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

Paperback | October 1, 2013

byOliver Burkeman

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For a civilization so fixated on achieving happiness, we seem remarkably incompe­tent at the task. Self-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 lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often seem to 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? In this fascinating book, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual collection of people—experimental psychologists, Buddhists, terrorism experts, spiritual teach­ers, philosophers, and business consultants—who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. They argue that in our personal lives, and in society at large, it’s precisely our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable, that positive thinking isn’t the solution, but part of the problem. They propose an alternative, “negative path” to happiness and success that involves embracing failure, pessimism, insecurity, and uncertainty—those things we spend our lives trying to avoid.

Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is a celebration of the power of negative thinking.

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From the Publisher

For a civilization so fixated on achieving happiness, we seem remarkably incompe­tent at the task. Self-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 lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often seem to bring as much...

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:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.21 × 5.24 × 0.7 inPublished:October 1, 2013Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:014317598X

ISBN - 13:9780143175988

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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