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The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking | [Oliver Burkeman]

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking

The Antidote is a series of journeys among people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. What they have in common is a hunch about human psychology: that it’s our constant effort to eliminate the negative that causes us to feel so anxious, insecure, and unhappy. And that there is an alternative "negative path" to happiness and success that involves embracing the things we spend our lives trying to avoid.
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Publisher's Summary

The Antidote is a series of journeys among people who share a single, surprising way of thinking about life. What they have in common is a hunch about human psychology: that it’s our constant effort to eliminate the negative that causes us to feel so anxious, insecure, and unhappy. And that there is an alternative "negative path" to happiness and success that involves embracing the things we spend our lives trying to avoid. It is a subversive, galvanizing message, which turns out to have a long and distinguished philosophical lineage ranging from ancient Roman Stoic philosophers to Buddhists. Oliver Burkeman talks to life coaches paid to make their clients’ lives a living hell, and to maverick security experts such as Bruce Schneier, who contends that the changes we’ve made to airport and aircraft security since the 9/11 attacks have actually made us less safe. And then there are the "backwards" business gurus, who suggest not having any goals at all and not planning for a company’s future.

Burkeman’s new audiobook is a witty, fascinating, and counterintuitive listen that turns decades of self-help advice on its head and forces us to rethink completely our attitudes toward failure, uncertainty, and death.

©2012 Oliver Burkeman (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Kindle Customer United States 02-09-13
    Kindle Customer United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What if Tony Robbins was a midget"

    or cripple in stead of 6'5" with a yard of teeth in his face, would he be so damn smiley and positive.... positively dedicated to taking your money???
    I loved this telling of the story of middle earth, not manic, not depressed. Quietly exhuberant, moderately extreem. Cautiously optimistic or cautiously pessimistic? WE all know the glass is half full at best and less full at others. I felt Mr. Burkeman explored the possiblity of finding happiness within three deviations of the mean and it is all very well indeed. I have never found it any other way in life. It's good, not excellent not lousy, just good and a good life a thoughtfull life. I can do that.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Park City, UT, United States 07-16-13
    Peter Park City, UT, United States 07-16-13
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    "Life Changing for someone who hates life changing"
    Would you listen to The Antidote again? Why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Antidote to and why?

    It is like all the other Self Help books - BUT THE OPPOSITE.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Egan NC, USA 02-10-13
    Ryan Egan NC, USA 02-10-13

    Ryan

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    "Will read this multiple times"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Gildersleeve St. Paul, MN 01-31-13
    Steve Gildersleeve St. Paul, MN 01-31-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A Buffet With A Moving Walkway"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Melbourne, FL, United States 01-29-13
    Michael Melbourne, FL, United States 01-29-13 Member Since 2010

    International Aviator

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    "fascinating and truly enlightening"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Antidote?

    It is all very interesting, there are too many to say.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The initial part about the meditation course


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes absolutely


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to it, the narration is beautifully done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tilo CHITTENANGO, NY, United States 02-16-13
    Tilo CHITTENANGO, NY, United States 02-16-13 Member Since 2011

    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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Doesn't make me feel better"

    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.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Pasadena, CA USA 12-21-12
    Amazon Customer Pasadena, CA USA 12-21-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Not bad -would've liked more concrete EG's"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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


    Would you recommend The Antidote to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes, unless I found a better title on the topic


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Oliver Burkeman?

    not sure, he is ok. The audio is comfortable to listen to, but the subject may have benefited from another reader, just a bit


    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Vorwaller Seattle, WA USA 04-15-14
    Marcus Vorwaller Seattle, WA USA 04-15-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Well-written, if somewhat shallow"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald United States 04-12-14
    Donald United States 04-12-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Better on a Kindle"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Vikoren Reno, NV USA 04-01-14
    Sean Vikoren Reno, NV USA 04-01-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Jaw Dropping Depth"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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