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.
Positive thinking, goal setting, do/be/have anything circles the drain, gurgle, belch, as Burkeman reintroduces us to Stoicism, Zen and human mortality. This well written blend of philosophy, culture criticism, reporting and humor confronts the absurd idea that avoiding awful thinking insures health, wealth and happiness. This is my favorite nonfiction work for 2012.
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.
I have three times already. Its basic premise is that the cult of positive thinking is not only wrong-minded, but is antithetical to a balanced and satisfied life. The narrator was also amazing!
Feeling positive about yourself, without all the positive self-talk and affirmations
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.
Cook, Steelworker, Sailor in Viet Nam. Retired after 4 decades as an RN. Share a birthday with Mark Twain and his love of "spinnin' a yarn"
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.
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.
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.
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
I'm just a world traveling, espresso drinking Buddhist, meditating vegetarian, professional photographer with an off-beat sense of humour
I really enjoyed this right from the beginning. Some welcomed humour and an opposite point of view on self help with lots of facts and research to back it up. I would recommend this to any reader of self help books.
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