The Antidote

The Antidote

Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking

eBook - 2012
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The Antidote: Happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking is an exploration of a radically new path to happiness. In an approach that turns decades of self-help advice on its head, Oliver Burkeman explains why positive thinking serves only to make us more miserable, and why 'getting motivated' can exacerbate procrastination. Comparing the personal philosophies of dozens of 'happy' people - among them philosophers and experimental psychologists, Buddhists and terrorism experts, New Age dreamers and hard-headed business consultants - Burkeman uncovers some common ground. They all believe that there is an alternative 'negative path' to happiness and success that involves coming face-to-face with, even embracing, precisely the things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Burkeman concedes that in our personal lives and the world at large, it's our constant efforts to eliminate the negative - uncertainty, unhappiness, failure - that cause us to feel so anxious, insecure and unhappy. Hilarious and compulsively readable, The Antidote will have you on the road to happiness in no time. Oliver Burkeman is a feature writer for the Guardian. He is a winner of the Foreign Press Association's Young Journalist of the Year award, and has been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the What The Papers Say Feature Writer of the Year award. He writes a popular weekly column on psychology, 'This Column Will Change Your Life', and has reported from London, Washington and New York. His work has also appeared in Esquire, Elle, GQ, the Observer and the New Republic. He was born in Liverpool in 1975. He holds a degree in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. 'Burkeman isn't writing a treatise: his book is squarely aimed at those who can smell the snake-oil in self-help, and who are looking for alternatives. Burkeman advocates for a kind of serenity - a realistic happiness - rather than the fist-pumping exhilaration touted by the New Agers. Go Him.' Weekend Press/Dominion Post/Waikato Daily Times 'Quietly subversive, beautifully written, persuasive and profound, Oliver Burkeman's book will make you think - and smile.' Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland '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.' Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human 'Addictive, wise and very funny. Burkeman never takes himself too seriously, but the rest of us should.' Tim Harford, author of Adapt and The Undercover Economist '[Oliver Burkeman's] thoughts about the perils of trying too hard to be happy, the art of confronting the worst-case scenario, and the lunacy of goal-setting make a lot of sense. The idea that embracing failure pessimism and insecurity may produce a more satisfying alternative to positive thinking may sound counter-intuitive, but it's liberating.' Herald Sun 'This is a refreshing book that has the ability to make a reader feel calmer about their own state of mind, if not, dare I say it? Happier.' Sunday Mail 'Erudite and liberating.' Men's Health 'This is a self-help book for people who don't like self-help books, and a thoughtful, eminently readable celebration of negative thinking.' ...
Publisher: 2012.
ISBN: 9781921921483
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Jan 21, 2016

Absolutely loved this book. It is potentially life changing if you absorb its messages and apply them in your quest for happiness.

The premise is that there is a path to happiness in knowing that your reaction to events, not the events themselves is what counts (the Stoic philosophy). Being able to observe the inner weather of emotions and thoughts is key to understanding that they need not dictate your actions (a truth of Buddhism). These two principles are key to stopping the “irritable reaching” after better circumstances, thoughts and feelings. You can move forward with a project or with life without sharply defined goals. You should dare to inspect your failures. Stop trying to eliminate feelings of insecurity and put aside motivation techniques in favour of just getting stuff done. You should practice memento mori (remembering death) to sweeten the experiences of life. Refrain from too much effortful struggling and instead look for balance and moderation. The happiness that you seek can accommodate negative as well as positive emotions. It is a journey, rather than a destination.

Jan 16, 2016

Quick read, but powerful and deeply inspiring. Rather than ignoring the negative side of life, this book offers an alternative path to true comfort, acceptance, and security in an insecure world.
Recommended for anyone who can't bear to stomach another bubbly over-the-top totally unrealistic self-help book.

Apr 21, 2015

Is it not possible to delete comments? I was trying to comment on a different book.

Mar 16, 2015

Very good book for the "realistically inclined."

Apr 08, 2013

I first heard oliver burkeman being interview by kim hill a couple of years ago and what drew me to listening was his humour around a topic that adherents often take so seriously. His writing is delivered with the same humour while constructing and offering a very well researched counter opinion to the usual norm of thinking positively. well worth reading-especially if you are a person who has perhaps been sceptical about positive thinking as a default position to take on life's events.

ksoles Feb 18, 2013

In "The Antidote," British journalist Oliver Burkeman asserts that one cannot achieve happiness through the clichés of positive thinking, motivational pep talks and narrowly-focused goal setting. Instead, living a fulfilling life requires embracing both uncertainty and negative thoughts. In eight chapters, readers meet Stoics, Buddhists and other philosophers all of whom possess "a willingness to...pause and take a step back; to turn to face what others might flee from."

Burkeman does not intend to offer fool-proof rules for a happy life. He thoughtfully and thoroughly explores topics often shied away from and arrives at wise advice. This fresh and readable book offers humour, anecdotes and a powerfully sustained thesis.

hgeng63 Dec 31, 2012

Do you think about those worse off than you so you can feel better? Does making goals make you more anxious? Then this bk is for you!--and for people who really don't like self-help bks. (Though some parts of it made me squeeze my head to get around the topics.)

Oct 16, 2012

Interesting book that makes you look critically at the current emphasis on positive thinking.

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