“If You Don’t Kill Yourself, You’re Saving Someone Else’s Life”

Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It, describes the contagion effect that spreads to the family, friends, and even strangers of people who kill themselves, making it more likely that they’ll follow suit:

From her bio:

Jennifer Michael Hecht is a poet, philosopher, historian and commentator. She is the author of the bestseller Doubt: A History, a history of religious and philosophical doubt all over the world, throughout history. Her new book is Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It, out from Yale University Press. Her The Happiness Myth brings a historical eye to modern wisdom about how to lead a good life.  Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won Phi Beta Kappa’s 2004 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “For scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.”

The Dish featured the arguments of Stay here and Hecht’s ideas about atheism here and here – part of a thread asking, “Where are all the female atheists?” Popova loved Stay, calling the book “more than a must-read — it’s a cultural necessity.”