The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman
Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking

95%

12 Critic Reviews

Engaging "anti-self-help" book . . . It's a simple idea, but an exhilarating and satisfying one.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Self-help books don't seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth—even if you can get it—doesn't necessarily lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often bring as much stress as joy. We can't even agree on what "happiness" means. So are we engaged in a futile pursuit? Or are we just going about it the wrong way?

Looking both east and west, in bulletins from the past and from far afield, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. Whether experimental psychologists, terrorism experts, Buddhists, hardheaded business consultants, Greek philosophers, or modern-day gurus, they argue that in our personal lives, and in society at large, it's our constant effort to be happy that is making us miserable. And that there is an alternative path to happiness and success that involves embracing failure, pessimism, insecurity, and uncertainty—the very things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Thought-provoking, counterintuitive, and ultimately uplifting, The Antidote is the intelligent person's guide to understanding the much-misunderstood idea of happiness.

 

About Oliver Burkeman

See more books from this Author
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 short-listed for the Orwell Prize. He writes a popular weekly column on psychology, "This Column Will Change Your Life," and has reported from New York, London, and Washington. He lives in New York City.
 
Published November 13, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 257 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Law & Philosophy, Self Help, Humor & Entertainment, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Antidote
All: 12 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Nov 13 2012

This broad approach toward harnessing our "negative capability" deserves wide readership

Read Full Review of The Antidote: Happiness for P... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Alexander Larman on Jun 23 2012

Engaging "anti-self-help" book . . . It's a simple idea, but an exhilarating and satisfying one.

Read Full Review of The Antidote: Happiness for P... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Julian Baggini on Jun 22 2012

It could be argued that Burkeman does not go far enough.

Read Full Review of The Antidote: Happiness for P... | See more reviews from Guardian

LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Hector Tobar on Dec 01 2012

Takes every self-help book you've ever read and turns it inside out.

Read Full Review of The Antidote: Happiness for P... | See more reviews from LA Times

The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Lesley McDowell on Jan 06 2013

He has plenty of evidence to back up his claims which he cites with clarity and humour

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by William Leith on Jun 07 2012

This is an excellent book

Read Full Review of The Antidote: Happiness for P...

South China Morning Post

Excellent
Reviewed by South China Morning Post on Dec 02 2012

The knowledge Burkeman draws on may well come from others, but the book's quiet wisdom is all his own.

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CNN Money

Excellent
Reviewed by Emma Whitford on Jan 11 2013

A bracing alternative to conventional self-help books.

Read Full Review of The Antidote: Happiness for P...

Brain Pickings

Excellent
Reviewed by Maria Popova on Nov 01 2012

The book has a lovely animated trailer — always a win.

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The Skinny

Good
Reviewed by David Agnew on May 30 2012

The most impressive parts are where Burkeman shows why it’s so easy to believe that quick fix paths to happiness can help.

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Wales Arts Review

Good
Reviewed by BJ Epstein on Dec 01 2012

Burkeman entertainingly entwines research into different philosophies for living

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Good
Reviewed by The Periscope Post on Jun 27 2012

‘Engaging’ search for happiness

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