Depression is a crippling and often misunderstood disorder in today's society. While many people advocate a purely medical model of this problem (and label it a "disease," like cancer), others find it more helpful to explore the depths of depression and other possible causes. Since medication isn't right for everyone with this disorder, and not everyone can afford to attend weekly therapy sessions, David Burns has written a book for those people looking to help themselves through this disorder.
This excellent how-to manual leads people who are depressed on a journey of understanding and self-discovery. Beginning with an easy to read and understand overview of the cognitive theory of what causes people to become depressed, it goes on to discuss the multitude of methods and techniques used to help treat depression. You don't have to believe in everything the cognitive theory of depression tells us about this disorder to attain a great deal of benefit from the techniques found throughout the book. The daily homework assignments coupled with the elaboration of the kinds of cognitive mistakes everyone makes everyday (for instance, overgeneralizing one bad thing which happens to you to mean that you are a bad person) are especially helpful. It is really chock full of useful and down-to-earth explanations and things which people can do everyday to try and help themselves. Based upon Aaron Beck's cognitive work in researching depression.
This book is on my bookshelf for good reason. It is not only a good read once, but you can pick it up time and time again to reference and refer to items which you may have forgotten. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is currently suffering for depression, or as a gift to someone who you know is suffering from this terrible disorder. While not everything in it may make sense to everyone who reads it, there is really something for almost anybody who suffers from depression.