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The Antidote Audiobook

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

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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.

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  •  
    serine 04-25-16
    serine 04-25-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I really wanted to like it"

    I wanted to scream, "Shut Up!," through the entire book. I have no idea why I listened to the whole book. It was terrible. I loved the title and the idea of calling out positive thinking. But, all this author did was replace one untested and ineffective method (positive thinking) with another (his brand of thinking).

    The book did include some talk of bias (his best writing was on survivor bias... if you make it that far in the book). But there are many excellent books that focus on bias. No need to waste time seeking out the substandard explanations of these biases in this book. I kept thinking he was going to pull the book out of the hole he dug. The author criticized the lack of critical thinking ability in various authors but never seemed to be able to identify his own.

    He hates The Secret and Laws of Attraction but is wholly enamored with stoicism and writes about it in a way that, for me, was akin to religious ideology. I kept thinking, "Maybe I am misunderstanding what he is trying to say. He cannot possibly insult one thing and then adopt the opposite thing built on the *same* type of thinking."

    He included tiny concepts that are certainly related to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be the most effective therapy to date. But nothing ever developed fully


    The second to last chapter was on being zen about death. I found myself wishing this book would die. I have no idea who the target audience for this book is. I thought it was certainly someone like me. After wasting my valuable reading time on this book, I am certain it's not for someone like me. I want those hours of my life back.

    38 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Bumgardner Kansas 03-13-13
    J. Bumgardner Kansas 03-13-13 Listener Since 2001
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    "Truly, an amazing book!"
    Would you listen to The Antidote again? Why?

    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!


    If you could give The Antidote a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Feeling positive about yourself, without all the positive self-talk and affirmations


    3 of 3 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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liberty Dunedin, FL, United States 12-24-12
    Liberty Dunedin, FL, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Down With UP"

    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.

    21 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Miller 01-01-17
    Paul Miller 01-01-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Good News For People Who Like Bad News"

    It has changed my opinion and views on goal setting along the general BS behind incantations into the mirror supported by many "motivational" gurus out there.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aeron 06-23-16
    Aeron 06-23-16
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    "0 stars would cover it"

    This author is exhaustingly condescending, cynical, and negative. I suppose the title lives up to its content, and even though the summary intrigued me because it sounded creative and insightful, I regret this purchase. I eventually stopped listening just due to a lack of engaging material.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darcy 01-04-15
    Darcy 01-04-15
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    "Enlightening and entertaining"

    I wondered if this might be an exercise in positive thinking mockery and nothing more, but it's really far from that. Lessons learned from the mistakes of the positive thinking camp are shared, sometimes sardonically, but the real meat of this book is in the detailed examples of the various ways in which people achieve happiness by not focusing on that as the goal.

    I love it when an author presents their own work and Oliver Burkeman's reading here is a perfect example of why. He delivers The Antidote in tones both heartfelt and wry, as only someone who's been there and lived that can.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Park City, UT, United States 07-16-13
    Peter Park City, UT, United States 07-16-13 Member Since 2009
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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.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 01-29-13
    Michael 01-29-13 Member Since 2011

    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
  •  
    HIYBRID 02-09-13
    HIYBRID 02-09-13

    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"

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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.

    12 of 20 people found this review helpful

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