Side effects are things we do not intend. And, in this collection of essays, Adam Phillips examines how the things we don't mean, or mean perhaps to forget, prove to be those that are often most telling about our unconscious lives. Phillips also intends for us to question our conscious pursuit of happiness, explaining that, in refusing to admit and explore life's down sides, we can only be living half lives. And through his unique and incisive exploration of literature, Phillips also demonstrates what the great novelists have to tell us about ourselves. Both illuminating and fascinating on literature as well as life, Side Effects maps our edges as human beings, and, in doing so, goes some way to helping give shape to our lives.