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The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (May 28 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480527300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480527300
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.6 x 14 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #661,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Burkeman's tour of the 'negative path' to happiness makes for a deeply insightful and entertaining book. This insecure, anxious and sometimes unhappy reader found it quite helpful. (Hector Tobar, The Los Angeles Times)

Some of the most truthful and useful words on [happiness] to be published in recent years . . . A marvellous synthesis of good sense, which would make a bracing detox for the self-help junkie. (Julian Baggini, The Guardian)

"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 and A Whole New Mind)

Quietly subversive, beautifully written, persuasive, and profound, Oliver Burkeman's book will make you think--and smile. (Alex Bellos, author of Here's Looking at Euclid)

Addictive, wise, and very funny. (Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist)

What unites [Burkeman's] travels, and seems to drive the various characters he meets, from modern-day Stoics to business consultants, is disillusionment with a patently false idea that something as complex as the goal of human happiness can be found by looking in a book . . . It's a simple idea, but an exhilarating and satisfying one. (Alexander Larman, The Observer)

"This is an excellent book; Burkeman makes us see that our current approach, in which we want happiness but search for certainty--often in the shape of material goods--is counterproductive." (William Leith, The Telegraph)

"Fascinating . . . After years spent consulting specialists--from psychologists to philosophers and even Buddhists--Burkeman realised they all agreed on one thing: . . . in order to be truly happy, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions--or, at least, to learn to stop running so hard from them." (Mandy Francis, The Daily Mail)

"Splendid . . . Readable and engaging." (British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Times (London)) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. He writes a popular weekly column on psychology, "This Column Will Change Your Life," and has reported from London, Washington and New York.

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. He writes a popular weekly column on psychology, "This Column Will Change Your Life," and has reported from London, Washington and New York.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Burkeman provides a surprisingly useful tour of the power of negative thinking, taking us to science, Buddhism, and Stoic philosophy. Missing, from my perspective is any exploration of the negative from the Judeo-Christian perspective. Presumably Job has nothing to say. Nonetheless this book will make you smile at the emptiness of pop psychology, which is sometimes couched in learned language. It might even give you hope to try anew to embrace and accept all elements of life, and find a richer existence thereby than what you may have expected.
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Format: Hardcover
In "The Antidote," British journalist Oliver Burkeman asserts that one cannot achieve happiness through the clichés of positive thinking, motivational pep talks and narrowly-focused goal setting. Instead, living a fulfilling life requires embracing both uncertainty and negative thoughts. In eight chapters, readers meet Stoics, Buddhists and other philosophers all of whom possess "a willingness to...pause and take a step back; to turn to face what others might flee from."

Burkeman does not intend to offer fool-proof rules for a happy life. He thoughtfully and thoroughly explores topics often shied away from and arrives at wise advice. This fresh and readable book offers humour, anecdotes and a powerfully sustained thesis.
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Format: Hardcover
Heard this guy interviewed on CBC's Q and had to try it...

Even as an anti-self-help book this may look like just another one prescribing a list of strategies to deal with life's many frustrations (more specifically, motivation, procrastination, depression, happiness, success, etc.), but it goes way deeper and way off the beaten path for this reader.

There is a lot to be gained here in terms of discovering a new path towards contentment (I won't say happiness) in one's life.

The big revelation for me was something I think I was already somewhat subconsciously aware of--that is developing an ability to observe one's (negative and positive,if you like)thoughts and feelings. In doing so they lose their power over you and your mood, mindset, outlook. It helps you realize that at least in the present, things aren't as bad as you were feeling only seconds ago before you chose to think about your thoughts.

Sound complicated? Well not really, but he develops this idea and much more (this is just the aspect that spoke best to me) very convincingly by analyzing a variety of ancient and New Age travels down what he calls the "negative path" towards contentment (I'm not fond of the word 'happiness').

Try it now--think about something negative you were/are dwelling on very recently. Someone screwed you over in some minor way? Try looking at your thoughts as they were happening--suddenly I see myself as someone really worrying over nothing. Did that nitwit ruin my life, day, evening by his actions? No, but I caught myself letting that happen. Separate yourself from your thoughts and emotions and you see that things are not so bad.

This guy will explain it much better than I can and this is just one aspect of the negative path, but clearly it has paradoxically given me some hope and also reassurance in my distrust of all these motivational books and speakers of positivity.
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Format: Kindle Edition
To answer my own question, I’d say YES the Antidote does provide a cure. If you view lofty, over-promising self help books as detrimental to your health, then The Antidote provides an alternate viewpoint that is grounded in the belief that things DO go wrong.

Author Oliver Burkeman shares his journey into the 'self help’ world and what he finds a long the way. This book is greatly entertaining and Burkeman delivers it in a comical, self-depreciating manner that had me laughing as I read. However, I do have a few bones to pick with the author’s unpacking of ‘self help’ content; I mean isn’t this book just another form of ‘self help’ anyways?

Burkeman is attacking his idea of the self help industry and that is the (myopic) saccharine sweet “you can do anything, be anyone, achieve-it-all-just-by-being-you…” notion. Although Burkeman does some good surface research, there could have been a bit more depth and explanation into some of the self help methods that work. Mind you, that may have taken away from how much fun The Antidote is to read.

I think that there are many great life changing books and authors in this field that offer measurable tools to help folks change their lives for the better. Just think as Burkeman being opposed to the wishy-washy, crystal love, potpourri energy field kind of self help scene; a defender of false hope as it were, and you’ll be fine.

I think where The Antidote shines is in delivering a balanced look at techniques from Buddhism and Stoicism that can help people balance the ups and downs in life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is well written ,concise and easily read.
A reasoned look at our quest to be happy.
From the stoics to Eckhart Tolle he touches a lot of perspectives but lingers long enough to give us some understanding
of each and how they fit into our quest for happiness.
If you enjoyed this book you might like THE ART OF LIVING EPICTETUS ( sharon lebell )
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