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The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't…
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The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Oliver Burkeman

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3692029,371 (3.85)12
Member:Parthurbook
Title:The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
Authors:Oliver Burkeman
Info:Canongate Books Ltd (2013), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Have Read
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Self-help

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The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Rating 3
This book is more about dealing normal life. It is about viewing things as they truly are and not about pretending things won't happen.
A few quotes from the book:
Negative visualization generates a vastly more dependable calm.

Without noticing we're doing it, we treat the future as intrinsically more valuable than the present. And yet the future never seems to arrive.

We fear situations in which we feel as though we have no control, such as flying as a passenger on an aeroplane, more than situations in which we feel as if we have control, such as when at the steering wheel of a car. No Wonder, then, that we sometimes risk making ourselves less secure by chasing feelings of security. You're vastly more likely to be killed as a result of a car crash than an air crash, vastly more likely to die of heart disease than at the hands of a violent intruder. But if you react to news stories about air terrorism by taking the car when you'd otherwise have taken a plane, or if you spend time and energy protection your home from attackers that you could have spent on improving your diet, you'll be letting your biases guide you towards a greater feeling of security at the expense of your real safety.


This book finishes up discussing death in the true sense whereas we are all going to die. we need to quit living as if we are not.


( )
  JWarrenBenton | Jan 4, 2016 |
Rating 3
This book is more about dealing normal life. It is about viewing things as they truly are and not about pretending things won't happen.
A few quotes from the book:
Negative visualization generates a vastly more dependable calm.

Without noticing we're doing it, we treat the future as intrinsically more valuable than the present. And yet the future never seems to arrive.

We fear situations in which we feel as though we have no control, such as flying as a passenger on an aeroplane, more than situations in which we feel as if we have control, such as when at the steering wheel of a car. No Wonder, then, that we sometimes risk making ourselves less secure by chasing feelings of security. You're vastly more likely to be killed as a result of a car crash than an air crash, vastly more likely to die of heart disease than at the hands of a violent intruder. But if you react to news stories about air terrorism by taking the car when you'd otherwise have taken a plane, or if you spend time and energy protection your home from attackers that you could have spent on improving your diet, you'll be letting your biases guide you towards a greater feeling of security at the expense of your real safety.


This book finishes up discussing death in the true sense whereas we are all going to die. we need to quit living as if we are not.


( )
  JWarrenBenton | Jan 4, 2016 |
Surprisingly not awful. Didn't learn the secret of happiness, but that probably wasn't the point. Some fun anecdotes, and a breezy style make this feel nice and short. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Sep 3, 2015 |
An interesting, wise, and quite amusing tour of the "negative path" to happiness. I particularly enjoyed Burkeman ending with John Keats's idea of "negative capability," which I first encountered in college and have always found fascinating. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
The feeling of relief with which I read this book stays with me still. Finally, a book that convincingly argues that the pursuit of happiness only makes it more difficult to reach; that when positive thinking fails, the fault is not with the thinker; and that the evil, unhappy feelings that fill me when I attempt to improve my life with affirmations are entirely normal! And yet, this is no book for modern cynics. It's an overview of several schools of thought, including the pop Buddhism of Alan Watts, the revival of Stoicism by philosopher William Irvine, and the rational school of psychology pioneered by Albert Ellis, that approach a fulfilled life from an entirely different direction. Is it the best of all conceivable books of its kind, as my five-star rating would seem to imply? No; it begins with a gimmicky takedown of an easy target, one of those giant celebrity positivity rallies, and it proceeds with a familiar breeziness that seems to me rather forced. But despite the folksy everyman-author-on-a-quest format, there is real wisdom here, and much to explore. It's a book I'm going to read again. ( )
  john.cooper | Mar 20, 2015 |
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Epigraph
I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, and then I thought, 'what the hell good would that do?'

Ronnie Shakes
I have always been fascinated by the law of reversed effort. Sometimes I call it 'the backwards law'. When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float . . . insecurity is the result of trying to be secure . . . contrariwise, salvation and sanity consist in the most radical recognition that we have no way of saving ourselves.

Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
Dedication
To my parents
First words
The man who claims that he is about to tell me the secret of human happiness is eighty-three years old, with an alarming orange tan that does nothing to enhance his credibility.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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 it’s 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 Schneier, who contends that the changes we’ve 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 audiobook is a witty, fascinating, and counterintuitive listen that turns decades of self-help advice on its head and forces us to rethink completely our attitudes toward failure, uncertainty, and death.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0865479410, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2012: The you-can-do-it, life-is-one-big-smiley-face ethos of our contemporary culture has its value: Aggressive positivity helps many triumph over addiction, say, or build previously unimaginable businesses, even win elections and wars. But according to Oliver Burkeman, this relentless pursuit of happiness and success can also make us miserable. Exploring the dark side of the theories put forth by such icons as Norman Vincent Peale and Eckhart Tolle by looking to both ancient philosophy and current business theory, Burkeman--a feature writer for British newspaper The Guardian--offers up the counterintuitive idea that only by embracing and examining failure and loss and unhappiness will we become free of it. So in your next yoga class, try this: breathe deep, think unhappy thoughts--and feel your soul relax. --Sara Nelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Exploring the dark side of the theories put forth by such icons as Norman Vincent Peale and Eckhart Tolle by looking to both ancient philosophy and current business theory, Burkeman--a feature writer for British newspaper The Guardian--offers up the counterintuitive idea that only by embracing and examining failure and loss and unhappiness will we become free of it.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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