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

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive ThinkingSelf Help Books Don T Seem To Work Few Of The Many Advantages Of Modern Life Seem Capable Of Lifting Our Collective Mood Wealth Even If You Can Get It Doesn T Necessarily Lead To Happiness Romance, Family Life, And Work Often Bring As Much Stress As Joy We Can T Even Agree On What Happiness Means So Are We Engaged In A Futile Pursuit Or Are We Just Going About It The Wrong Way Looking Both East And West, In Bulletins From The Past And From Far Afield, Oliver Burkeman Introduces Us To An Unusual Group Of People Who Share A Single, Surprising Way Of Thinking About Life Whether Experimental Psychologists, Terrorism Experts, Buddhists, Hardheaded Business Consultants, Greek Philosophers, Or Modern Day Gurus, They Argue That In Our Personal Lives, And In Society At Large, It S Our Constant Effort To Be Happy That Is Making Us Miserable And That There Is An Alternative Path To Happiness And Success That Involves Embracing Failure, Pessimism, Insecurity, And Uncertainty The Very Things We Spend Our Lives Trying To Avoid Thought Provoking, Counterintuitive, And Ultimately Uplifting, The Antidote Is The Intelligent Person S Guide To Understanding The Much Misunderstood Idea Of Happiness. Murphy s Law symbolize the error prone nature of people and processes This book shows how possibly the culture of positive thinking and cult of optimism can go wrong and how Murphy s law is applicable to it Anything that can go wrong, will.The book remains true to its title It is really meant for the people who can t stand positive thinking , cult of optimism kind of approaches to happiness What this book does is that it shows a new and counter intuitive approach to happiness NEGATIVE PATH to HAPPINESS The negative path to happiness involves embracing failures, insecurity and uncertainty in one s life.The best thing I liked about the book is that the way in which author has shown the limits, disadvantages and futility of these popular cult of positive thinking and optimism kind of approaches without being sarcastic p.To quote an example from book It is not certitude, comfort or any desired mental state such as, calm as we normally think of them, but rather the strange, excited comfort of being presented with, and grappling with, the tremendous mysteries life offers U
This might be the only so called self help book that includes a quote from The Wire at the beginning of a chapter and surely that s a good sign.I m not someone who reads a lot of self help books I don t read them at all, really, though living in Southern California for a couple decades meant inevitable contact with self help gurus and enthusiasts Positive thinking, visualization and imitating the habits of successful people have always struck me as somehow deficient tactics but I never really bothered to think through my objections with any degree of thoroughness let alone formulate an alternative In fact, if anything, I have been prone to blaming myself for not feeling able to buy into such ideas.I would have been content if this book had been what I expected an acerbic expose of self help hokum Instead, it proved to be much a cogent synthesis of a number of philosophical and psychological notions and approaches that offer a healthier, realistic, way of living a happier life Drawing from Stoicism the real thing, not the straw man version most of us hear about , Buddhism, and psychological studies that are critical of so called positive thinking, what I found most striking about The Antidote was how often it seemed to articulate and complete my own half formed ideas Forcing yourself to think positive often makes failure that much devastating
Curmudgeonly Brit that I am, I enjoyed this book a lot I read it at a gallop I found it wonderfully provocative I could have filled its margins with comments, heavily pressed into the paper, and accompanied by lots of exclamation marks The general drift of the book is that the roaring ra ra ra of positive thinking does not work Day by day, in every way, we are NOT getting better and better The author, Oliver Burkeman, a Guardian journalist covering psychology, says that instead we need to cultivate an attitude of reasonable pessimism We need to distance ourselves from the ructions of our emotions and embrace the essence of the human condition uncertainty and death Surprisingly, he feels, therein lies the path to happiness or at least the path to detachment, acceptance and contentment.He discusses the Stoics, Buddhist philosophies and practices, and societies which embrace uncertainty rather than avoiding it He talks of the merits of meditation, and of our current misplaced obsession with setting ourselves goals.He also interestingly talks a lot about how most self help books try and change our mindset If we procrastinateself help books will give us
People often remark on how happy I always appear most of the time I have a smile on my face And I must admit that my moods are fairly stable But I m definitely not one for always looking on the bright side of life, and I wouldn t call myself an optimist at all I m also very sceptical, especially about psychological strategies to get the most out of life I have encountered postive psychology in my education studies and while I must admit that some aspects my be helpful, I cringe at the whole put a smile on your face and deal with it kind of attitude Positive psychological strategies come across as selfish, ignorant and just plain putting your head in the sand sometimes.So I came across this book on Audible and gave the demo a listen The narrator, also the author, was not annoying and the short piece seemed to be intelligent Therefore, on a whim, I purchased it This book is a pleasant surprise and helped me expand on my own personal psychological beliefs and consolidate others It seems that I m a Stoic
What a clever and amusing and interesting and thoughtful book I need adjectives to describe how much I enjoyed this look at happiness in the modern world.Oliver Burkeman is a journalist who was skeptical of the cult of optimism, and he digs into the research on positive thinking and talks to various experts in the field The first thing he learns is that you can t suppress negative thoughts suppression doesn t work Whatever idea you are trying to squash down will only continue to pop up.One of my favorite chapters was about goal setting, and how becoming obsessed with achieving goals can sometimes have damaging consequences, such as a financial crisis, or in the case of some Mount Everest climbers, even death Another interesting chapter was on stoicism, and on recognizing that things could always be worse There were also good sections on overcoming fear of failure and embarrassment.There were so many fascinating parts of this book that I think I ll have to reread it I listened to this on audio, and I enjoyed Burkeman s narration I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in popular psychology research.Favorite Quote The point here is not that negative capability is always superior to the positive kind Optimism is wonderful goals can sometimes be useful even positive thinking and positive visualization have their benefit
This might be my favorite self help book of all time In a nutshell, rather than trying to force ourselves to be cheerful when we don t feel cheerful by thinking positively, it suggests we think of the worst thing that can happen and realize that whatever that worst thing is, it isn t likely to be the end of the world On procrastination, it suggests we stop trying to feel motivated and just do what we have to do moods and actions don t have to be related On goals, it explores whether goal striving brings happiness or might actually be counter productive As someone who has spent the last 30 years reading self help books with optimism of making meaningful changes that will transform me into the person I wish to be, this is a welcome change of pace Over the past few weeks, I ve been just accepting whatever mood I m in and
I used to do the lab work for a local group of oncologists, and one evening I heard someone crying in the waiting room The rest of the staff had left and the doctors were doing rounds, so I went to see what was going on I found a patient sitting there, crying quietly She had been in remission twice, but had recently relapsed She said she needed to talk to one of the doctors because she didn t know what she was doing wrong When we talked further, she said she had been using some visualization tapes, where you are directed to imagine that lasers or your vigilante white cells are killing your tumor She had also been using some positive thinking for cancer patients tapes where you are told to repeat, I am healthy and I am cancer free She was incredibly upset, not so much by the cancer, but because she felt that her inability to cure herself with positive thinking meant that she was doing something wrong and it was her fault For me, that moment confirmed that positive thinking, used in the wrong circumstances and for the wrong reasons, can do harm than good The Antidote explores tha
This is a friendly little book that purports to be an anti self help book although I have than a sneaking suspicion that it IS a self help book My guess is that Oliver Burkeman is preaching to the choir, to use an old clich , because I doubt any individual feeling the rosy after glow of a Get Motivated seminar will pick it up for an afternoon s reading I bought the thing after reading a review in the Los Angeles Times, thinking it would offer a humorous take on our cultural obsession with happiness and Looking On the Bright Side.He does But the author also discusses some very interesting philosophies by current and ancient thinkers I appreciated his take on Stoicism I m a personal fan of Epictetus , Buddhism, Freud, et cetera And I agree with him when he writes that maybe our definition of happiness is screwed up He also comments on the hidden benefits of insecurity and quotes Tennessee Williams Security is a kind of death, I think This struck a chord with me Oliver Burkeman is no expert philosopher, but the compilation of authors he cites form a powerful argument for embracing ambiguity and uncertain
Originally published as The Antidote Happiness for People Who Can t Stand Positive ThinkingI have always had a sort of love hate relationship with positive thinking On the one hand, telling myself that things ll work out somehow, helped silence my panic stricken rants Interestingly enough, these rants where mostly fueled by reckless lack of studying for some of the most difficult exams of my life On the other hand, everyone s luck runs out EVENTUALLY, and no amount of believing in oneself would magically fill one s mind with heretofore unknown Computer Networking theory additionally, I ve always found sarcasm a much cooler approach to life No Mr Wilde, I still don t believe that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.In theory, a book sub titled Happiness for people who can t stand positive thinking should ve been perfect for me I had got to the point of having a knee jerk reaction of scoffing at even the most minor whiff of positivism So it came as a complete shock, when the book s first chapter put me firmly down in the dumps, complete with a heavily secured lid.All it took, was reading
Excellent book The writing is highly engaging, and Burkeman gives enough information to be interesting, without overloading the reader, and incorporates just the right amount of personal narrative The book is easy to just fall into, and, while still thought provoking, doesn t require the reader to sit for ten minutes rotating a concept until its in the right position for comprehension.I think it s got the wrong title, because this makes it sound like pop psychology, and this is much than that I guess a book called A summary of some of the main humanist philosophical approaches to the human cond

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  • Paperback
  • 236 pages
  • The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
  • Oliver Burkeman
  • English
  • 11 March 2018
  • 9781847678669