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The Conquest of Happiness

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,343 ratings  ·  253 reviews
The Conquest of Happiness is Bertrand Russell's recipe for good living. First published in 1930, it pre-dates the current obsession with self-help by decades. Leading the reader step by step through the causes of unhappiness and the personal choices, compromises and sacrifices that (may) lead to the final, affirmative conclusion of 'The Happy Man', this is popular philosop ...more
ebook, 200 pages
Published October 12th 2012 by Routledge (first published 1930)
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Let's just say lately I've been picking up books that are easy enough to read, but still carry a bit of substance. This would translate into easy philosophy, and though I know it's judged for it's lack of seriousness, I think some authors are still able to pull through.

Russel Brandt was not a philosopher. He was a scientist, predominantly a mathematician. He proves (really obviously) that any educated, intelligent human being can be a philosopher, if he so desires. It's not hard because for a m
One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.

Bertrand Russel, cheery scientist and one of the greatest minds and personalities of the era, explains his take on human happiness and what keeps most of us from it most of the time. He explains this from a purely rational and non-theistic perspective, taking nothing for granted. This is NOT a self-help book, bu
Written in Russell’s usual say-it-like-it-is style, The Conquest of Happiness gets straight to the point with an incisive view of how to be happy, that is as apt today as when it was written nearly 50 years ago.
The book is split into two halves: the first describing the main causes of unhappiness, and the second, well I think you can guess that it’s the causes of happiness.
To summarise: live in the present; enjoy the small things; don’t compete with others; avoid boredom, yet aim for moderation
I read this second-hand hardcover (1930) bought at the National Book Fair XXXVI in Bangkok in 2008 and found Russell's views on happiness practical and witty. Russell famously wrote so clearly and contributively to the world that he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 (another similar case is, I think, Sir Winston Churchill), therefore, his writing style is still worth studying and applying in one's narration.

Let me show you some interesting quotes from this book:

No one is surpris
Russell was very right to title this quintessential self-help book with the word "conquest", since happiness is hardly a thing that emanates from the heavens down to your precious soul - unfortunately, the opposite view has held sway for a couple thousand years. Consequently, many average people do as they're told, expecting happiness to come to them if they are obedient, i.e., enjoy mainstream media, conform one's behavior to outside groups, etc. Yet, everything of human worth is precisely outs ...more
I was so excited to read this book, because I love Bertrand Russell. I still love Bertrand Russell. It's just too bad that his view of humanity is so narrow-minded in this work. His descriptions of people, of society make you go "whaaaaat?", and while it could be chalked up to the fact that it was written nearly eighty years ago, I think there's more to it. Russell displayed enormous depth and understanding when he wrote "A History of Western Philosophy" a decade later, and I think time really i ...more
محمد علي
اولا هذا ليس كتاب تنميه بشريه اوشيء من هذا القبيل بل كتاب للفيلسوف الكبير برتراند راسل

اما الرجل الغني في هذه الايام فانه من نوع مختلف فهو لا يقرا ابدا واذا كان

يقتني مجموعات من اللوحات الفنيه بقصد زياده شهرته فاللذه التي يجنيها من هذه اللوحات ليست لذه النظر اليها بل لذه حرمان رجل غني اخر من اقتنائها
انطبيعه التفكير التنافسي تغزو مناطق لا تنتمي اليها خذ علي سبيل المثال مساله القراءه هناك شعوران لقراءه كتاب ما احداهما ان تتمتع به والاخرالتباهب

دا السعاده دي شيء صعب خالص
تحتاج الى الحب
its a wonderful read . with great insight and indepth studyof human behaviour the author identifies what makes a man happy or unhappy. And the solutions he offer are practicable and easy to adopt if one so one wants. its a must read for all book lovers and for those who are interested in the study of human charcter.
Mohamed Fawzy

إن كنت تكره _مثلي_ الكُتب المُسماة خطأ ً كتب التنمية البشرية على شاكلة "عشرةُ مفاتيح للسعادة". إنت كنت لا تقدرُ _مثلي أيضًا_ على الدراسة المُتخصصة البحتة للسعادة من الجانب الفلسفي والنفسي والإجتماعي أيضًا .. فلا تتردد لحظة في قراءة هذا الكتاب الرائع :)

It is always refreshing to hear exact scientists give their opinions about life or sociological matters. I find them a lot more refreshing than some quick guides to happiness by some psychologist, or the energy-inside-you babble by a spiritual charlatan.

From the introduction on you learn that Russell is not writing this to sell, but just wants to pass on some things that have worked for him and that may be useful for others as well.

The book consists of two clearly separated parts:
- Causes of unh
P.J. Sullivan
Bertrand Russell was the quintessential rational man. In this book he applies rationality to psychology in a systematic examination of human thinking and motivations. Without denying the importance of external social forces, he concerns himself here with only those factors which lie within the power of the individual mind to change.

Discussing the psychological causes of unhappiness, he concludes that preoccupation with self is the chief culprit. The personality should be directed outward. The in
Jo-Ann Zhou
One of the greatest chicken soup for the soul books I read so far, though frankly I haven't read a lot. The book was first published in 1930, which still applies to present life. It's an art to be happy, life long class. Below is what I quote from the book:

What I disagreed:

"A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live."

What I agreed:

"Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile."

1) "Remember that your mot
I read it because I'm into happiness books these days, but this one felt curiously dated (it came out in 1930). Its traditional philosophical approach and voice just isn't my thing.

However, if you can borrow it from the library or a friend--or if you can read a portion of it in a bookstore--it's worth reading Chapter 11: Zest.

His argument is that "the most universal and distinctive mark" of happiness is zest, which he essentially defines as a love of and curiosity about life. I like the way he
هالةْ أمين

رغم أن راسل فيلسوف إلا أنه يستطيع الكتابة بشكل يضمن معه أن تصل مؤلفاته لأكبر عدد ممكن
أسباب التعاسة عند راسل متمثلة في:
المنافسة، الحسد، السأم، هوس الاضطهاد، الخوف من الرأي العام والتعب
أما أسباب السعادة متمثلة في:
اللذة، العائلة، العاطفة العمل والتوجه اللاذاتي
ولقد تحدث في كل فصل بإسهاب ستفهم معه مايعنيه
اسهابه هو ماقد يثير الملل في بعض الفصول
أحيانا تصلك الفكرة كاملة وتفهم مايريده
لكنه يستمر في الشرح والتفصيل

لكن عدا هذافهو كتاب يستحق الاطلاع بلا شك ..
بسام عبد العزيز
بدأت الكتاب بتوقعات عالية... برتراند راسل الفيلسوف و الكاتب الحائز على نوبل لابد أنه سيناقش مشكلة السعادة بطريقة فلسفية تبهرني ... هذا ما توقعته.. ولكن بمجرد قراءة أولى صفحات الكتاب فقد هبطت توقعاتي للصفر!

"الحيوانات سعيدة طالما كانت بصحة جيدة و لديها ما يكفيها من الطعام"
هذه هى الجملة الإفتتاحية للكتاب.. و بشكل علمي فإنها جملة غير علمية على الإطلاق! فكيف نعرف أن الحيوانات سعيدة؟؟؟؟ هل هناك حيوان ما قد تحدث و قال أنه سعيد طالما كان بصحة جيدة؟؟؟ هل هناك أصلا حيوانات تفهم معنى كلمة السعادة أو كلمة ا
Matt Riddle
This book is a bit dated in parts but still packed with goodness.

Some people consider self-love or self-esteem the counter to or cure for self-loathing. Russell makes a very compelling argument that self-esteem and self-loathing are merely flip sides of the same coin of self-absorption. Russell argues that the best and most healthy practice is to think about yourself as little as possible and instead become absorbed by causes and activities outside of yourself.

"Through such interests a man come
This short book was published in 1930. With the exception of some passages mentioned below, I liked it. Russell's focus is on what individuals can do to improve their happiness, given that their ability to change external circumstances is limited and assuming that conditions are adequate in regard to income, food shelter, and so forth. The book is divided into two parts, the first on the causes of unhappiness and the second on the causes of happiness.

Russell's main point is to focus as much as p
Caroline Friedman Levy
A soothing, Emersonian book filled with Russell's wisdom on "the happy man", pushing one towards impulsivity, friendliness, big-heartedness. To the young writer, "Give up trying to write, and, instead, try not to write. Go out into the world; become a pirate, a king in Borneo, a laborer in Soviet Russia." Quite a bit about the family and what a significant source of happiness Russell's own children were to him, slightly irritating to read while on family vacation and, given the nature of men who ...more
I had to keep in mind that this book was written in 1930 by man who lived within the confines of the privileged class of white privilege. If I hadn't kept that in mind the racism and sexism would have made this book intolerable. I had to grit my teeth and move along at times.

I'm not sure Russell could write this book today, even without the racism/sexism. It would probaly be better suited in 2013 to a blog than a book. He goes through all the of the reasons he sees for unhappiness and then throu
Such a lovely find this book was. I found this on my father’s bookshelf. The date said bought ‘Nov.24, 99’. It means I was of age 12 when this book was bought. 14 years later now that I am 26, I can truly relate to this book after seeing only a half of life.

At first reading I had no interest in the author, but it was actually after reading a couple of chapters that I wanted to dig into the life of a person who can write such pro-found things about life and lives of people. And after reading few
Daniel Taylor
In essence, Russell shows that happiness comes from taking a friendly interest in people and having a broad range of interests.
Mike Jensen
Eminent and prolifically published British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote a self-help book? Yep, and like most self-help books, it has its problems. Russell sensibly approaches the issue of finding happiness as a good philosopher ought, thoroughly and evenhandedly. The books is structured in two parts, first the obstacles to happiness and how to overcome them followed by positive things that people can do to achieve happiness.

The logic is essentially compelling and the advice good, though Ru
Basically a more intelligent form of the self-help book with keener insights into the sources of happiness and unhappiness and less flattery and fluff. Not a bad read if you think you're unhappy. Also not a bad read if you are happy and just want a better idea of what makes people tick.
أعتقد أن برتراند رسل هو فيلسوفي المفضل حتى الان .. وهو قول يحمل كثير من المبالغة. فهو كقولك العدس طعامك المفضل وأنت لم تأكل غيره في حياتك. ولكني تذوقت فلاسفة اخرين ولم أستطعم مثله

Recomendable ensayo de Bertrand Russell(prologado por Fernando Savater en la edición española) sobre los elementos que a su juicio, proporcionan felicidad o infelicidad al hombre moderno.
Me ha resultado especialmente interesante el apartado relativo al aburrimiento como fuente de infelicidad y a la búsqueda incesante, normalmente infructuosa, de nuevas sensaciones para combatirlo.

A pesar de estar escrito en 1930 cuando la psicología no era más que una ciencia relativamente reciente, sorprende la
This book feels so relevant to our modern-day lives in civilized countries: the competition, the ambitions, the stress, the envy - they all diminish our happiness. At the same time, the small things that disconnect us from work have the ability of making us happier, as small as they may seem.

I don't really feel that this book brought any new information, but it has a very good structure to see everything put together. While it doesn't really solve our problems, at least it made me more aware. Q
Craig Williams
I'd first heard of Bertrand Russell as one of Bill Hicks's favorite authors (the next one being Mark Twain), and decided to give Mr. Russell a shot by reading a collection of essays titled "Why I am Not a Christian". I was enthralled by Russell's eloquent, yet straight-forward writing. This is a guy who is quotable in nearly every paragraph. So when I found of a book of his at work called "The Conquest of Happiness", I was elated to give it a read.

While I didn't find it as good as "Why I Not a
Answer Styannes
Added this in the list of books I need to read couple years ago but only managed to read it recently. Was a bit discouraged after reading reviews which describe it as a self-help book but then thought it's worth trying as I fell in love with Russell after reading his Unpopular Essays.

Russell doesnt't discuss the extreme type of unhappiness caused by exceptional circumstances as being under persecution etc but those with a day to day characteristic. This is a book for people who wonder why their
Shalan al shammary
لم اقرأ هذا الكتاب بآمال عريضة من أن أفوز بالسعادة أو أن أضمها مشتاق لها بعد أن تهنا عن بعضنا كثيراً.
لكني وجدت الموضوع طريفاً في بابه من فيلسوف بحجم برتراند رسل, واني هنا اعترف انني لو رأيت كتابا بهذا العنوان وكان اسم المؤلف مختلفا فإني لا اشك اني لن اقرأه إلا إن كان من نفس وزن هذا المؤلف
بطبيعة الحال السعادة هدف يسعى له البشر جميعا حتى من تجاهل منهم السعادة الدنيوية تماما, فهو بالنهاية يسعى إلى السعادة ايضا
وهي موضوع لا ينفصل عن الأخلاق كمبحث فلسفي.
قسم رسل طريقته للفوز بالسعادة إلى جزأين, الاول ف
Renaissance-man-philosopher Bertrand Russell looks at (un)happiness. This book was a big influence on the very important Psychologist Albert Ellis. On the other hand, Wittgenstein thought that all of Russell's books aimed at the general public (of which this is one example), were crap. Some highlights:

1) What makes people unhappy
- at 5, lamented that only lived 14th of life (now enjoy life)
- partly because dismissed certain objects of desire (indubitable knowledge)
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Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, was a Welsh philosopher, historian, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, pacifist, and prominent rationalist. Although he was usually regarded as English, as he spent the majority of his life in England, he was born in Wales, where he also died.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950 "in recognition of his var
More about Bertrand Russell...
A History of Western Philosophy Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects The Problems of Philosophy Religion and Science In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays

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“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” 3603 likes
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