What happens in your body and brain during ‘burnout’ and how to recover

Brankele Frank thought she could do it all. Combining a career as a neurobiologist with a job as a strategic consultant for McKinsey? Writing for newspapers and magazines? No problem, there was still enough time for a triathlon. But when her life comes to a screeching halt her first concern is recovery. After a while, Frank begins to search for answers.

Brankele Frank
Original title
Over de kop

What does one experience during burnout? Frank starts thinking about her experiences from a scientific point of view. She is, after all, a neurobiologist, interested in the human brain and its limitations. The decision to write a book about her experiences turns out to be much more difficult than she thought. It is some time before she dares to admit to herself that writing the book has triggered a second collapse.

At this point, the story becomes heart-wrenching to read. Frank is still looking for scientific answers, but her search turns into something personal. The result is a lucid study of her brain, as well as an analysis of a widespread phenomenon. Frank writes with gusto and humour, though the tone is serious when she realises she may never completely recover. Not only a book about stress and the immune system, Headstrong is an indictment of our performance-driven society.

  • A neurobiologist crashes and burns, not once but twice

  • Deeply personal and thoroughly scientific memoir about the price of success

  • Physical and mental collapse due to overwork is becoming increasingly common

Year of publication

Page count

Das Mag

Sebes & Bisseling
Rik Kleuver

Paul Sebes

Sample translation available

A thorough analysis of international scientific literature, written like a gripping whodunnit, in a drily humorous style.

Het Parool

Neurobiologist Brankele Frank finds out what burnout really means for body and mind.

Brankele Frank
Brankele Frank (b. 1987) studied neurobiology in Amsterdam, London and Paris. She has written for Dutch newspapers and magazines including 'NRC' and 'Vrij Nederland', and taught at the University of Amsterdam. She also worked for McKinsey and was a member of the management team at ARTIS Amsterdam Zoo.
Part ofNon-Fiction
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