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The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking


The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking Cover

ISBN13: 9780865479418
ISBN10: 0865479410
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Trudy Olson, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Trudy Olson)
This book distills all my intuitive resistance to positive thinking self-help into well researched and easily understood bites of philosophy.

I have literally cleared out an entire shelf of self-help-sunshine books and in their place rests this little tome. Just being able to send all of those books on their way has added a bit of tranquility to my life.
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Lara Gardner, January 26, 2013 (view all comments by Lara Gardner)
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking is an amazing and delightful book that artfully guides us toward the idea that our human desire to stamp out all negative and unpleasant emotions and experiences actually leads us directly to misery. This book is utterly readable, and filled with fascinating facts and history. Best of all, it is sprinkled throughout with incredible wit and irony. On several occasions I burst into delighted laughter at an unexpected passage in the narrative. I especially enjoyed being invited along on the author's own journey to take his own advice. I couldn't recommend this book more.
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grailseven, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by grailseven)
An exceptional book - a breath of fresh air in a congested sea of self-help books. Burkeman writes about historical precedents for a more balanced outlook on optimism and pessimism. Fans of Burkeman's column "This Column Will Change Your Life" will find plenty to sink their teeth into here.
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Product Details

Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
Burkeman, Oliver
Faber & Faber
Anthropology - Cultural
Applied Psychology
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
8.25 x -1 in

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The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking Used Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Faber & Faber - English 9780865479418 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This is a self-help book for cynics. Guardian feature writer Burkeman (Help!) makes the compelling observation that even with the mass production of books on attaining happiness, the collective mood has failed to rise. It has, if anything, fallen. Burkeman's aim is to endorse a 'negative' path to happiness, a route in which happiness is no longer the final destination because serenity is not a fixed state, and trying so hard to be happy is part of what makes us so miserable. Burkeman balances the ideas of the deepest thinkers, thoughts on mortality, and his own foray into Buddhist meditation with tremendously funny anecdotes about the antics of motivational convention attendees and his humiliating attempts at stoicism on the London subway. The version of 'happiness' that emerges has no clear set of steps, rather a calm (yet admirably comical) shift from the happy human being to the human who is, simply, being. None of this is new, but Burkeman's ability to present sentiments in fresh, delightfully sarcastic packaging will appeal to the happy, the unhappy, and those who have already found a peaceful middle ground. Agent: Claire Conrad, Janklow & Nesbit." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "The Antidote is a gem. Countering a self-help tradition in which 'positive thinking too often takes the place of actual thinking,' Oliver Burkeman returns our attention to several of philosophy's deeper traditions and does so with a light hand and a wry sense of humor. You'll come away from this book enriched — and, yes, even a little happier."
"Review" by , "Addictive, wise and very funny. Burkeman never takes himself too seriously, but the rest of us should."
"Review" by , "Quietly subversive, beautifully written, persuasive and profound, Oliver Burkeman's book will make you think — and smile."
"Review" by , "What unites [Burkemans] travels, and seems to drive the various characters he meets, from modern-day Stoics to business consultants, is disillusionment with a patently false idea that something as complex as the goal of human happiness can be found by looking in a book....It's a simple idea, but an exhilarating and satisfying one."
"Review" by , "This is an excellent book; Burkeman makes us see that our current approach, in which we want happiness but search for certainty — often in the shape of material goods — is counterproductive."
"Review" by , "Fascinating....After years spent consulting specialists — from psychologists to philosophers and even Buddhists — Burkeman realised they all agreed on one thing:... in order to be truly happy, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions—or, at least, to learn to stop running so hard from them."
"Review" by , "Splendid....Readable and engaging."
"Synopsis" by , The Antidote is a series of journeys among people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. What they have in common is a hunch about human psychology: that its our constant effort to eliminate the negative that causes us to feel so anxious, insecure, and unhappy. And that there is an alternative "negative path" to happiness and success that involves embracing the things we spend our lives trying to avoid. It is a subversive, galvanizing message, which turns out to have a long and distinguished philosophical lineage ranging from ancient Roman Stoic philosophers to Buddhists. Oliver Burkeman talks to life coaches paid to make their clients lives a living hell, and to maverick security experts such as Bruce Scheier, who contends that the changes weve made to airport and aircraft security since the 9/11 attacks have actually made us less safe. And then there are the "backwards" business gurus, who suggest not having any goals at all and not planning for a company's future.

Burkeman's new book is a witty, fascinating, and counterintuitive read that turns decades of self-help advice on its head and forces us to rethink completely our attitudes toward failure, uncertainty, and death.

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