Virtual Library
  8. Tackling Spanish the Easy Way
  9. Tackling French The Easy Way
  10. Tackling Portuguese the Easy Way
  11. My Personal Facebook Wall: 2011-2014: Sex, Lies, and My Wild and Crazy Life in New York City: A Coffee Table Book
  12. Facets of the Mind: Assorted Poetry and Prose of William Jiang, MLS

Spanish Kindle Books 99 centsbest books about schizophrenia

  1. Entre la Esquizofrenia y Mi Voluntad: Una Historia de Locura y Esperanza
  2. Inglés Fácilmente
  3. La Guía del Bibliotecario Médico: Sobre las Ciberadicciones
  4. La guía del Bibliotecario Médico: Ansiedad, Depresión, Bipolar, y Esquizofrenia: Nutrición y Terapias Complementarias
  5. La Guía del Bibliotecario Médico: la Mejor Medicina en los Estados Unidos

Kindle Books 99 centsshopping online like a boss

  1. Un Homme New Yorkais avec la Schizophrenie: Une Autobiographie

I invite you to visit my Amazon Author Page at


Reviews of Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies

natural mental health book
By P. Benson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 11, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This was a very informative book. Frankly, the statistics regarding deteriorating mental health were staggering. This book is more of a distilled version that gives you just the facts without any fluff. I would recommend this book to any reader concerned with their own mental health or seeking info for family or friends.

The focus of the book are the mental conditions themselves and the natural therapies that help them. I found the information to be well-researched. So much of it is just common sense but the book explains why it can work.

The book was refreshing and hopeful and contained so many outside resources, like support groups. Readers looking for an alternative treatment to medications should have a look at this book to get some new ideas.
5 Stars Guide to Natural Mental Health
By arkyon June 11, 2015
Format: Audible Audio Edition
Many of these mental disorders exist in my home and I wanted to get this book to help me to understand some of the natural ways to prevent these disorders from ever happening. I liked how the book showed how religion, exercise and staying active can keep you from getting depression and some of the other disorders. The book also talks about some of the negative effects of video games and how they can hurt your mind in the long term if played too long. I’m a big believer in natural health and curing things naturally. I loved this book and everything that it taught me. It’s very informative and explains things in a way that is easily understandable. This is a book that I would recommend to others who are suffering from mental disorders or know someone who is.

5 Stars- Great info in mental health
By padma on December 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mental illness is a widespread problem than most people realize it to be. Let’s face it. Either you recognized the symptoms in yourself or know someone afflicted with autism or depression or diabetes — the by products of modern lifestyle. With an younger brother diagnosed with autism, I was curious to know about the underlying factors. More importantly, what can you do about it? This was something pondering me for a long time. I believe I now have an much better understanding – thanks to this book, which busts a number of myths about mental illness. I found this book quite comprehensive and ‘readable’ compared to similar books on the topic. I always knew there were health benefits in natural therapies like yoga and mediation, but know I know why.

5 Stars Fantastic book, a must-read for everyone concerned about their mental health
By Dora Farkas “Author, “The Smart Way to Your Ph.D.””on December 4, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I highly recommend this book to everyone who has ever experienced anxiety and depression. The author goes into depth to explain the scientific background for each of the strategies, yet the book is very easy to read and has many easy-to-implement tips.

As a coach for graduate students, I believe this book is an essential read for students and their parents. Given how much time students spend on computers and mobile devices, they might develop symptoms of digital addiction without realizing it. While most students need computers to complete their work, this book includes simple strategies to reduce the symptoms of digital addiction which include depression, anxiety, and poor sleep.

I was very impressed by the section on depression, because it includes a plethora of natural and inexpensive remedies, that could complement traditional Western Medicine.

Overall, the book is very well-written. It is clear that the author planned it with the reader in mind, as all the sections complement each other, so it is a fantastic reference for mental health patients and their families.
5 Stars- `Socialization is very important for everyone, and people with schizophrenia are no exception.’
ByGrady HarpHALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
For those new to the name William Jiang, his following book is highly recommended: `A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope’ William Jiang was the Chief Librarian of the New York State Psychiatric Institute Patient and Family Library, affiliated with Columbia University, for seven years. This book focuses on the knowledge about Complementary and Alternative Health treatments for select mental issues that he gleaned over seven years of following the mental health literature during that time. The thrust of the book is mental health, nutrition, and complementary therapies.

In one of the more comprehensive books written to date about natural treatments of mental health deviations form the norm, William Jiang makes it abundantly clear how each of the many mental health problems that grow in number daily can be approached form a natural manner. In addition to the usual problems we would expect to be discussed, Jiang offers an enlightening look at Digital Addiction – and the book is well worth purchasing simply for this very valid approach.
The topics covered are as follows: Mental Health in General: Grandma was Right (an hilarious but very on target opener!), About Digital Addiction: Video Games and Depression: A Dangerous Mix, Video Game Addiction, Internet Addiction Can Physically Harm the Brain, Facebook Addiction Correlates to Time Spent on Facebook, Severe Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia and Other Problems, Misuse of Light and Depression, Internet Pornography Addiction, Smartphone Addiction,

Texting Addiction, A strategy to combat digital addition; About Depression -Omega-3s and Depression, Prevention, Vitamin D and Depression, Antioxidants and Depression, Saint John’s Wort and Depression, SAM-e for depression Reviewed along with Omega-3s and St. John’s Wort, Meditation and Yoga for Workplace Depression and Anxiety, Yoga Breathing for Depression, Prayer and Depression, Prayer and a Stronger Brain, Sleep and Depression, Chronotherapeutics and Depression, Exercise and General Mental Health, Running as an Antidepressant, The Air We Breathe and Depression, Significant Others and Depression, Laughter and Depression, Pets and Depression, Antacids and Depression, Nuts and Berries and Depression, NAMI & MDSG; About Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar and Magnesium, Bipolar and Omega-3s, Bipolar and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), Chronotherapeutics and Bipolar, Meditation for Bipolar Anxiety, Sleep Hygiene and Bipolar Disorder; About Anxiety – Omega-3s and Anxiety, Exercise, Meditation, and Yoga for Anxiety, Earthing and Anxiety, Aromatherapy and Anxiety, Exercise for the Treatment of Anxiety, Music and Anxiety, Laughter and Anxiety; About Schizophrenia – Omega-3s and Schizophrenia, Marijuana and Schizophrenia, Magnesium and Myelination, Glutathione and Psychiatric Medications, Exercise and Schizophrenia, Nutrition and Weight Management, Eating Right and Schizophrenia: Nuts, Dark Chocolate and Weight Loss, Fiber and Weight Management, The Mediterranean diet and Keeping a Healthy Weight, The Asian Diet and Maintaining a Healthy Weight, Brain Training and Schizophrenia, Theanine and Schizophrenia, Meditation and Schizophrenia, Metformin and Weight Gain, The Role of Milk Thistle in Helping Fatty Liver in People who take Antipsychotic Medications, Inflammation and Schizophrenia, Pets and Schizophrenia, Socialization and Avoiding Isolation, and Work and Education.

Jiang writes very well and offers a different perspective on how to think about and how to cope with and how to treat or prevent mental disorders. Health is his goal and he presents it well. As he states at the end of the book, `As technology gets more and more into our bones, we are losing some of the natural rhythms of life. Despite being indoors in climate-controlled environments, our minds and bodies are still inexorably linked to the changing of the seasons.’
Grady Harp, November 14

Paranoid Schizophrenic Biography- A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope

Paranoid Schizophrenic Biography?

What people are saying about A Schizophrenic Will: A Stparanoid schizophrenia bookory of Madness, A Story of Hope

on June 12, 2015
As a retired social worker, I found it so enlightening to read about what paranoid schizophrenia felt like for this most intelligent,determined and insightful young man. I hope he continues to write about his experiences. I have always believed in and practiced the psycho-educational treatment approach that he supports.
on May 18, 2015
Great book! Fast paced and a deep look inside what was happening for Will during this time. Encourage others to read!!
on January 9, 2015
I enjoyed reading this book because it was such a hopeful story. It showed how a young man struggling with the disease of schizophrenia was able to overcome his symptoms to such ans extent that he was able to succeed with his life goals. The candid honesty could be helpful to others who might be facing similar obstacles in their lives know that it is possible to move forward, and that perseverance can pay off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
William Jiang’s extraordinary chronicle of his life is at once arresting, horrifying, challenging and inspiring. Obviously Will Jiang is a brilliant young handsome man born prematurely to an Anglo-Saxon mother and an absentee Russian Jewish father and later adopted by his Chinese stepfather Yu Jiang: the inordinately touching memories of and tributes from his brothers Leaf, Chung and Justice as well as comments introduced in his preface form an impressive list of people attest tot the fact that this is a unique young man.But the reason this autobiography is so deeply moving is the fact that Will Jiang was diagnosed at age 19 as a paranoid schizophrenic and given the fact that he is well educated (has earned a BA and ad Masters of Library Science, speaks four languages, served as the Columbia University/NYSPI Medical Library Chief, and has written a number of fine books), the manner in which he is able to not report as a bystander the workings of the mind sinking into psychotic depths but instead relating tot the reader the feeling of that descent , treatment, horrors, and eventual recovery is nothing short of astonishing.This book takes us by the hand and walks us through the first suggestions of mental illness, plunges us into the moment by moment nightmares that assault the mind of a schizophrenic patient, makes us feel the effects of the medications and treatments, and then beckons us into the light and his own discovery of natural nutritional techniques that help heal the brain. It is an odyssey, reading this book, but it is also a journey lead by a guide who knows each aspect of it well.
Will Jiang writes so well that it is hoped he will embrace his gift for his literary talent and paranoid schizophrenia biographycontinue writing major works. He is an extraordinary man who is doing more to educate the public about the world of the mentally ill victims while providing a brilliant beacon of hope. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, August 14
on July 31, 2014
Interesting read. Will’s strength is truly impressive. He sets a good example for others with a mental illness; dreams can be fulfilled despite setbacks and struggles. Will had to overcome numerous obstacles, aside from schizophrenia, and he pushed through it all to attain his degrees.Another important lesson we gain can be seen in Will’s kindheartedness. The media falsely portrays people with schizophrenia as frightening, serial killers (a stereotype that has to end!). People with antisocial personality disorder flood our prisons- not those with schizophrenia.
This book really grabbed me after the first chapter. The first chapter was slow for me, but after that, the story flowed. I like this book as it gives first-person account of the illness of schizophrenia. Anyone with this disease can benefit from reading William Jiang’s account of his experiences.
5 Stars Right On
on April 4, 2014
I liked Will’s simple description of his early family life, his impoverished beginnings, his struggles to get his education and be successful, his psychotic break and hospitalization, his endorsement of using anti-psychotics to prevent future psychotic breakdowns with further mental deterioration. We have a 30 yr. old daughter with schizophrenia and are currently trying to assist her with getting into the “Ticket to Work” Program”. She would love to have an enjoyable job where she is contributing. Thanks for your insights, Will. Mary Ann
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on March 6, 2014
I have a roommate that is very dear to me that was diagnosed as schizophrenic. She became fearful of what the future would hold for her. This book gave her hope!!! She read it, her sister read it, her daughter is reading it, and I know it will not stop there till just about everyone in her life reads the book. This is a book worth reading and rereading.
on July 19, 2013
The book delves into a world that is terrifying and eye-opening, shedding light into the battle within oneself when dealing with schizophrenia. It later takes the audience through the stigmas and obstacles of trying to exist in “normal” society. It is a touching and inspiring guide to overcoming life’s unexpected and sometimes ugly challenges.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5 Stars Loved it!
on January 19, 2013
A captivating book that you will be deeply moved with each turn of the page. I promise you will love it and you won’t be able to put it down! I have two brothers and mother with the disease and found it informative and a moving account of his struggle. A must read if you have a loved one with mental illness.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2012
I’d like to tell you just enough to “look inside” this book so you may decide to buy it. At the beginning, when the protagonist’s symptoms begin, a gripping tale is told. You’ll want to read it over and over again to really understand what is happening to this young man’s mind as he slips into madness. The book presents a detailed, psychologically rich, character history in abnormal psychology. It is crafted in the first person narrative style, so the reader gets a good idea of how Will was feeling at all times. I think it’s a very inspiring autobiography, both for people living with mental illness as well as healthy individuals, professionals, and students. It’s especially inspiring for people who are looking for a “push” in their lives, because despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia Will does not, at any time stop fighting. His is resilient and overcomes so much. He is successful in handling his mental health and his professional life, and he does not let his illness control him. Rather, he handles his illness throughout the book and at the end of the book he is leading a normal life. It’s a very inspiring personal history which I highly recommend.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2012
This book was written in a unique way to give those suffering from mental issues some hope. It is not like everything will be perfectly all right, but that with correct meds and an ethic to do what is YOUR best, one can succeed. The author gave some insight into what was and is his life without the total drama that some books on mental illness would contain. Bravo!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2012
This autobiography about life coping with schizophrenia is an enjoyable and touching read. William Jiang’s story is well written and sincere, and it’s one of the best autobiographies I’ve read. I think many other readers will love it as well.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2011
I met Will when he started writing for me near the beginning of my tenure as Editor-in Chief of the independent newspaper New York City Voices. Today, he remains a faithful friend. The first half of his memoir is a gripping and sometimes deeply disturbing first-person narrative of the machinations of a seemingly hopelessly cracked mind. The second half of “A Schizophrenic Will” is a bold story of recovery that ends where Will is working full time as Chief Librarian of a prestigious medical library associated with Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute. After reading his biography, we feel that we have seen the challenging growth of a boy into a man, and although this man lives with schizophrenia, he is not so different. A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2011
A very powerful and frank autobiography that students, researchers, and clinicians will all find insightful and moving. As a researcher and teacher, I’ve made the book required reading to all my students and research assistants. The human cost of the disease is poignantly illustrated, but more than anything else, it is a story of finding oneself in the midst of tribulation and then of resurgence.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5 Stars Best Book
on January 2, 2011
As a professional who works with individuals with schizophrenia, I have had the opportunity to observe what Will wrote about first hand. He does an excellent job conveying the various symptoms and obstacles one faces. Will’s writing was superb and the way he handled each situation was remarkable. It is an honor to be a co-worker with Will at New York State Psychiatric Institute. I could not put the book down and recommend it to those who know a little or a lot about the illness. Thank you writing this book and sharing your story with others.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2010
I found this to be a very good book on how one man met his personal challenges, including a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, in a positive manner. The author’s intentions of helping others move forward shines through from each page; his story will inspire and encourage anyone combating the effects of mental illness. Possessing an abundance of sincerity and inner strength, William Jiang overcame many obstacles in order to attain an educated, independent, and self-supporting life. His courage to keep trying and not give up will give others the hope they need to start on their journey to creating a full and satisfying life.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2010
This is a fantastic story about challanging battle against mental illness. I think that an average reader can easily comprehend the struggle of living with schizophrenia and overcomimg the most debilitating symptoms. Great, moving story and a valuable resource – one that I will often utilize in my clinical work with psychiatric population.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2010
This a wonderful book that I recommend to all people with Mental Illness. Will writes in a way that helps you identify with the main character, taking the reader on a journey of what it is like to be schizophrenic. It is such a personal story and very touching. It has helped me to learn a great deal, including ways of prevention. I often reference the book professionaly as a Senior Occupational Therapist when working with patients with schizophrenia at New York State Psychiatric Institute.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2010
I found this book to be one of great courage and inspiration for anyone with or without a mental illness. I think it would be a great book to discuss at book clubs and support groups, not just groups for those with mental illness, but any support group in general.

Get your copy of A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope

Behavioral Therapists: A Must Read

Most recent review: behavioral therapistsFive Stars, A Must read for Behavioral Therapists.

By Michael Dinittoon March 22, 2015
Format: Paperback
As an MST and family therapist I found this to be a very helpful and informative book. This book was able to bring to light some of the basic causes of the problems that I have previously over looked. Before this book I never thought of how the child who sits on Instagram or Facebook at night was resetting their brain to think it was daylight. This is definitely a must read for anyone who is interested in behavioral focused treatments.
Check out the 3rd, new, updated edition of the “Guide” here:

Kindle books in the top 100: About Schizophrenia

Amazon Kindle books in the top 100: Schizophrenia

Two of my mental health books have been popular on Amazon this weekend. Due to some Twittering, I had two Amazon Kindle books in the category of books about schizophrenia. My autobiography, A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope peaked in the top 40, and my Guide to Natural Mental Health: Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, and Digital Addiction: Nutrition, and Complementary Therapies Peaked at number 49. I have included a screenshot of “Guide” at #84 and Schizophrenic Will hanging in there at #100, late  Sunday.

Amazon Kindle books in the top 100: Schizophrenia
Amazon Kindle books in the top 100: Schizophrenia

From September 19, 2014: A Schizophrenic Will is Ranked #1 on Amazon in Schizophrenia Biography

News Flash, Schizophrenia memoir A Schizophrenic Will is in good company, ranked worldwide on at the top alongside The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks!

Read about Amazon top-ranked, true and inspirational story of a remarkable young man and the love of his life. First, he achieves amazing academic success at a highly competitive university in applied mathematics, science and literature, and then at the age of nineteen, he dives into a deep descent into the depths of the madness of schizophrenia. He holds on to hope, and his subsequent personal journey of recovery is inspiring!
A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope at the top of the heap on the world’s largest bookstore,! Thank you!…
By William Jiang, MLS
The movie A Beautiful Mind, is one of my favorite films of any genre and time. After picking up the book of the same title as the movie, the true story of Mr John Nash, I was inspired to learn the programming language Perl. I wrote a thousand one line Perl program that allowed me to make websites extremely fast. This proprietary program I wrote allowed me to do in 2 hours 10 times the amount of work that would otherwise possible. Anyway, I digress.
So, I’m always curious, and I wanted to see how my memoir is doing in relation to my idol’s. It turns out that my biography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope has earned an average of 4.6 stars out of 5 stars on, whereas the iconic biography, A Beautiful Mind has a mean rating of 4.3 stars. What?!?!?
Here is the list and rankings of the current five bestselling biographical books about schizophrenia on

  • The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness Paperback – August 12, 2008 by Elyn R. Saks (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 513 ratings | 303 reviews
  • The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness Paperback – January 1, 1996 by Lori Schiller (Author), Amanda Bennett (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 255 ratings | 155 reviews
  • January First: A Child’s Descent into Madness and Her Father’s Struggle to Save Her Paperback – August 6, 2013 by Michael Schofield (Author) 4.3 out of 5 stars 582 ratings | 371 reviews
  • A Beautiful Mind Paperback – July 12, 2011 by Sylvia Nasar (Author) 4.3 out of 5 stars 378 ratings | 349 reviews
  • Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia Paperback – August 8, 2006 by Carolyn Spiro (Author), Pamela Spiro Wagner (Author) 4.3 out of 5 stars 136 ratings | 69 reviews

And here is little ol me:

So, looking at these statistics, I feel my book has a lot more potential at this point to reach millions of more people than it already has. I am humbled and flabbergasted after finding out that my Stars rating is so high. Thank you to all my readers! I hope I will be part of the effort to educate many, in the years to come, God willing.


Jennifer Connelly Visits NYSPI Library for Role in Virginia (2012)


Academy Award Winner Jennifer Connelly Visits Patient Library for Role in Virginia

From the Fall 2009 NYSPI Patient Library Newsletter:

I was asked the day before Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Connelly visited PI if I would meet with her. The opportunity to meet the actress who portrayed John Nash’s wife in the award-winning movie A Beautiful Mind amazed me. Of course, I said yes. The evening before her visit, it was difficult for me to sleep because I was excited.

Jennifer Connelly When Ms. Connelly arrived shortly after 10:30 am, I was ready to be as helpful to her as I could. She was to meet the director of NYSPI, Dr. Lieberman, after she left me, so I wanted our time together to be productive. It turned out she was studying for the lead role in the forthcoming movie, What’s Wrong with Virginia, where she will be playing an emotionally disturbed woman. Because of my personal battle with schizophrenia, she wanted to meet me. I answered some initial questions she had, then showed her some videos which featured me: AstraZeneca’s More Success Stories and our Spanishlanguage psychoeducational film, ¿Qué es la Esquizofrenia?. I was going to offer her a copy of my autobiography, A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope ,but she had already started reading an electronic copy. Then I answered a slew of other questions she had, and mentioned our community event for the film Canvas, which was of interest to her. Finally, I showed her other print and video resources she could use to learn about schizophrenia, and gave her a NARSAD pamphlet on the subject. She told me a bit about the film, and I was happy to learn about the complexity and humanity of her role. At the end of our hour together, she thanked me for my time, and I told her it was a pleasure to meet her.

In retrospect, I was struck by her down-to-earth manner, intelligence, and genuine interest in learning more about schizophrenia as one facet of the human condition. I look forward to seeing her on the silver screen.


About Mr. Jiang: Schizophrenic. Psychotic. Insane. Too many people associate these words with murderer, useless, hopeless, and bum. Meet Will. At 19 he had his first psychotic break with reality. Afterwards, he had to re-learn his place in the world. He went from being a vibrant and gifted university senior, to being a mental patient on a locked ward for whom life was laborious and chaotic. In the beginning, he had to learn to cope with reality again minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, then year by year. Much later, after years of being a medical librarian, he was able to unlock some of his own brain’s healing potential using natural nutritional techniques. Now, at 41, his list of life accomplishments is impressive. Author of 13 popular Kindle books. Former Columbia University/NYSPI Medical Library Chief. Designer. Speaker of English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

His critically-acclaimed autobiography is “A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope“. Mr Jiang and his intense 20+ year struggle with schizophrenia is iconoclastic because he challenges us to think differently about stereotypes of mental illness. Most movies and media news paint one-dimensional, thinly drawn caricatures of mentally ill people, instilling fear. Refreshingly, words that could describe Mr. Jiang’s life and work include: brilliant, passionate, artistic, profound, knowledgeable, inspirational, and even “wise teacher”.

William Jiang BA MLS Mental Health Author and Advocate
Facebook Group: Living Well With Schizophrenia
Author Blog:
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