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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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223None51,959 (3.87)11
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
Rating:***1/2
Tags:psychology, self-help

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

Recently added byGeddup, Dyrfinna, private library, Vitruvian, JackAch, louisbsiley, stamatov, goet0095
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A well thought out explorations of the historic alternatives to the "cult" of positive thinking. The problems inherent to positive thinking are examined with a wry eye.
It's not a pessimistic or sarcastic text; the alternative to positive thinking is not expecting the worst.
This would be a good companion to Bright Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich.
( )
  Vantine | Mar 14, 2014 |

I found this to be an annoying read.

The author starts off by showing where positive thinking fails and then loosely props up a kind of oppositional "negative way" by way of quotes, personal anecdotes/experiences, name-dropping, and grabbing elements of philospophers and interviews and cramming them into a narrative.

He may be right in his assertions, but he doesn't back it up with anything solid, he doesn't properly spell out what exactly he is proposing and he doesn't test out if he is right. If this is the antidote, he is relying on people supplying a lot of confirmation bias when they read this. Perhaps in this way the title is well chosen?
( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
I liked this book. A self-help book that explains why self-help books don't work. A little bit of Buddhism, Stoicism, Eckhart Tolle, and other philosophies and psychological tenets that help to expose and unravel some of life's mysteries. Well presented, and also appropriate for positive thinkers.SRH ( )
  StaffReads | Feb 18, 2014 |
I liked this book. A self-help book that explains why self-help books don't work. A little bit of Buddhism, Stoicism, Eckhart Tolle, and other philosophies and psychological tenets that help to expose and unravel some of life's mysteries. Well presented, and also appropriate for positive thinkers. ( )
  St.CroixSue | Feb 18, 2014 |
I don’t think I’d go that far: I don’t hate positive thinking. Nevertheless, Burkeman takes a close look at what science has discovered about positive thinking and, though I hate to smash your rose-colored glasses, it is really not pretty. Positive thinking can lead to some pretty negative thinking. Oddly.
So Burkeman takes another approach. It’s to face reality. To look at it carefully. But dispassionately. Realistically.
I like this. It seems a little silly to go around saying, “Life just gets better and better every live long day.” Sometimes, frankly, it doesn’t. And it doesn’t do any good to walk around, saying it, shouting it, with your fingers in your ears, honestly.
Take a look at this book. It’s a hard cold look at happiness. That just might make you much happier. ( )
  debnance | Jan 26, 2014 |
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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
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To my parents
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:41 -0400)

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)

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