Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
I used to do the lab. work for a local group of oncologists, and one evening I heard someone crying in the waiting room. The rest of the staff had left and the doctors were doing rounds, so I went to see what was going on. I found a patient, sitting there, crying quietly. She had been in remission twice, but had recently relapsed. She said she needed to talk to one of the doctors because she didn't know what she was doing wrong. When we talked further, she said she had been using some visualization tapes, where you are directed to imagine that lasers or your vigilante white cells are killing your tumor. She had also been using some “positive thinking for cancer patients” tapes where you are told to repeat, “I am healthy” and “I am cancer-free.” She was incredibly upset, not so much by the cancer, but because she felt that her inability to cure herself with positive thinking meant that she was doing something wrong and it was her fault. For me, that moment confirmed that positive thinking, used in the wrong circumstances and for the wrong reasons, can do more harm than good. The Antidote explores that interesting idea.
Oliver Burkeman is not out to bash positive thinking, but rather to explore “the negative path”, the idea that the more we search for happiness and security, the less we achieve them. This is done through chapters on Stoicism, the ways goals can be counterproductive or destructive, insecurity, the nonattachment of Zen Buddhism, failure, and our fear of death. He presents ideas about what might make our lives less unhappy, but this isn't in the typical self-help form of strict rules or a program to be blindly followed.
The conclusions Burkeman seems to come to are to embrace insecurity, and stop searching for happiness and quick fixes. Rather than thinking about everything in a positive way, it is much better to see things realistically, accurately, and truthfully. That is a philosophy I wholeheartedly agree with.
Not only would I listen again, I have listened 3 times already and it is my go to book when things get a little scary or out of control.
It is like all the other Self Help books - BUT THE OPPOSITE.
The Antidote modestly and elegantly introduces the reader to various schools of thought concerning meaning, identity, human cognition, and other topics as they pertain to happiness. I often find books like this terribly insipid or insincere. This book was a startling exception. It truly resonated with my skepticism, and I found myself experiencing the broadest range of emotions I have experienced from a book or an audio book in a long time. While I am sure the experts of the fields the author quickly glosses over might find a few points of fault with his interpretation of research and philosophy, he was quite cautious about overstretching his expertise, which I appreciate in authors that write well-rounded books like this.
It stands out conspicuously from all other books in its genre and I recommend it to literally everyone.
I encountered useful insights in certain chapters, but I also found myself eagerly waiting for the current chapter to end at times. No topic is explored in much depth, so plan on further reading when you're intrigued by one of the chapters (each is on a different aspect of positive or anti-positive thinking). The author did a good job of reading his book - that part was fine.
If you've spent time delving into this subject already, you may find many of the chapters to be less-than-useful reviews and it won't be a good value to you unless you're happy with a couple of useful nuggets. If you're new to the subject, this book will be a great starting point.
All in all, I felt like I was served up a nice buffet of information, but I couldn't slow down and get more of what I found interesting, nor could I quickly move past what I didn't want. The analogy of a moving walkway directing me past a buffet at a prescribed pace came to mind as I was listening.
It is always pushed on you from an early age how positive thinking is the only way, how you must believe in success and failure is 'a failing'. I have never believed this and have never believed in the fallacy of the self.
The concepts within the book can free you from the stress of peer pressure and allow you to just be and succeed by just being here and now.
It really flies in the face of all the ridiculous books and courses and money-making seminars in such a realistic, cognitive way that is is a breath of fresh air.
It is all very interesting, there are too many to say.
The initial part about the meditation course
Listen to it, the narration is beautifully done.
While I like the topic and did enjoy the book, I do wish there was a bit more of concrete examples. This may be my personal preference for the way examples are presented.The author does give numerous examples couched within his stories. Considering how the book began: describing in detail the self-help, motivational industry he is tearing apart a bit, I was hoping for a few more direct examples of Stoics, and even, perhaps some references to additional info.As an example, currently another best seller is the Power of Habit. While a good book in describing stuff that has happened, I was hoping for some direct examples of how to address the power of habit process they describe in the book. Maybe I am old school but I think if I hear a bunch of stories saying, "Look what we're telling you and isn't this great".....Then I believe, that means, the author may have insights into what they have found, works for habits.With The Antidote, the author described a great number of people, situations, etc, that, in my opinion, say, "Look what I discovered and am sharing with you here".....While many of these stories were good, I was looking for some other conclusions and perhaps event eh authors opinion for what I can do to learn more about the topic.I will keep this book and will look for others. Considering I have not found many on this topic I think it is a good read/listen
Yes, unless I found a better title on the topic
not sure, he is ok. The audio is comfortable to listen to, but the subject may have benefited from another reader, just a bit
Zombies Books in order: 1. We're Alive 2. Day By Day Armageddon 3. Roads Less Traveled Series 4. Alaskan Undead Apocalypse 5. World War Z 6. The Walking Dead 7. Rise Again 8. As the World Dies 9. Zombie Fallout
Wow, I really thought that this book would be for me. And it is in a way, but he's talking to the already converted. I think most of us aren't cheery happy go lucky people 100% of the time.
This book spends a good amount of time debunking "feel good" motivating books and makes fun about how nonsensical they are. It has a bunch of facts and "logic" on its side but is too dry and intellectual.
I just didn't find it helpful. A half wit already knows this stuff. I'm already a cynic and critical of books like "The Secret", but at least it made me feel better when I resigned myself to being brain washed by it.
Yes, we supposed to use reason to solve our problems, we have to face reality and wishful thinking doesn't really solve any real problems and actually things can get worse if you ignore bad things creeping up on you.
Shrug, I'm still depressed. I need something to motivate me. This wasn't it.
Oh, and he talks with a lisp, or close to. Its not too bad, but he should have gotten a professional reader.
The Antidote starts off by talking about the positive thinking movement, moves on to Seneca and the Stoics then dips into Buddhist meditation, pauses to to criticize goal setting then stops in for a visit with Eckhart Tolle. Burkeman then writes about how we overvalue safety and undervalue failure then ends with a chapter on how we approach death, including an interesting visit to Mexico on the Day of the Dead.
Every chapter is well written and provides sufficient insight into each of the various subjects the book touches on. In the end, it's all pulled together nicely and makes a good case for finding peace and happiness by focusing on being okay with life as it is rather than constantly worrying about what it could be or should be. It's a good introduction to alternatives to positive thinking, but The Antidote never goes deep enough into any one subject to make it a memorable book or one that is worth re-reading.
This book is thought provoking and I like the premise and the perspective it offers. I think it would be far better on a Kindle where I could highlight key concepts and things I would like to remember. I kept finding myself rewinding and re-listening to parts because I wanted to get the point of what he was saying and apply it to how I think or perceive the world. I just felt unfulfilled when the book was done, like having an in-depth discussion without a conclusion or obvious points I could easily apply. Again, I blame it partially on audio format. This book requires a little deeper thought and consideration. I am trying to decide if it is worth purchasing on the Kindle, but I understand the broad perspective and would be paying for a couple key concepts and illustrations that I found particularly valuable.
Oddly unsatisfying. Maybe I just didn't focus enough. If you have an issue with feeling happy or positive (which I do at times) I think its a good read; just not life-altering, but it does give one some insight.
Mr. Burkeman shares a sweeping journey of Epic proportions as he travels through key chains of though, practice, and research.
The sense of speed is breathtaking as he demolishes one cherished fantasy after another while authentically exploring alternatives.
If this is the only book you ever read on the nature of nature, then you picked the right one.