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

Hardcover | November 13, 2012

byOliver Burkeman

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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.

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From the Publisher

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 consultant...

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...

other books by Oliver Burkeman

Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.27 × 6.26 × 0.98 inPublished:November 13, 2012Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0670064688

ISBN - 13:9780670064687

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“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 Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind“Does the pursuit of happiness make us miserable? In this elegant and erudite book, Oliver Burkeman explores the riddle of joy in the 21st Century. This book doesn’t set out to make you happy, but that may just be why it works.” - Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works