I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the last few months for work and pleasure. One of my favorites during this time was The Antidote, Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman, which was published in 2012.
It is one of the funniest self-help books that I’ve ever read. Even though I am an advocate of positive thinking, I found myself enjoying Burkeman’s often wacky alternative strategies for finding happiness.
Here’s are a few excerpts to give a sense of Burkeman’s style and thinking:
- The negative path to happiness is not an argument for bloody-minded contrarianism at all costs: you don’t do yourself favours by walking into the path of oncoming buses, say, rather than avoiding them.
- One of the worst things about being a motivational speaker, or any other kind of advocate for the power of positive thinking, must be the constant pressure to seem upbeat: if anyone ever catches you scowling, or stressed, or feeling sorry for yourself — all very normal occurrences for anybody, of course — it threatens to undermine everything you stand for. Becoming an advocate for the power of negative thinking, as I gradually did, holds no such hazard. Bad moods are permitted.
Burkeman reviews techniques from stoicism to Buddhism to the hidden benefits of insecurity. I liked this book very much because not only did he offer some alternatives to being in a constant pursuit of happiness, he made me laugh as he described his attempts to follow the negative path to happiness.
If you ever need a break from too much positive thinking, you might enjoy The Antidote as much as I did.
Have you ever found greater peace and contentment with negative thinking than forcing yourself to think positively?
- Book Review: The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman (chatonsworld.blogspot.com)
- Book Review: The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman (casnocha.com)