It was all beginning to feel like a personal attack. The book remains true to its title. I could literally relate to every single piece of frustration, acceptance, and calmness of the author. Like i said, i'm left with a lot of things to ponder. Yet, I enjoyed reading the various experts quoted in the book. Whatever idea you are trying to squash down will only continue to pop What a clever and amusing and interesting and thoughtful book! So it came as a complete shock, when the book's first chapter put me firmly down in the dumps, complete with a heavily secured lid. The author unfortunately followed the pattern that is becoming really commonplace and boring in nonfiction books of talking to a handful of people, each of whom represents a different aspect of the topic at hand, and going out to a few select places in the world to experience the subject firsthand.
Many of the ideas presented within these pages were already at least vaguely familiar to me, especially those of the Stoics and at least some of the Buddhists. Anything that can go wrong, will. An amusing and snarky appraisal of the world of self-help books and motivational speakers starts the book, but it starts delivering strongly in chapter two, What Would Seneca Do? But it would have been nice to have had some sort of cautionary word, some small piece of been-there-done-that warrior's wisdom; something graspable beyond the rather underwhelming bromide: Ignorance is bliss. It seems that I'm a Stoic and there was fascinating chapter on Stoicism. The next few chapters engage in some specious over-intellectualizing along with some very good stuff.
Many of the ideas presented within these pages were already at least vaguely familiar to me, especially those of the Stoics and at least some of the Buddhists. This is a very good albeit not perfect book, illustrating several schools of thought that bear on the issue of happiness — or contentment, or acceptance; there are definite nuances. I read it at a gallop. When we think, we do often adjunct grim, but that's simply an advocate of the officially profile, which is to sexual in addition with our resources, somebody the things we do assent the direction we can do thd. He was a Trollope through and through.
You'll come away from this book enriched - and, yes, even a little happier Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and Adapt The Antidote introduces readers to numerous intriguing thinkers, past and present. This book shows how possibly the culture of positive thinking and cult of optimism can go wrong and how Murphy's law is applicable to it. I need more adjectives to describe how much I enjoyed this look at happiness in the modern world. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in popular psychology research. And the flight could be from New York to Sydney, instead of merely to Los Angeles. If you read The Antidote in that light then it is a very interesting and thoughtful look into metacognition and the self help industry. Still, there's a lot of great ideas in this little book that can get you thinking - maybe get you to the library to check out a philosophy book.
The anecdotes are relevant, the transitions seamless, the concepts evolving slowly enough to provide the anchorage needed during a confrontation with the sort of ideas most people I know try desperately to avoid. He discusses the Stoics, Buddhist philosophies and practices, and societies which embrace uncertainty rather than avoiding it. When I think of Buddhism, I pretty much narrow it down to Stoicism-plus-Meditation. Thought-provoking, counter-intuitive and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is a celebration of the power of negative thinking. The book is not academic, and illustrates only the journalist's foray into thought, but therein lies the charm because at no point does the author establish himself as an authority for you to depend on. In conclusion: No, I'm not cured after reading this book. The writing is highly engaging, and Burkeman gives enough information to be interesting, without overloading the reader, and incorporates just the right amount of personal narrative.
Scientists involved in research have to accept failure on a daily basis as research may not back up their theories and experiments can go wrong for a multitude of reasons. Berk says people feel happier when they know something pleasant is coming. 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. Ponder the difference between a terrible situation and a merely undesirable one, and the latter becomes much easier to tolerate. If you read The Antidote in that light then it is a very interesting and thoughtful look into metacognition and the self help industry. That is a philosophy I wholeheartedly agree with.
The author, Oliver Burkeman, a Guardian journalist covering psychology, says that instead we need to cultivate an attitude of reasonable pessimism. One of my favorite chapters was about goal setting, and how becoming obsessed with achieving goals can sometimes have damaging consequences, such as a financial crisis, or in the case of some Mount Everest climbers, even death. By admitting that we sometimes screw up and that some things really are impossible for us or are as inevitable as is death, we will feel more content. He provides enough names and references to follow up on your own if you are interested, and if the book serves any purpose this would be it. And for many goals, the dilemma is that the act of striving can work against the attainment. What they have in common is a hunch about human psychology: that it's our constant effort to eliminate the negative that causes us to feel so anxious, insecure, and unhappy. I think it's got the wrong title, because this makes it sound like pop-psychology, and this is much more than Excellent book.
After all, it's been out there for several decades, it produces hundreds of self-help books a year and pays the coffers for gurus the world over. Perhaps there are others he neglected to mention, but that was the one that stuck out to me. She had been in remission twice, but had recently relapsed. However I also wasn't feeling the need to ruminate over the fact that some of my randomly set goals were nowhere near complete. This is a very good book to which I keep coming back in the couple of months since I read it.