The Antidote is a wry, witty travelogue that turns
decades of self-help advice on its head. In it, Guardian
journalist Oliver Burkeman chronicles a series of journeys by
people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life.
Whether philosophers, experimental psychologists, New Age dreamers
or hard-headed business consultants, they have in common a hunch
about human psychology. They believe that in our personal lives and
in the world at large, our constant fixation on eliminating or
avoiding the negative-uncertainty, unhappiness, failure-is what
causes us to feel so anxious, insecure, and unhappy.
He argues there is an alternative "negative path" to happiness
and success that involves coming face to face with the things we
spend our lives trying to avoid, to even embrace them. This is the
"backwards law": The more we''re willing to embrace what we think
of as negative, the happier and more successful we''ll become. We
may need to completely rethink our attitudes toward such things as
failure, uncertainty, disorder, insecurity, and death.