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Hilarious and compulsively readable, The Antidote will have you on the road to happiness in no time.
In an approach that turns decades of self-help advice on its head, Oliver Burkeman explains why positive thinking serves only to make us more miserable, and why ‘getting motivated’ can exacerbate procrastination.
Comparing the personal philosophies of dozens of ‘happy’ people—among them philosophers and experimental psychologists, Buddhists and terrorism experts, New Age dreamers and hard-headed business consultants—Burkeman uncovers some common ground. They all believe that there is an alternative ‘negative path’ to happiness and success that involves coming face-to-face with, even embracing, precisely the things we spend our lives trying to avoid.
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.
‘Oliver Burkeman’s The Antidote is like a Pimm’s on a summer’s day: refreshing if consumed by those already sceptical about the power of positive thinking, bracing if splashed in the face of those who aren’t…Burkeman would be the first to accept that he hasn’t written the last word on human happiness. But he has written some of the most truthful and useful words on it to be published in recent years. The knowledge Burkeman draws on may well come from others, but the book’s quiet wisdom is all his own. This is a marvellous synthesis of good sense, which would make a bracing detox for the self-help junkie.’ Julian Baggini, Guardian
‘Oliver Burkeman argues for a much more sensible proposition — namely, that we’ve created a culture crippled by the fear of failure, and that the most important thing we can do to enhance our psychoemotional wellbeing is to embrace uncertainty.’ brain pickings
‘If life can only have one destination, then, Burkeman argues, we should enjoy the journey as much as we can and deal with the terminus when it comes. It’s a simple idea, but an exhilarating and satisfying one.’ Observer
‘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 H. Pink, author of Drive
‘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
256 pages, Kindle Edition
First published November 13, 2012
The perfect Stoic adapts his or her thinking so as to remain undisturbed by undesirable circumstances; the perfect Buddhist sees thinking itself as just another set of circumstances, to be non-judgmentally observed.Got it? One is saying, “Meh, could be worse. I’m not gonna let this bother me,” and the other, “Oh, observe, young grasshopper: your mind is experiencing pain because of that arrow sticking out of your thigh. Amusing, is it not, what tricks the material world plays upon us?”