P.J. Sullivan's Reviews > The Conquest of Happiness

The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell
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May 15, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: psychology, emotions, philosophy, social-psychology, religion

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 introvert, "with the manifold spectacle of the world spread out before him, turns away and gazes only upon the emptiness within. Fundamental happiness depends more than anything else upon what may be called a friendly interest in persons and things." Not unlike Dale Carnegie's advice! Preoccupations with sin and the "sympathy of the herd" are other causes of misery. He advises a quiet life satisfying to instinct. To Russell, personal happiness was the best hope for ending warfare and other social ills.

This book is clear, concise, readable, and very quotable.

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09/06 marked as: read

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