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The Conquest of Happiness

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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 philosophy, or even self-help, as it should be written.

183 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1930

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About the author

Bertrand Russell

866 books6,342 followers
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 varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought."

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Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,127 followers
June 15, 2016
In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more.

Like many people, I suspect, I find Russell an extremely agreeable person. And though he is, no doubt, several orders of magnitude cleverer than I am, I still identify very strongly with him. Perhaps this is only wishful thinking, but the more I read Russell, the more I find that, in outlook and temperament, I am rather similar to the man—apart from his aristocratic English manners, of course. Thus it was a pleasure to read his views on what makes for a happy life, as almost everything he said resonated very strongly with me.

Russell’s aim is to examine not extraordinary grief or mourning or tragedy, but the usual sort of unhappiness that Thoreau meant when he said “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” And Russell’s message boils down to something simple: happiness comes from taking a genuine interest in the world, and unhappiness consists in spending too much time thinking about oneself and one’s problems.

Here is a simple example. If, on my walk back from work, I run into my neighbor, who then proceeds to tell me—for the umpteenth time—about his recent hunting trip, I can choose to see it as an imposition on myself, a needless waste of my time, a sign of this man’s stupidity, and finally as a part of a general decline in good manners and good taste. Or I can, with any luck, choose to see it as an amusing foible, as a window into another person’s life, or at the very least as something absolutely trivial and not worth fussing about. The difference is that the first is self-centered and more than a bit unrealistic, while in the second scenario my attention is directed outwards and I maintain a sense of perspective.

Russell fills up a book by exploring this idea from a variety of angles. What are the emotions that focus our attention inward and cause us to lose our perspective and our zest for life? Envy, greed, guilt, ruthless competitiveness, the need for approval, fear of public opinion. To combat these pulls, Russell recommends ways to constantly remind ourselves that we aren’t, in fact, the center of the universe, and the world around us is not some backdrop for our problems or an obstacle in the way, but is rather extremely interesting and a good deal more important than our own lives.

One of Russell's key strategies is to take an interest in things that have no practical benefit to us. Simple as this sounds, many don’t seem to understand this lesson. It always strikes me as bizarre and shortsighted when someone says, “Why should I learn about this? It doesn’t affect me in any way. Will this ever be useful?” But isn’t this the point? Learning about wildflowers, for example, is relaxing because you won’t have to rely on this knowledge to pass an exam or to get a paycheck; it’s a relief from your usual cares, and one that, besides, enriches your experience of the world. And not only does learning about wildflowers enrich your experience, but it also reminds you that there’s an entire region of reality—one that people have devoted their lives to—that will be completely unaffected if you go bankrupt tomorrow. Isn’t that a nice thought?

In some places, this book shows its age. Russell speaks of women in ways that would probably get him tarred and feathered now; though, to be fair, at the time he was considered extremely progressive. At another point, Russell partly blames the growing unhappiness of women on the decline in good domestic service. Yet these bits are easy to ignore and forgive; and much of the book still feels relevant. Russell is particularly good on envy, competitiveness, and workaholism. These three—very prevalent here in New York City—are deeply intertwined.

So many people—and I am not excluded from this—make themselves miserable by thinking about all the nice things happening to everyone else, all the money their cousin is making (who’s not, after all, any smarter than me!), and all the luck that some people seem to have. They look in the mirror and think about the handsomer fellow on television; they receive their paycheck and think about how much their boss must make. This has been exacerbated by social media, but is, I think, something we all must deal with, especially in a capitalistic society where, ostensibly at least, your social position is determined by your own merit. The dark side of living in a supposed meritocracy is that people at the bottom or even comfortably in the middle feel that they are failures for not reaching the top—which is obviously absurd, especially if you realize that the people at the top most likely aren’t any happier than you are.

Thinking about yourself purely in relation to others leads directly to a certain amount of competitiveness; many people struggle, not to attain something they need, but simply to win a race against their peers. This is the cause of obsessive working. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with working, and working hard, but some people have completely lost a sense of perspective. In fact, I recently read a piece by someone who had spent his life in advertising—Lind Redding was his name—who detailed this very phenomenon after he was diagnosed with cancer and started looking back on his working life. After working furiously for decades, he concluded that, after all, he was only trying to make advertisements, so why on earth had he spent so many stressful hours at the office rather than at home?

This has happened to me, though on a much smaller scale, when I have been convinced that what I was working on was terribly important and that the consequences for not doing it perfectly would be disastrous—when, in reality, what I was doing was of no importance and the consequences of doing it imperfectly would be nonexistent. A proper sense of perspective would have helped me avoid this, for I would realize that other people’s success doesn’t make me a failure, that I have more than I need already, that my task is a very minor event in the universe, and that the earth won’t detonate if every detail isn’t just right. Or at least, I hope it won’t.

I’m getting a bit carried away. To return to the book, Russell, with his usually acute mind, tackles this trouble, among others, offering friendly advice on how to avoid it and to maintain a mental balance. And lucky for the reader, Russell’s advice is usually summed up in wonderful epigrams that sparkle with good-natured wit. I constantly found myself highlighting sentences in this book, as I read in continuous astonishment at Russell’s skill with the pen. His style is neither flashy nor even conspicuous; he uses no tricks, no elaborate metaphors, no high-flown words. Yet every time I read Russell, I find myself filled with envy at his writing ability; I think it's criminal that there should be someone so much better than I am. Russell would, of course, remind me that after all there will always be someone who’s a better writer than I am, and that his prose should be appreciated as a gift rather than considered as a reproach to my own. Now, how do you argue with a person like that?
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,216 followers
February 27, 2022
În engleză, titlul cărții lui Russell este mai puțin pesimist și mult mai precis decît echivalentul lui românesc: The Conquest of Happiness. Bertrand Russell nu a plecat în căutarea unui lucru nedefinit, a unei stări indecise, a unui miraj. Știe din capul locului ce caută, spre ce se îndreaptă. Și știe, de asemenea, cum trebuie să caute: pe calea rațiunii.

Secretul filosofului e următorul: înainte de orice, să te privești cu franchețe. Să nu minți cînd vorbești despre tine. Să nu te autoamăgești. Să-ți iei un răgaz pentru a te analiza cu blîndețe, dar fără compromisuri. Să nu fii nici cinic, nici foarte milostiv cu tine. Să-ți identifici corect însușirile și defectele. Să nu te crezi buricul pămîntului. Nu e deloc facil.

În al doilea rînd, se cade să pricepi că fericirea nu este un dar, o pară mălăiață, că nu pogoară din ceruri, că nu se cîștigă prin rugăciuni și ofrande, că nu e adusă de Moș Crăciun în sania lui trasă de reni.

Ea este (în al treilea rînd) consecința unei gîndiri raționale și, mai cu seamă, a unei gîndiri critice. Pînă la urmă, fericirea este cealaltă față a înțelepciunii.

În al patrulea rînd, să reținem că oamenii nefericiți gîndesc incorect și rar. Raționează ilogic. Se cufundă în absurd. Sînt plini de prejudecăți și nu-și examinează niciodată opiniile, credințele, postulatele tacite. Gîndesc așa cum au învățat de mult (de la autorități, părinți, învățători și profesori, din cărți). Conformismul le dă siguranță.

În al cincilea rînd, cei nefericiți nu-și chestionează niciodată, dar niciodată (întrucît, zic ei, nu au timp) gîndurile automate, obsesiile, gîndurile care ne vin cel mai frecvent. Mai mult, ei nu au opinii personale, nu au curajul de a căuta soluții proprii. Nu-și doresc să aibă gînduri proprii. Nu vor să se deosebească prin nimic de ceilalți.

Remediul nefericirilor constă, așadar, dacă îl credem pe Russell, în exercițiul perseverent de a renunța la convingerea că lumea se învîrtește în jurul eului nostru. Eul nostru e o nimica toată. Prea îl gîdilim fără sens. Nu-i deloc rațional să credem că toți ne iubesc. Nu-i deloc rațional să cerem afecțiunea tuturor. Aceasta reprezintă o exigență absurdă, o prostie. Este bine, în schimb, să dăruim afecțiune și atenție semenilor noștri.

Într-un cuvînt, sursa nefericirii noastre este egolatria.
Profile Image for Guille.
739 reviews1,443 followers
April 30, 2022

Si hace poco comentaba que para Schopenhauer la vida es dolor y, por tanto, lo único que podemos hacer es reducir este al máximo, siendo altamente recomendable el aislamiento que nos permita disfrutar en soledad del gozo de uno mismo, para Russell el camino es justamente el opuesto.
“La felicidad básica depende sobre todo de lo que podríamos llamar un interés amistoso por las personas y las cosas… el que te gusten muchas personas de manera espontánea y sin esfuerzo es, posiblemente, la mayor de todas las fuentes de felicidad personal… que tus intereses sean los más amplios posibles.”
Russell empieza advirtiendo que se dirige únicamente a aquellos que tienen salud y dinero suficiente para que ninguna de las dos cosas suponga un problema serio. ¿Será el amor, el elemento que falta en la famosa terna, la clave de la felicidad? Pues bien, el amor, nos dice, no solo es una fuente de placer en sí mismo, aunque también lo sea de dolor, también intensifica el disfrute de cualquier otro placer, y es quizá el elemento que más nos aparta de nosotros mismos, siendo esta la principal recomendación que nos hace el filósofo: alejarnos de cualquier tipo de ensimismamiento: el del pecador, siempre desaprobando su vida, el del narcisista, tan vanidoso que nada más le importa admirarse y ser admirado, el del megalómano, que quiere ser poderoso antes que encantador, temido antes que amado.
“Una actitud expansiva y generosa hacia los demás no sólo aporta felicidad a éstos, sino que deviene en una inmensa fuente de felicidad para su poseedor.”
Pero Russell también coincide con Schopenhauer en algunas recomendaciones: huir del aburrimiento, o bien aprender a soportarlo (“la mitad de los pecados de la humanidad se cometen por miedo a aburrirse”), y de su contrario, la excitación, que nos puede lanzar a una escalada interminable. Nuestros deseos deben tener la dificultad justa para ser satisfechos y su cumplimiento debe ser siempre moderado, nunca es aconsejable la saciedad. Tampoco es conveniente estar continuamente pensando en el futuro, ni en los problemas en momentos en los que no se puede hacer nada al respecto. No puede ser feliz quién dedique todos sus esfuerzos a conseguir el éxito o para quién entiende la vida como una competición, o para quién busque en todo momento la aprobación de los demás, y está más cerca de ello quién procura aumentar la admiración y reducir la envidia.
“El sentimiento de pecado tiene algo de abyecto, algo que atenta contra el respeto de uno mismo.”
Uno de los caballos de batalla de Russell es argumentar en favor de la razón en el camino hacia la felicidad.
“Dado que el principal aspecto de la racionalidad es la armonía interior, el hombre que la consigue es más libre en su contemplación del mundo y en el empleo de sus energías para lograr propósitos exteriores que el que está perpetuamente trabado por conflictos internos.”
Porque, en el fondo, una gran parte de nuestra infelicidad viene marcada por una errónea comprensión y visión de lo que es el mundo, de lo que somos nosotros y del peso y el lugar que nosotros tenemos en ese mundo, que solo un buen uso de la razón puede remediar. Solo la razón podrá alcanzar el equilibrio entre todos nuestros intereses, impidiendo que el desarrollo de uno de ellos haga imposible el de los demás.
“Para la mayoría de los hombres y mujeres, la felicidad tiene que ser una conquista, y no un regalo de los dioses.”
Profile Image for Ahmad  Ebaid.
281 reviews1,984 followers
February 25, 2018
"غرضي أن أقترح علاج لحالة التعاسة اليومية والتي يعاني منها أغلب الناس في البلدان المتحضرة, والتي لا تحتمل؛ بسبب عدم امتلاكها سبب خارجي واضح, فهي تبدو لا مفر منها"


يتخصص الكتاب في معالجة التعاسة التي تصيب الأفراد ذوي سعة العيش أصحاب الحياة الكريمة. من أول الكتاب سيتسرّب لعقلك الرهبة من برتراند راسل, والهيبة من النَّص الذي يوضح مدى إلمام راسل بالموضوع

بعض نصائح راسل المحورية:
"سبب التعاسة الرئيسي يرجع لنظرتنا الخاطئة للحياة, والتي زُرعت فينا عندما كنا على حجر أمهاتنا صغارا, ونضطر لمخالفتها كباراً, ولكن الإحساس بالذنب لا يفارقنا"

"التخلص من طغيان المعتقدات وتعلقات الطفولة, هي الخطوة الأولى نحو السعادة بالنسبة إلى ضحايا الفضيلة الأمومية هذه"

"لا تخش أن تحس بعدم الاحترام تجاه ذكرى أولئك الذين أشرفوا على طفولتك, ففي تلك المرحلة كانوا يبدون لك أقوياء ومنطقيين لأنك كنت ضعيف وأحمق, والآن بعدما لم تعد ضعيفا ولا أحمق, بات عليك تفحّص قواهم وحكمتهم الظاهرة, وعليك أن تتساءل عما إذا كانوا يستحقون هذا الاحترام"

"في البدء يعطي ا��والدين الحماية للطفل ثم تعميهم السلطة ولا يردّون حرية الطفل عندما يكبر"

"إذ أنت غذيت طفلا بات في وسعه أن يقتات, فأنت تقدم حب السلطة على حب الطفل"

"لا تستغرق في ذاتك, لا تفكر في خطاياك ونواقصك وأخطائك, حوّل تركيزك للعالم الخارجي فالاهتمامات الخارجية قد تجلب الألم للحياة, لكنها لا تقارن بالألم الذي يجلبه الاشمئزاز من الذات"

"لأسباب تطورية فالإنسان مكيف على حجم معين من الصراع والمعاناة, فإذا حصل الرجل نتيجة الثروة العظيمة على كل ما يشعر نحوه برغبة متوسطة, سيتملكه السأم والتعاسة"

"لا فائدة من أن تجعل الجميع أغنياء إذا كان الأغنياء غير سعداء"

"ليست ثمة رضا كامل عندما نغذي عنصرا من الطبيعة البشرية على حساب كل العناصر الأخرى, وليس ثمة رضا كامل, أيضا, عندما نتصور العالم مادة خاماً من أجل تمجيد الأنا الشخصي"

"رغم أن المال وحده قد لا يكفي لجعل الناس ذو أهمية, فمن الصعب أن يكون المرء مهما دون مال"

"إن المال قادر على مضاعفة السعادة؛ ولكن أبعد من هذا الحد, أعتقد أنه لا يعود فعالاً, وما أقول به هو أن النجاح لا يمكن أن يكون سوى عنصر بسيط من عناصر السعادة, ولا يساوي الثمن الذي دفعناه فيه إذا ما تمت التضحية بكل العناصر الأخرى للحصول عليه"

"إذا لم يتعلم المرء كيف يتصرف بنجاحه, فإن النجاح سيدعه حتما فريسة للسأم"

"يجب أن تعود الطفل على الرتابة من الصغر, حتى يستطيع التعامل مع الرتابة المثمرة لاحقا"

"العاقل لا يفكر في همومه, إلا عندما يجد مصلحة في ذلك"

"يجب أن نحسب حساب رأي الآخرين بقدر ما هو ضروري تجنب الجوع والسجن"

"ليس ثمة ما هو مضني مثل التردد, ولا أكثر تفاهة وبطلان"

"ستخمد العادة ما في الخوف من رهبة, ويصبح الموضوع بأسره مملا"

"الغل في القلب مثل الغل في العنق"

"اختلاف الناس يشجع العلاقة والتعارف بينهم"

"من بين كل أشكال الحذر, لعل الحذر في الحب هو الشكل الأكثر تدميرا بالنسبة إلى السعادة الحقيقة"

"لنفرض أن شخصا يحب الفريز وآخر لا يحب الفريز, فبماذا يتفوق هذا الأخير, بل بالعكس الأول هو من يزداد سعادة, وهكذا من ينظرون للحياة بسأم"

"إن كل عمل عام يتضمن الرغبة في السيطرة, ما لم يمكن يُمارس, وحسب, بنية الحصول على الثروة من طريق الفساد. والشخص الوحيد اللامبالي كليا بالسلطة هو الشخص اللامبالي كليا بأقرانه (وعليه لا يجوز أن يتقوّل أحد المرشحين بأنه زاهد في السلطة وأيضا بأنه يحرص على الشعب ويريد لهم المصلحة, فهذا كذب بيّن !)"

"الطفل المحروم لسبب أو آخر, من هذه المحبة, سيصبح حتما حييّا ووجلاً, ومستعداً للخوف من كل الأشياء والرثاء لمصيره, ولن يكون بمقدوره مجابهة العالم بروح مرحة ومغامر. هذا الطفل سيشرع, باكراً جدا, في تأمل الحياة, والموت, والمصير البشرية, و يغدو منطويا على نفسه كئيبا دائما"

"الشخص المولود في مدينة صغيرة في الأقاليم, سيجد نفسه منذ نعومة أظافره, محاطاً بعداوة إزاء كل ما هو ضروري للتطور الفكري. فإذا شاء مطالعة كتب جدّية, سيحتقره سائر الأولاد, وسيقول له أساتذته ان مثل هذه المؤلفات تلقي الاضطراب في الفكر. وإذا أبدى اهتماما بالفن, فإن الأولاد الذين في مثل سنه سيجدونه متأنثا, وسيعتبره الأكبر منه سناً لاأخلاقيا"


شيء يرضي غروري طبعا إني أوصل لنفس النتائج اللي توصل لها مفكر كبير زي "برتراند راسل", عن طريقة التفكير المحض في مشاهداتي اليومية, ومنها:
"إن التعليم في ظل الخوف والقسوة سيء, ولكن ليس بالوسع تقديم أي تعليم آخر إلى الذين هم أنفسهم عبيد هذه الانفعالات"

"إذ أنت غذيت طفلا بات في وسعه أن يقتات, فأنت تقدم حب السلطة على حب الطفل"

"إذا أردت أن تجمع أفضل ما تستطيع تدوينه, ابدأ في التفكير في الموضوع بحدة, ثم اترك المجال من الوقت لعقلك الباطن ليأتيك ببعض الأفكار على خاطرك عن الموضوع مع الوقت, فمن الخطأ كتابة مقال في جلسة واحدة"

"و كانت الحروب, والمجازر, والاضطهادات جميعا ملاذاً ضد السأم؛ حتى النزاعات مع الجيران فضلت على الرتابة اليومية"

والنقطة الأخيرة نفس اللي توصلت له وجاوبته به على سؤال من شهرين
"هنالك سببين لقراءتك كتاباً, الأول أنك تستمتع به, الثاني أن تتفاخر بقراءته على الجودريدز"

جميع رواد موقع الجود ريدز يعرفون هذه العبارة جيداً, فقد قرءوها عشرات المرات بالإنجليزية بجوار صورة هذه السيدة عندما يحدث مشكلة مؤقتة في الموقع
وهذه العبارة مقتبسة من هذا الكتاب, وهذه هي تكملة العبارة بلفظ المترجم سمير شيخاني:
"نقرأ كتابا ما لسببين اثنين: الأول هو المتعة التي توفرها قراءة الكتب؛ والآخر هو الغرور الذي تشعر به لدى التحدث عنه. لقد أصبح من الظرف والأدب بالنسبة لبعض السيدات, في أمريكا, أن يقرأن كل شهر (أو يتظاهرن بالقراءة) بعض الكتب؛ البعض منهم يقرأنها, الأخريات يتصفحن الفصل الأول, والباقيات يراجعن المراجعات لهذه الكتب, ولكن جميعهم لديهن هذه الكتب على طاولاتهن. ومع ذلك لا يقرأن أي رائعة أدبية كـ"هاملت" أو "الكوميديا الإلَهية".

وقد يفسر هذا الصورة المتداولة لمارلين مونرو تقرأ رواية "عوليس", وهذا التفسير مترابط أيضا مع الرسالة التي كتبت فيها قبل عامين من موتها:
« لدي إحساس عميق بأنني لست حقيقة تماما، بل إنني زيف مفتعل ومصنوع بمهارة وكل إنسان يحس في هذا العالم بهذا الإحساس بين وقت وآخر، ولكني أعيش هذا الإحساس طيلة الوقت، بل أظن أحيانا أنني لست إلا إنتاجاً سينمائياً فنياً أتقنوا صُنعه.»


العنوان الأصلي "The Conquest of Happiness 1930", وتم ترجمة المؤلّف للعربية كالآتي في خمس ترجمات مختلفة:

طبعة المركز القومي للترجمة 2009 بعنوان "انتصار السعادة", ترجمة: محمد قدري عمارة, ومراجعة: إلهامي جلال عمارة.

طبعة دار مكتبة الحياة 1980 بعنوان "الفوز بالسعادة", ترجمة: سمير عبده.

طبعة دار الأمير 1995 بعنوان "غزو السعادة", ترجمة: سمير شيخاني.

طبعة دار الهلال 1977 بعنوان "الوصول إلى السعادة", ترجمة: نظمي لوقا.

طبعة دار العلم للملايين 1991 بعنوان "كيف تكسب السعادة", ترجمة: منير البعلبكي.

لكني أرتئي أن ترجمة العنوان لـ "سبي السعادة" سيكون موفقا وأكثر دلالية على معنى الكاتب

الثلاث نسخ الأولى منهم كانت متوفرة لي لمقارنتها, كل النسخ فيها أخطاء في الترجمة لكن أقلّهم أخطاء هي نسخة دار الأمير بعنوان "غزو السعادة", المترجم كان أفضل بكتير من الباقيين في فهم معاني الكاتب, والتي كان في فهمها صعوبة كبيرة بسبب عباراته الطويلة المتشابكة

قرأت أول 3 فصول بالإنجليزية من طبعة "Liveright" قبل أن أكمل في "غزو السعادة" وكان ينقصها بعض المقاطع الموجودة في الترجمات العربية الثلاث

لفظ Gay كان مازال بيستخدم بمعنى "سعيد" وقت إصدار الكتاب قبل أن يستولي عليه المثليين من الذكور

اقترب من راسل ولا تخف و انهل منه مهما كان توجهك الأيديولوجي, فأنت في أيد أمينة تعرض كل الاحتمالات دون تدنيس.
Profile Image for Yasmeen.
241 reviews17 followers
February 26, 2017
I had my doubts: how can a privileged white, male philosopher tell me, a modern-day female minority about the conquest of happiness via a book that was written before my dad was born? How could we possibly have anything in common? Color me surprised. It's striking how relevant his writing is, to our society today.

I started reading this book after a stressful year in my life where I got too caught up with feelings of anxiety and lack of achievement despite working hard most days. I will not go through the gory details because I doubt they will be relatable or useful to anyone, but nothing that I did or read during that year helped till this book arrived. I needed a "why", and this book gave me an answer to that, and to "how".

Keep in mind that this book is not going to be helpful to anyone who suffers from real tragedy or grief, it's simply meant to be used as a framework to understanding why you are unhappy despite having a semi-comfortable life. Which I think applies to most people who are capable of reading for leisure. Russell starts out with declaring that most of your unhappiness stems from a preoccupation with yourself and a lack of genuine interest with the external objects. The book is divided into two main parts: Causes of unhappiness, and causes of happiness. I found the first part to be most insightful because I suffered from every, single, cause, that he mentioned, to some degree.

1. Byronic Unhappiness: I frequently attributed some of my sorrows to how devastatingly bad and evil the world can be.
2. Competition: Competitive success is too dearly purchased if you sacrifice all other ingredients to happiness in order to obtain it. It's also damaging in the sense that success should not be represented as the purpose of life, since after obtaining it, you're bound to fall prey to boredom and listlessness because you do not know what to do with it... so you occupy yourself with making more success. It's a harmful cycle.
3. Boredom and Excitement: It's true that we are less bored than our ancestors were, but we are more terrified of being bored. A life full of excitement is not to be desired since it is exhausting and a certain amount of boredom and inactivity is required in order for you to be able to achieve the important things in your life. No great achievement is possible without persistent work. "A certain power of enduring boredom is essential to a happy life".
4. Fatigue: Probably my favorite chapter in the book. I highlighted all of it.
5. Envy.
6. The Sense of Sin: Speaks about what it really means to have your conscience prick you.
7. Persecution Mania: It's very easy to fall prey to this mania in a world where you see people getting ahead not based on merit alone, and when you are too preoccupied with yourself.
8. Fear of Public Opinion: "One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny." I found this chapter incredibly insightful.

I cannot believe how underrated this book is. I mean, it is true, that it's speckled with classist remarks and an abundance of gender stereotypes/roles; but it was the 1930's... it's quite remarkable - and depressing - how close it is Saudi Arabia's 2017. But, please, do not dismiss this book because of it.


Profile Image for Peiman E iran.
1,394 reviews681 followers
July 14, 2017
‎دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتابِ ارزشمند، از 304 صفحه تشکیل شده، و شاملِ دو بخشِ "موجباتِ بدبختی" و "در اسبابِ خوشبختی"، میباشد... زنده یاد «برتراند راسل» بزرگوار، مطالبِ خود در قالبِ 17 فصل بیان کرده است که مهمترین آنها عبارتند از: محبت-سرگرمی- کار- حسادت- رقابت- ترس- نشاط- خستگی
‎دوستانِ عزیز، از میانِ سرفصل های ا��ن کتاب، در زیر توضیحاتی در موردِ «حسادت» و «خستگی» که در جامعۀ ما زیاد دیده میشود و مانع از [خوشبختی] است را برایِ شما خردگرایان، مینویسم
‎دوستانِ گرامی، بعد از اضطراب، شاید «حسد» قویترین عاملِ بدبختی در انسانهاست. حسادت یا رشک را میتوان یکی از شایع ترین و ریشه دارترین انفعالت انسانی محسوب داشت... حس و انگیزه ای که تئوری هایِ دموکراسی را منشأ آثار نموده است، بدونِ تردید «حسد» است
‎اگر در مترو و یا ترنِ زیرزمینی نشسته باشید و خانمی خوش لباس وارد شود. در این حال به چشمِ خانم هایِ دیگر توجه کنید، خواهید دید همۀ آنها مگر بانوانی که از او نیز خوش پوش ترند، با نگاه هایِ بدخواه او را مینگرند و سعی میکنند نسبت های ناروا همچون خودفروش و یا عقده ای و یا کثیف و ... به او بدهند... تمایل به جدال و ستیز نیز حاکی از همین حسِ بداندیشی است از این رو هر حرفی را که بر ضد زنِ دیگر اظهار شود، بی درنگ و حتی با وجودِ کمترین دلیل باور خواهند داشت، موازینِ عالیِ اخلاقی نیز همین طور است... متأسفانه امروزه در جامعۀ ما، حسادت در مردان بیشتر به چشم میخورد تا زنانِ جامعه... و این حقیقتی است که من و همۀ شما بارها دیده ایم... حتی در این سایت هم این رفتارِ زشت و ناپسند دیده میشود... که تنها برایِ این دسته از به اصطلاح پسرها و مردها، میتوان تأسف خورد... دقت کنید، زنان و دختران، از یک مطلبِ درست تمجید کرده و حمایت میکنند، اما کمتر مردی را میبینید که جسارتِ تعریف کردن از مردِ دیگر را داشته باشد... که این میتواند دلایلِ گوناگون داشته باشد که خودتان هم میدانید
‎این موضوع در موردِ اندیشمندان نیز صادق است، به عنوانِ مثال «لایب نیتز» و «هیوگنز» همیشه به دانش و محبوبیتِ «نیوتن» حسادت میکردند، و برایِ هم نامه مینوشتند و نوشته هایِ یک دیگر را تأیید میکردند که: حیف که «نیوتن» با این علم و دانش کارش به جنون کشیده است و دیوانه شده است... یعنی هم حسادت میکردند و هم برایِ «نیوتن» حرف در می آوردند... برخی از کامنتهایِ احمقانۀ بعضی از ابلهانِ بیسواد و عرب پرستانِ این سایت را در موردِ من بخوانید، تا متوجهِ منظورم شوید
‎عزیزانم، آدمِ حسود نه تنها، فقط در صددِ صدمه به دیگران است و اگر بتواند بی باکانه چنین خواهد کرد، بلکه خودِ او نیز به واسطۀ حسادت، احساسِ بدبختی میکند و به جایِ این که از آن چه دارد خشنود باشد، از آن چه دیگران دارند آزرده میشود و اگر دستش برسد دیگران را از نعمتی که برخوردار هستند، محروم خواهد ساخت و با این کار در نظرش چنین مینماید که مزیّتی نصیبِ او شده است
‎عزیزانم، «خستگی» را میتوان به دو دسته تقسیم کرد: خستگیِ بدنی و خستگیِ عصبی
‎کارِ بدنی هرگاه از میزانِ معین تجاوز کند، رنجی جانکاه است و غالباً هم به اندازه ای میرسد که زندگی را طاقت فرسا میسازد... امّا، خستگی ای که در حالِ حاضر در اجتماعاتِ مترقی، طاقت فرساست، خستگیِ عصبی است و عجیب است که بیشتر طبقۀ ثروتمند از این بابت می نالند. این نوع خستگی در میانِ کارگران، کمتر از افراد تجارت پیشه و روشن فکر دیده میشود... و اجتناب از این نوع خستگی بسیار دشوار است... در تمامِ ساعاتِ کار و بدتر از آن در مسافتِ بینِ محلِ کار و خانه، کارمندِ شهری سخت گرفتار سر و صداست
‎تصور کنید، صبح برایِ رسیدن به محلِ کار، شلوغی و اذیت شدن برایِ رسیدن و سوار شدن به مترو، باعثِ درماندگی و بیزاری از زندگی میشود
‎در نتیجه هنگامی که کارمند یا کارگر به محل کار خود میرسد و خدمت و کار را شروع میکند اعصابش را از دست داده است و آمادگیِ فراوان در قبول این نظریه دارد که اصلاً وجودِ انسان مایۀ دردسر است.... حال تصور کنید، کارفرما و یا مدیرِ شرکت هم با همین کیفیت به محلِ کار رسیده است،. مطمئن باشید، ترس از اخراج موجبِ خوش رفتاریِ کارمند میگردد، اما همین رفتارِ غیرِ عادی بر صدمۀ عصبیِ او می افزاید و متقابلاً بیم از خطرِ ورشکستگی نیز کارفرما را مانع اقدامِ بد می شود
‎در میانِ مردمی که قشرِ متوسط و بالاتر و پایینتر از آن هستند، خستگیِ آن ها ناشی از افراط در کارِ سنگین و جستجویِ رز�� و روزی است... مردها از افکارِ پریشان در خصوصِ کسب و کار خود حتی شبهنگام در رختخواب هم دست برنمی دارند، یعنی همان ساعت های شب که برایِ استراحت و تجدیدِ قوا برای گرفتاری هایِ فردا است... پیوسته امور و مسائلی را در ذهن و خیالِ خود جولان میدهند که در آن وقت و حال کاری دربارۀ آن ها میسر نیست... سپس بامداد، هنوز بارِ سنگینِ بعضی از خیالاتِ نیمه شب ذهنِ ایشان را گرفتار کرده است و ناگزیر در تصمیماتِ آن ها تاثیرِ منفی می گذارد و خلق و خوی آن ها را مختل میکند، به حدی که هر مانعی باعثِ برآشفتگی می شود
‎صدمه ای که به انسان وارد میشود، غالباً مربوط به پریشانی و نگرانیِ فکر و خیال است... صدمۀ خستگیِ ناشی از اضطرابِ این است که مانعِ استراحت میشود
‎در افرادِ ثروتمند، برایِ اینکه به چنین مقامی برسند، لابد سالیانِ درازی را توأم با گرفتاری و مبارزه گذرانده اند و در تمامِ اوقات نیز باید از اوضاع هر گوشه و کنار جهان آکاه باشند و پیوسته خطراتِ ناشی از ناحیۀ رقیبانِ خود را خنثی کنند. نتیجه این میشود که هنگامی که موفقیت نهایی به چنگ می آید، دیگر اعصابی برای آن باقی نمانده است و به قدری هم به اضطراب عصبی خو گرفته است که به آسانی قادر نیست حتی زمانی که انگیزۀ نگرانی منتفی است از تأثیر ناگوارِ آن پرهیز کند... فرزندانِ مرد ثروتمند، راحت با پول و سرمایۀ پدر زندگی و تفریح میکنند، و با برخی از رفتارها و کردارهایِ اشتباه و زشت باعثِ آزردگیِ خاطرِ پدر میشوند، و به واسطۀ کم خوابی که از تفریحاتِ بیهودۀ آنها نشأت گرفته است، موجباتِ تباهیِ نیرویِ جسمانیِ خود را فراهم می سازند و همین که واردِ مرحلۀ بعدی در زندگی میشوند، همچون پدرانِ خود از احرازِ خوشبختی در میمانند
‎پس عزیزانم، خواه بنابر اراده یا بی ارادگی و خواه بی اختیار و اضطراراً، بیشترِ افراد در دنیایِ جدید، زندگانیِ عصبانی دارند و پیوسته خسته تر از آن هستند که بدونِ می و شراب، خوش و خرم شوند
‎امیدوارم این ریویو برای شما خردگرایان، مفید بوده باشه
‎خوشبختیِ همهٔ شما عزیزان را آرزو دارم و سپاسگزارم که این متن را خواندید
‎«پیروز باشید و ایرانی»
Profile Image for W.
1,185 reviews4 followers
December 28, 2020
Some great advice from Bertrand Russell,for the conquest of happiness.

But first he looks at the causes of unhappiness.
The social system creates war,economic exploitation and unequal opportunities for individuals.

Unhappy people have mistaken habits,ethics and views of the world.A lot of self absorption,brooding and loneliness creates what he calls "byronic unhappiness."

Many people don't have the zest required for happiness.Competition,fatigue and boredom also create unhappiness.Envy is an even more powerful cause of unhappiness.Fear of what others think of one's actions is detrimental too.

The "sense of sin" can lead to a lot of unease.Some people may find his idea of sin controversial.(I remember that this chapter had been excluded from text books in Pakistan).Russell's views on this subject were unconventional,anyway.

For happiness,Russell stresses the need for having zest for life and developing a wide range of interests including impersonal ones which can release stress.

A good family life is vital,an individual needs love and affection.One needs effort and constructive engagement in one's work.If work is not excessive,even the dullest work is better than idleness.

Another important thing is resignation,not worrying about the things that can't be attained.

Russell even has a remedy for the fear of death,having children,through whom one can live on,in his view.However,I doubt if having children is as unmitigated a blessing as he makes it sound.

These then are Russell's thoughts,which an individual with average fortune may find helpful.

Really bad fortune ? Russell does not talk about that.
Profile Image for Tara.
205 reviews269 followers
March 28, 2008
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 improved his capacity for forgiveness and imagination. The truth is, "The Conquest of Happiness" is a self-righteous book which displays little insight into human behavior. There are phrases which simply made me cringe (colored people are happier by nature? a-buh? women are merely vessels of bottled-up antagonism towards better-dressed members of the gender? thanks, but I'll pass on that analysis). Like I said, I still enjoy a lot of Russell. I think he himself is aware of his faulty reasoning, and you can see that when he says "This issue goes beyond what I can say here" or "I'm loathe to talk like a mystic, but I have to here..." It would have been a better book if he'd paid more attention to those urges. Go ahead and read it because it does tell us a lot about the author's progression as a person, and it does have good insights at points, but I'd recommend Simone Weil or Erich Fromm or Hazrat Khan or Aldous Huxley or Paul Tillich or many others for more fruitful reading (hey Russell! Some women care about more than their clothes. Check out Simone Weil who was fighting the fascists while you were only smoking your pipe and talking about the working-class!) Also, it's really fascinating that he wrote this book when he himself was miserable and needed some money. Should be kept in mind.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
February 21, 2019
The Conquest of Happiness, Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell describes the purpose of this book as the putting together of some remarks on the state of happiness which are inspired by common sense, rather than any profound philosophy or deep erudition. It is based on the belief that many people who are unhappy could become happy by well-directed effort.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هشتم ماه ژانویه سال 1974 میلادی
عنوان: شاهراه خوشبختی؛ اثر: رتراند راسل؛ مترجم: غلامعلی وحیدمازندرانی، نشر: ‏تهران، امیرکبیر، 1348، در 279 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1352؛ در 188 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: امیرکبیر، کتابهای سیمرغ، چاپ سوم 1355، در 188 ص؛ عنوان دیگر: تسخیر خوشبختی (تسخیر سعادت)؛ موضوع: خوشبختی، موفقیت، راه و رسم زندگی - سده 20 م
عنوان: تسخیر خوشبختی؛ اثر: برتراند راسل؛ مترجم: مهدی قراچه داغی، نشر: ‏تهران، ذهن آویز: 1378، در نه، و 162 ص؛ شابک: 9649206906؛
عنوان: تسخیر خوشبختی؛ اثر: برتراند راسل؛ مترجم: فریدون حاجتی، نشر: ‏تهران، کلبه: 1381، در 272 ص؛ شابک: ایکس - 964752515؛
در بخش نخست: موجبات بدبختی بررسی میشود. اینکه علت بدبختی افراد چیست؟ چطور با رقابت، حسد، جنون، و حس گناهکاری، موجب بدبختی خودمان را فراهم میآوریم. در بخش دوم: به اسباب خوشبختی میپردازند. آیا هنوز سعادت قابل حصول است؟ شوق و نشاط، محبت، خانواده، و کار، چگونه بر خوشبختی تاثیرگذار است. مترجم جناب (غ. وحیدمازندران) میگویند: امیدوارم در میان انبوه جمعیت بشری، کسان بسیاری، خواه زن یا مرد، که گرفتار بدبختی هستند، بی آن که طرفی از آن بربندند، به وسیله ی راه و روشی که در این کتاب بازنموده ام، درمان گرفتاری خویش را دریابند. به نظر من بسا کسانی که از نعمت سعادت محرومند، بر اثر جهد و تلاش پیگیر در پیروی از قواعد مندرج در این کتاب خواهند توانست راز سعادت را بدست آورند. پایان نقل از مترجم. برتراند راسل، هدف از نگارش این کتاب را گردآوری برخی از سخنان در مورد شادمانی که از عقل سلیم الهام گرفته شده میدانند، ایشان باور دارند که بسیاری از افراد میتوانند با تلاشهای هدفمند خوشبخت شوند. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Firdevs.
17 reviews93 followers
May 17, 2018
Cover deki çikolatalı çilek bile fazlasını kurtaramadı... sanırım ben kişisel gelişim sevmiyorum...
Profile Image for Tristan.
23 reviews
December 17, 2010
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, but rather a survey of the helpful and unhelpful aspects Russel sees in human nature and modern culture, and suggestions on how one might cope with it. It's written by a British gentleman in the 1920's, so the language is a bit stilted, and his mention of things like the Servant Problem might fall on deaf ears to the modern reader, but this book is full of gems.
Profile Image for Smiley .
774 reviews18 followers
August 28, 2019
I first read its 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 in 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 published by Routledge (2006):

No one is surprised to find an eminent general or admiral poor; indeed poverty in such circumstances is, in a sense, itself an honor. (p. 30)

A certain power of enduring boredom is therefore essential to a happy life, and is more of the things that ought to be taught to the young. (p. 39)

Whoever wishes to increase human happiness must wish to increase admiration and to diminish envy. (p. 56)

The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile. (p. 109)

Find one to read and you will understand why this book is still inspiring from one of the eminent philosophers in the 20th century.
Profile Image for Teresa.
1,492 reviews
April 13, 2019
Auto-ajuda e similares é um género de literatura que não me interessa, nem sequer acredito que tenha utilidade seja para quem for. Aqueles que, como eu, "não nasceram para sofrer", instintivamente, procuram o que é bom e fogem do que é mau, dedicando mais tempo a rir do que a chorar porque, tal como é impossível espirrar de olhos abertos, também o é ser infeliz a gargalhar. Para os "arrependidos de ter nascido" não há truques ou conselhos que lhes cure a amargura. Convicta desta minha teoria da treta, não faz sentido ter lido um livro que "ensina" a ser feliz. A razão é simples e tola: ler Bertrand Russell porque foi galardoado com um Nobel.
E gostei apesar de, várias vezes, ter ficado de "cara à banda" por um homem com tanta sabedoria dizer tamanhas parvoíces quando se refere às mulheres. Como, por exemplo, esta:
uma mulher bonita e de feitio indolente, se consegue casar com um homem rico que não seja muito exigente e se depois do casamento não engordar muito, pode igualmente gozar de um certo conforto descuidado, desde que tenha sorte com os filhos.
Ou seja, para uma mulher ser feliz basta ser bonita, mansinha, caçar um ricaço que não a mace, manter-se magra e ter bons filhos.

Alguns dos temas desenvolvidos por Russell para que os homens possam alcançar uma vida feliz e maravilhosa:
I - As Causas da Infelicidade
a) o espírito de competição
b) o aborrecimento e a agitação
c) a fadiga
d) a inveja
e) o sentimento de culpa
f) a mania da perseguição
g) o medo da opinião pública

II - As Causas da Felicidade
a) o gosto de viver
b) a afeição
c) a família
d) o trabalho
e) os interesses pessoais
f) esforço e resignação

Prémio Nobel da Literatura 1950
Bertrand Russell nasceu no Reino Unido em 18 de maio de 1872 e morreu no Reino Unido em 2 de fevereiro de 1970.
Foi matemático e filósofo. Em vários momentos na sua vida, considerou-se liberal, socialista e pacifista. Mas também admitiu que nunca foi nenhuma dessas coisas em um sentido profundo.

Profile Image for Tsvetelina Mareva.
248 reviews74 followers
August 3, 2021
Някои неща от книгата няма как да са актуални за нашето време, все пак книгата е писана през 1930 г. и социалният и политически контекст е бил съвсем друг, но като цяло си извадих доста полезни и практически приложими съвети. Всички те се въртят около основната теза на Ръсел, че твърде себецентрираният и самовглъбен човек няма как да се чувства щастлив и удовлетворен; че интересът ни трябва да е насочен извън нас самите към широк кръг от дейности и теми, които да са наша опора в трудни моменти и които да ни дават усещане за смисъл. Много ми се понрави главата за "Байроновото нещастие" и изведената идея за това, че интелектуалците се гордеят със своето нещастие и презират простите радости на околните. :) Признавам, че често залитам и аз към нещо подобно (не че съм интелектуалец, разбира се).
Като цяло интересно и ненатоварващо четиво, което препоръчвам.
Profile Image for Florencia.
649 reviews1,896 followers
February 5, 2021
In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more. This is due partly to having discovered what were the things that I most desired and having gradually acquired many of these things. Partly it is due to having successfully dismissed certain objects of desire—such as the acquisition of indubitable knowledge about something or other—as essentially unattainable.

Jan 10, 21
Profile Image for Mohamed Fawzy.
Author 11 books196 followers
December 15, 2012

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 :)

92 reviews15 followers
November 30, 2020
Kitaba sinir olarak başlamıştım, içe dönük ahlak felsefelerinin tam karşısında, kendini dinlemeyi mutsuzluk sayan bir tavır sezmiştim ki bana çok ters. Ruhunu izlemeyen insan bedbahttır, demiş Marcus Aurelius. İnsan arada bir yalnız kalmalı, içine kapanıp, tefekkür etmeli. Yazara göre bu mutsuzluğa yol açabilir. Ne kadar dışa dönükseniz, o kadar sağlıklısınız. Buna katılamadım.

Yine de şehirde yaşamanın mutsuzluğuna dair nokta atışı tespitleriyle gönlümü kazandı. B. Russell hiç laf kalabalığı yapmadan, şehir insanının sorunlarını tak tak tespit edip reçetesini yazmış. Çocuklukta edindiğiniz geleneksel ahlakı ve boş inançları bir kenara bırakın, kökünü kazıyın demiş mesela.

Bu demek değil ki ahlak dışı yaşayın, benim bundan anladığım mantığın kabul edebileceği, sorgulaya sorgulaya edinilen yeni bir ahlak. Ahlak, din, felsefe, paradigma, adına ne derseniz artık. Gökten zembille inmeyecek, sorgusuz sualsiz, mantığa oturtulmadan hiçbir şey kabul edilmeyecek.

Kitapta bir "Kamuoyu Korkusu" kısmı var ki, Türkiye'de yaşayıp da orada yazanları hissetmemek mümkün değil. Ahmakça kalıpların dışına çıktığımız an linç etmeye hazır bağnaz insanlarla yaşamak bizi içten içe nasıl yıpratmış, gergin, eleştiriye tahammülsüz hale getirmiş... Aydın, açık görüşlü olduğunu düşündüğünüz insanların bile kendi fikirlerinin yobazı haline geldiğini, karşı tarafa hınçla yaklaştığını görüp hayal kırıklığına uğradığınız oluyor mu? Bu konuda da can alıcı tespitleri var yazarın. İnsanları böyle katılaştıran, değiştiren, farkında bile olmadan uyum sağlamak için çırpındıkları toplum. Topluma en çıkıntı adam bile, kendi gibi birkaç çıkıntı bulup onay almak ister çünkü.

Russell toplumun onayına muhtaç olmadığımızı hatırlatmış, tamamen marjinalleşmenize gerek yok, sevdiğiniz işin peşinde olun, basit ihtiyaçlarınızı dizginlemeyin, mutlu olmak için zannettiğinizden çok daha temel şeylere sahip olmak yeter, diyerek. Topluma karşı çıkma cesaretini kazanmaya çok önem vermiş.

Jiddu Krishnamurti'nin sözünü hatırladım ister istemez: Hastalıklı bir topluma uyum sağlamak bir sağlık ölçütü değildir.

Sonuç olarak, her önerisini uygulamayacak olsam da fikren beni tazeledi, canlandırdı. İnsanı kendi olmaya dair yüreklendiren bir kitap.
Profile Image for Maria Roxana.
515 reviews
July 25, 2018
”Omul fericit este acela care trăieşte în mod obiectiv, cu sentimentele neîncătuşate şi cu interese largi, omul care-şi obţine fericirea prin aceste interese şi afecte şi prin faptul că, la rândul lor, aceste interese şi afecte fac din el un obiect de interes şi afecţiune pentru mulţi alţii. Faptul de a fi iubit este o puternică sursă de fericire, dar nu omul care solicită iubire este cel căruia aceasta i se dăruie. În general vorbind, omul care beneficiază de iubire este acelaşi cu omul care o dăruie. Este însă inutil să încerci să oferi iubire din calcul, în felul în care poţi să împrumuţi cuiva bani cu dobândă, deoarece o iubire calculată este lipsită de autenticitate, şi destinatarul simte acest lucru.”
Profile Image for Xander.
410 reviews139 followers
July 17, 2020
In this little book, philosopher Bertrand Russell aimed at bringing across a very important message to the general public: happiness is both attainable and socially beneficial. Since it’s a book aimed at the general public, it’s not a tightly-knit philosophical discussion (although even these are a pleasure to read in the case of Russell). So, don’t expect to find any academic distinctions or clear definitions. Yet, since Russell was versed in mathematics, philosophy and science, he draws heavily from scientific insights – for example, on education of the young, etc.

The main thesis of the book is basically Spinoza-for-laypeople. Spinoza claimed that happiness lies in the realization of both your own cosmic insignificance and your fundamental unity with the universe. Russell holds a similar view: a happy life is the life of someone who is affectionately occupied with people and things. Or, in more philosophical jargon – happiness is a subject that is occupied with objects. This is an important claim, since it immediately does away with all the self-help guru’s, myth, self-deception and religion. A subject should not be occupied with itself – this is the road to an unhappy life.

Actually, self-absorption is the main cause of unhappiness. It comes in many forms and guises, ranging from sense of sin to self-aggrandizement, and from self-destruction to inferiority complex. What all these states of unhappiness have in common is a sickly obsession of the individual with himself. Yet, Russell acknowledges modern living is offering us many more potential environmental triggers to cause unhappiness, compared to earlier times. This is because most people are not born rich, are not especially gifted, and are not equipped with a natural inclination towards happiness.

For most of us, happiness is a conquest. That is, we have to put in effort, sometimes years, to be a happy person. This is because, happiness is both the product of environmental and intellectual causes. Although Russell only treats the latter, he does recognizes (and sometimes touches on) social factors such as economic despair, institutions such as marriage and religion, and threats stemming from political causes. The key is to be aware at all times of what is in your sphere of control and what not, and to learn not to intellectualize the things that are out of your reach. Even the things in your control should not be related to self in overabundance – it is important to make the best decisions and this requires some rumination, yet once decided we should only learn from the consequences and not fret on them.

Most unhappy people are unhappy as the result of escapism. If they’re not suffering from any psychopathology, some bad things happened to them, and in response to this they retreated inward. In short: unhappy people have closed themselves off from the world. This introversion can manifest itself in pure hate (towards humanity, towards the universe, whatnot), self-destruction (through alcohol and drugs, for example), self-aggrandizement (dominating others, viewing them as means, not ends), feelings of inferiority, etc. Most of these types of introversion lead to vicious cycles of self-destruction: the person suffering feelings of despair and inferiority seeks to escape these thoughts by stopping thought altogether, for example through the use of alcohol. This, then, leads to even worse feelings of self, leading to more hate towards the world and more escapism.

"The man in whom one desire runs to excess at the expense of all others is usually a man with some deepseated trouble, who is seeking escape from a specter. In the case of the dipsomaniac this is obvious: men drink in order to forget. If they had no specters in their lives, they would not find drunkenness more agreeable than sobriety. As the legendary Chinaman said: “Me no drinkee for drinkee, me drinkee for drunkee.” This is typical of all excessive and one-sided passions. It is not pleasure in the object itself that is sought, but oblivion."

The treatment in all of these situations is twofold. First, one should occupy oneself with some objects and parallel to diagnose oneself, to get to the truth about oneself and face this pain. Next, one should keep aiming at objects outside oneself and parallel to this steadily, consciously, eliminate these pains. This last is done through putting the painful things in perspective, for example by reading books on history or astronomy; or by relating them to other, less painful events, preferable related to other persons. In other words: one should learn to realize that his or her problems are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and this is done through consciously overriding the thought-patterns that have been laid down in the unconscious over the years. The most important point: this takes time and effort, and should not be done on purpose but always parallel to objective aims – a new hobby, a new relation, etc.

I have stated Russell’s thesis of ‘conquering happiness’ mostly in negative terms, since this resonates more with my own current situation. His treatment of causes that make for unhappy living hit home harder than his treatment of causes that make for happy living. It’s also the first part of the book, so perhaps it’s a combination of both. And lastly, it is – as Russell himself claims (who was in his youth not the most happiest one himself) – perhaps the most important side of the thesis because modern society offers so many causes of unhappiness and despair and simultaneously so many routes of escape.

But it is, of course, much more helpful to state in positive terms what Russell proposes. A happy life is a life in which one is affectionately involved with persons and things. Sincerely loving others, especially partner and family, sincerely pursuing your (irrelevant!) interests and hobby’s, having a job that offers you a platform to hone your skills and improve yourself, and, perhaps most importantly, sincerely not being occupied with yourself. Of course, there are the (usual) necessary requirements: food, drink, shelter, etc. but these are mostly the products of the causes that make for a happy life. Zest in everything you do is key; to be happy, one has to be a “citizen of the universe”.

The book is one of the most profound works I’ve read by Russell. The reason is its sheer simplicity – which is a beautiful thing to experience and also (I imagine) one of the hardest things to create as an author. The main thing I take away from this book is the need for brutally honest self-diagnosis – that is, viewing current unhappiness as the result of underlying causes, and investigating these causes and the events that triggered them. Although this sounds like an algorithm for psychoanalysis of the self, it really isn’t. It’s applying reason to your own life. For example, I am prone to feelings of self-pity, self-destruction, and in general feeling a lack of being part of the world. This leads to a lack of zest (i.e. losing all interest in worldly things), never-ending rumination, escapism (e.g. binge-watching tv series), and whatnot. Through reading Russell, I realize how self-obsessed I’ve become over the past couple of years, and how this keeps me unhappy – only strengthening the feedback-loop. The trick, for me, is (1) through learning how I am keeping myself unhappy through these negative affections, gradually overriding these unconscious psychological patterns; and (2) to reflect on who I am as person (in the sense of what I value in life and what interests me), and subsequently start pursuing more reciprocal relations with people and more genuine interests.

I didn’t read this work with the aim of improving my own life – I reject self-help books – but the common sense underlying Russell’s claims is so obvious and resonates to such a degree, that this little book inspired me to start making a turn in life. For this, I’m grateful to Bertrand Russell – without knowing him, I imagine him as one of the most likeable and charming people I’ve read.

"Happiness is not, except in very rare cases, something that drops into the mouth, like a ripe fruit, by the mere operation of fortunate circumstances. That is why I have called this book “The Conquest of Happiness.” For in a world so full of avoidable and unavoidable misfortunes, of illness and psychological tangles, of struggle and poverty and ill will, the man or woman who is to be happy must find ways of coping with the multitudinous causes of unhappiness by which each individual is assailed."
Profile Image for Andrei Tamaş.
438 reviews281 followers
March 20, 2017
Russell susţine că al societăţii cheag aduce nefericirea omului. Spun "societate" în sens de civilizaţie, adică ansamblul normelor care impun buna ei desfăşurare şi care, adesea, ciopârţesc din libertatea metafizică a omului (mă refer nu la libiertatea socială, ci la acea libertate subiectivă de care vorbea Hayek). În acest sens, motto-ul, citat din Walt Whitman, este sugestiv:

Cred că m-aş întoarce să trăiesc cu animalele,
Sunt atât de placide şi sigure de sine,
Stau şi mă uit la ele îndelung.
Ele n-şi ies din fire şi nu se plâng de soarta lor,
Nu cunosc nopţile albe de veghe şi lacrimi pentru păcatele lor,
Nu-mi fac greaţă discutând despre datoria lor faţă de Dumnezeu,
nici unul nu-i nemulţumit,nici unul nu-i apucat de patimă proprietăţii,
Nici unul nu-ngenuncheaza înaintea celuilalt,
Nici înaintea vreunui strămoş care a trăit cu mii de ani în urmă,
Nici unul pe faţă pământului nu este respectabil sau mizerabil.

De asemenea, cartea nu are o terminologie filosofică de factură academică şi, prin urmare, poate fi lesne citită.
I-a căzut o steluţa din pricina preciziei matematice şi a stereotipiei (care nu se împacă niciodată cu filosofia analitică, fie ea abordată chiar şi la nivel pueril)...
Profile Image for Ebru.
95 reviews24 followers
September 10, 2016
Kitaptan notlar:
- Hiçbir insanın gücü sınırsız olamayacağı için, doyumsuz olanlar eninde sonunda aşamayacakları engellerle karşılaşacaklardır.
- Ölçülü güç, mutluluğu arttırabilir, ama amaç olarak benimsenirse, dışımızda olmasa bile içimizde mutlaka felakete yol açar.
- Akıllı adam, koşulları elverdiğince mutlu olur ve evreni anlamaya çalışırken acı duymaya başladığı noktada, başka düşüncelere geçer.
- Güzel şeylerin tadını sevdiğinin yanında tatmamış birisi, onlardaki büyüleyici gücü tam olarak anlayamaz.
- Bir kişi, başarıyı istemekle kalmayıp, bütün benliğiyle başarının peşinden koşmanın ödev olduğuna inandığı ve böyle yapmayanı zavallı bir yaratık olarak gördüğü sürece, hayatı, mutluluk veremeyecek derecede yoğun ve tedirgin olacaktır.
- Benim savım şu ki, başarı mutluluğun sadece bir öğesidir ve eğer diğer öğelerin tamamının feda edilmesi pahasına elde edilmişse, çok pahalıya mal olmuş demektir.
- Rekabet, yalnız çalışmayı değil, eğlenceyi de zehir eder. Sinirler için yatıştırıcı olan sakin oyalanmalar can sıkıcı eğlenceler gibi görünür. Durmadan artan bir hız ve hareket zorunluluğu ortaya çıkar ki, bunun da sonu uyuşturucu kullanmak ve ani çöküştür.
- Modern şehir halkının çektiği can sıkıntısı, doğadan uzak kalışından kaynaklanır.
- Mutlu bir yaşam, sakin bir yaşamla mümkün olur, çünkü gerçek hoşnutluk, ancak sakin bir ortamda yeşerebilir.
- Akıllı insan, sorunlarını gerektiği zaman düşünür; başka zamanlarda ise başka şeyler düşünür; gece hiçbir şey düşünmez.
- Eskiden insanlar sadece komşularını çekemezlerdi, çünkü başkaları hakkında pek az bilgileri olurdu. Bugün ise, iletişim olanaklarının artması nedeniyle hiç tanımadıkları insanlar hakkında bile genel olarak çok şey biliyorlar.
- Halk kendi düşüncesine aykırı davrananlardan çok, kendisinden korkanlara zorbalık yapar.
- Halk bir resmi ya da şiiri anlamadığı zaman, o eserin kötü olduğunu düşünür. Görecelik kuramını anlamadığı zamansa, haklı olarak, bu işi anlamaya öğreniminin yetmediği sonucuna varır. Bu yüzden, Einstein saygı görürken bazı büyük ressamlar tavan aralarında soğuktan titrer ve Einstein mutlu, ressamlarda mutsuz olur.
- Mutluluk her şeyden çok, insanlara ve çevreye dostça ilgi duymaya dayanır.

* Kitabın yarısının altını çizdim resmen. Bu cümleler en sevdiklerimdi daha fazla var aslında ama yeter yani. İngiliz düşünür Russel ortaya çok güzel bir eser çıkarmış ama sanki ders kitabı gibi ele almış. Kitap mutsuzluğun nedenleri ve insanlar neden mutsuz olurlar başlığı altında 2 bölümden oluşmaktadır. İlk bölüm gayet güze, açıklayıcı, örneklerle pekiştirerek gitti ana ikinci bölümde kopukluklar yaşadım. Ya da benim ilgimi pek çekmedi okurken sıkıldım diyebilirim. Ama yinede 86 sene önceki yazılan bir kitabın günümüze bu kadar benzer olması beni derinden etkiledi. Ne varsa eskilerde var.
* Herkese bol okumalı geceler :)
Profile Image for Nikola Jankovic.
548 reviews107 followers
October 8, 2019
"Sreća delom zavisi od spoljašnjeg sveta, a delom od samoga sebe. U ovoj knjizi bavili smo se delom koji zavisi od samoga sebe i došli do zaključka da ukoliko od toga dela zavisi, recept za sreću je vrlo jednostavan," kaže Rasel pri kraju knjige.

Ovo je dobar sažetak toga šta je pisac hteo da kaže, a toga i kako je to rečeno. Jednostavno, prostim i razumljivim rečima, neretko sa dozom humora. Rasel je sjajan mislilac, filozof, ali ovo je filozofija pisana za najširu publiku. Praktične mudrosti, jednostavni, iskreni i direktni saveti za življenje. Pojednostaviti život, kao što je autor pojednostavio svoju životnu mudrost. "Na sledećim stranama neće se naći ni duboka filozofija ni golemo obrazovanje. Cilj mi je bio da saberem nekolike primedbe nadahnute onim što ja smatram zdravim razumom."

Ipak, iako kaže da je recept za sreću jednostavan, "sreća nije nešto što pada u usta kao zrelo voće prostom igrom srećnih okolnosti. Zato sam ovoj knjizi i dao naslov Osvajanje sreće."

Knjiga je podeljena na dve celine. Prvi deo, Uzroci nesreće, govori o stresu zbog jurcanja za uspehom, o važnosti dosade i uzbuđenja, o umoru, zavisti i osećanju greha. U drugom delu najpre se pita "Da li je sreća još moguća", a onda među uzrocima sreće govori o poletu (najizrazitije obeležje srećnog čoveka), ljubavi, porodici, radu i, u meni najinteresantnijem delu, o "bezličnim interesovanjima".
(Zašto uopšte da mislimo o nepraktičnim stvarima? "Svak od nas nije dugo na ovom svetu i za nekoliko godina života on mora da se upozna sa svim što valja da se zna o ovoj čudnoj planeti i njenom mestu u vasioni. Da odbacimo priliku da se upoznamo s tim, ma koliko to znanje bilo nesavršeno, bilo bi kao da polazimo u pozorište i ne gledamo komad koji se predstavlja. Svet je pun stvari, tragičnih i smešnih, junačkih, čudnih ili čudesnih, i oni koji propuste da se interesuju prizorom koji nam on pruža, promašiće jednu od povlastica koju je život u stanju da da.")

Verovatno najbliže 'knjizi za lični razvoj' što vredi čitati.
Profile Image for Ṣafā.
72 reviews66 followers
May 27, 2017
A transcendent experience, I could relate so much, it was like looking into the mirror, it called to me. A genuine book, calling it a self-help book wouldn't do it justice.

I don't know what happiness is, but Russell sure has taught me how to get there. His methods and views were so understandable, his logic irrefutable. Being a man of Science, his observations remain so accurate, I was blown away. I loved his observations about people in Science, they seemed so close to the truth. A Mathematician myself, I could not help being exceedingly impressed.

All the conditions of happiness are realized in the life of the man of science.”

It is a compact book. He has written this book for the average modern man having the ordinary modern problems in the easiest, relevant and the most concise way.

I loved the preface which directs to what kind of people and what kind of problems the book is going to address (also mentioned throughout the book to avoid digression) for the benefit of the reader.

Though at sometimes dated the book is very apt, written with scientific accuracy. Myself, seeking genuine lasting happiness and distrustful of people, professionals, and even literature, the book didn't seem shallow, phony or deceiving even once. I agreed with most of what Russell said. He pointed me in the right direction. I understood all he said. He was very open, serene and calculated.

The book is divided into two parts, Causes of Unhappiness and Causes of Happiness, I loved both in their own ways but the first part more.

The first chapter was sensational, I loved it when Russell gave his own example of being unhappy,

I was not born happy. As a child, my favourite hymn was: "Weary of earth and laden with my sin." At the age of five, I reflected that, if I should live to be seventy, I had only endured, so far, a fourteenth part of my whole life, and I felt the long-spread-out boredom ahead of me to be almost unendurable. In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more. This is due partly to having discovered that were the things that I most desired, and having gradually acquired many of these things. Partly it is due to having successfully dismissed certain objects of desire—such as the acquisition of indubitable knowledge about something or other—as essentially unattainable. But very largely it is due to a diminishing preoccupation with myself.

He suggests an interesting technique of reaching the unconscious through the conscious like the unconscious directs the conscious. Another useful technique is attacking a problem by giving it thought from all different angles and then putting it out of your mind until the occasion arises for you to do something about it.

He strives to abolish self-centredness which, according to him, that's the main source of our problems. He says should be occupied by the right kind and the right amount of work to be happy. He talks about the zest of life which we find wanting. I loved his bit about envy, it was so accurate and I think he reached the same solution that I have, i.e., trying to go out your way to praise such people and thus being genuinely happy for them.

Whoever wishes to increase human happiness must wish to increase admiration and to diminish envy.” (p. 85)

I cannot agree more with his thoughts about the leg-pulling competitiveness, the need, and fear of public approval, and workaholism, the absence of which can be unhealthy, but of which is too much in the world.

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.

Russell reminds us that we are not as important and people care and think about us much less than we think, the world doesn't revolve around us and especially that no one is out there to get you. He stressed that boredom is a necessary part of life and we should not deplete our faculties trying to keep our life interesting all the time. He tells us to look outside of ourselves, find enjoyment in our lives through eclectic interests and seek happiness.

The secret of happiness is very simply this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.”

The part about domestic and individual happiness appeals to me and gives me hope in this ever more divided world. I loved his thoughts about love and family and children,

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

... consider the difference between love and mere sex attraction. Love is an experience in which our whole being is renewed and refreshed as is that of plants by rain after drought. In sex intercourse without love there is nothing of this. When the momentary pleasure is ended, there is fatigue, disgust, and a sense that life is hollow. Love is part of the life of Earth; sex without love is not.

All these things are necessary to an individual's happiness. Most of all, he declares ourselves being responsible for our happiness or unhappiness.

Russell gives a very clear path to the acquirement of happiness. I really should read it one time more to truly absorb all the information. Though not so sure about the conquest but this book was my search for happiness while trying to understand the human condition.
Profile Image for Kecia.
911 reviews
December 9, 2013
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 through all the causes of happiness. He never backs up any of his ideas with any real data...he just throws out generalizations. The reader is expected to take his word for it.

And yet...in each chapter he hits on truth. Take this for example: "Each of us is in the world for no very long time, and within the few years of his life has to acquire whatever he is to know of this strange planet and its place in the universe. To ignore our oppotunities for knowledge, imperfect as they are, is like going to the theater and not listening to the play. The world is full things that are tragic or comic, heroic or bizarre or surprising, and those who fail to become interested in the spectacle that it offers are forgoing one of the privileges that life has to offer." Yes!

I saw so many people I know in the pages of this book, both good and bad. His insight into the human psyche is remarkable. I'm not sure if I learned anything new...but it certainly helped give voice to ideas about living a happy life that I already know. It's a interesting read...but I would hesitate before recommending it to anyone.
Profile Image for Mahrous.
330 reviews177 followers
March 25, 2022
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
Profile Image for هالةْ أمين.
753 reviews442 followers
January 15, 2014

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 ..
Profile Image for Milly Cohen.
1,040 reviews282 followers
May 9, 2017
Se escribe hace 85 años (según mis cuentas) y a mi me causa una especie de ternura la manera en la que redacta, pone ejemplos, y extiende la invitación a ser felices. También me da tristeza mirar que seguimos no siéndolo a pesar de tratados tan maravillosos como éste. Pero bueno, ser feliz no se trata de tratados, sino de tratarlo.
Profile Image for Emiliya Bozhilova.
1,199 reviews177 followers
August 18, 2021
Тази книга е като да говориш с баба си или дядо си, ако те бяха англичани, здравомислещи индив��ди с чувство за хумор и врели и кипели в обществото и философията. Цялата книжка е чисто и просто “здрав разум” от 30-те години, и много от казаното е валидно и днес. Велики разкрития, засукани тези или грандиозни теории липсват напълно. Всичко е много ежедневно и общо, нито една нова точка няма извън това, което всеки индивид, отгледан малко или много в лоното на европейската цивилизация, знае от ранна възраст.

Щастието не е за самовлюбени и самозаблудени. Нито за конформисти. Това е цялото “послание”.

Лично за мен тази книга едва ли се числи към шедьоврите на Бъртранд Ръсел и е по-скоро някаква ранна версия на книга за самопомощ. Но пък, за разлика от този жанр, далеч няма някакви кой
знае какви претенции (нито пък задълбаване), и просто припомня стари изначални истини, които още през 30-те години явно са били отвяни в графата “стрес”.

🧶 “Ефективността на дадена практическа задача не е пропорционална на емоцията, която влагаме е нея…”

🧶 “Тези, които приемат материятя за илюзорна, са склонни да мислят същото и за мръсотията…”

🧶 “Златната среда е скучна доктрина… Истината…не винаги е интересна и в много неща се вярва само защото са интересни, макар всъщност да са налице малко други доказателства в тяхна полза.”

🧶 “…човек би трябвало да се съобразява с общественото мнение, доколкото…е необходимо, за да не гладува или да не попадне в затвора; но всичко друго…е доброволно подчинение на ненужна тирания…”

🧶 “Думата “съвест” всъщност обхваща няколко различни чувства; най-простото от тях е страхът да не те хванат.”

🦚 “Не ми се вярва някой паун да завижда на друг паун заради опашката, защото всеки паун е убеден, че собствената му опашка е най-красивата на света. Вследствие на това пауните са миролюбиви птици.”

🦚 “Завистникът “Вместо да черпи удоволствието това, което има, той страда заради онова, което другите притежават.”

🧶 “Скуката “бива два вида - единият е плодотворен, другият е затъпяващ. Плодотворния възниква при отсъствието на наркотици, затъпяващият - при отсъствието на жизнени дейности.”

🧶 “Нaложената отвън дисциплина е единственият път към щастието за онези нещастници, чиято самообсебеност е толкова дълбока, че да не може да бъде излекувана по друг начин.”
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