The Antidote: Happiness for People who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking is an exploration of a radically new path to happiness.
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.
Burkeman concedes that in our personal lives and the world at large, it’s our constant efforts to eliminate the negative—uncertainty, unhappiness, failure—that cause us to feel so anxious, insecure and unhappy.
Hilarious and compulsively readable, The Antidote will have you on the road to happiness in no time.
About the 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 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, and has reported from London, Washington and New York. His work has also appeared in Esquire, Elle, GQ, the Observer and the New Republic. He was born in Liverpool in 1975, grew up in York, and holds a degree in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University.
‘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.’ Read full review.
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.’
‘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.’ Read review in full.
'Burkeman isn't writing a treatise: his book is squarely aimed at those who can smell the snake-oil in self-help, and who are looking for alternatives. Burkeman advocates for a kind of serenity-a realistic happiness-rather than the fist-pumping exhilaration touted by the New Agers. Go Him.' Weekend Press / Dominion Post / Waikato Daily Times 'Quietly subversive, beautifully written, persuasive and profound, Oliver Burkeman's book will make you think - and smile.' -- Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland '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 'Addictive, wise and very funny. Burkeman never takes himself too seriously, but the rest of us should.' -- Tim Harford, author of Adapt and The Undercover Economist '[Oliver Burkeman's] thoughts about the perils of trying too hard to be happy, the art of confronting the worst-case scenario, and the lunacy of goal-setting make a lot of sense. The idea that embracing failure pessimism and insecurity may produce a more satisfying alternative to positive thinking may sound counter-intuitive, but it's liberating.' Herald Sun 'This is a refreshing book that has the ability to make a reader feel calmer about their own state of mind, if not, dare I say it? Happier.' Sunday Mail (Brisbane) 'Erudite and liberating.' Men's Health
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 2nd July 2012
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3