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HELP!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done
 
 

HELP!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done [Kindle Edition]

Oliver Burkeman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Review

Burkeman isn't pushy or preachy. He makes no promises of massive personality makeovers or psychological transformations...Burkeman doesn't claim to have cracked the code to perpetual joy, but he does deliver a logical and entertaining set of musings on managing life. --Scotsman

This is a genuinely useful book; Burkeman is not in the business of pouring automatic scorn; he really does want us to become slightly happier . . . Help! is win-win. If you do find yourself with those problems which, though potentially tractable, are disproportionately aggravating, then you will find solace and good advice here. If you do not, or rather think you do not, then you will be amused anyway - and you still might learn something helpful. Either way, you won't need to read another self-help book again. --Guardian

This is a genuinely useful book... Help! is win-win. If you do find yourself with those problems which, though potentially tractable, are disproportionately aggravating, then you will find solace and good advice here. If you do no, then you will be amused anyway - and you still might learn something helpful. Either way, you won't need to read another self-help book again. --Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

Burkeman proves an excellent guide, separating all the schmaltzy hokum on achieving inner bliss on your lunch break from the modest, but genuinely enlightening research on human happiness. --Big Issue

Filters the actually-quite-useful from the potentially-very-harmful-nonsense...quite inspirational. --Mark Watson, comedian

Product Description

How do you solve the problem of human happiness? It’s a subject that has occupied some of the greatest philosophers of all time, from Aristotle to Paul McKenna – but how do we sort the good ideas from the terrible ones? Over the past few years, Oliver Burkeman has travelled to some of the strangest outposts of the ‘happiness industry’ in an attempt to find out. In Help!, the first collection of his popular Guardian columns, Burkeman presents his findings. It’s a witty and thought-provoking exploration that punctures many of self-help’s most common myths, while also offering clear-headed, practical and of ten counter-intuitive advice on a range of topics from stress, procrastination and insomnia to wealth, laughter, time management and creativity. It doesn’t claim to have solved the problem of human happiness. But it might just bring us one step closer.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 622 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0857860259
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (6 Jan 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FN1QDS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,577 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Oliver Burkeman is a feature writer for The Guardian newspaper. 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.

For Oliver Burkeman's blog and a selection of his writing, visit www.oliverburkeman.com

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book is culled from a series of Guardian newspaper columns, and represent one newspaper hack's attempts to use self-help materials to better his life. As such, it could easily have been an excuse for a truly British middle-class whinge, based on one of those mish-mash columns of semi-coherent ramblings that really tells us nothing at all, and that seems to exist between the gardening section and Sudoku in the pages of UK newspapers' weekend sections with the sole purpose of making the reader feeling slightly soiled and withered.

Thankfully, Oliver Burkeman keeps the cheap-shots largely in check, and whilst there is a little of the "woe is me that I sojourn in a national newspaper office and write for one of the biggest publications in the world, but I really am a disorganised slob", it soon becomes very clear that the author is genuinely interested in scrutinising this material and sifting for insights. His prose is quite informal and breezy, but he does a fine job of praising the authors that he feels are not snake-oil salesman (and so Cal Newport and David Allen emerge relatively unscathed), whereas others who seem to promise the earth receive something of a dressing down (Stephen Covey and Tony Robbins both come in for some criticism).
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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Self-help for sceptics, but not cynics 9 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
I hate self-help books. Well, that's not quite true. I'm drawn to the idea of reading a book that will make me a better person, more compassionate and patient, more productive. Invariably, however, when I open the pages of one I'm put off by the zealotry, the patronising and trite aphorisms and the uncomfortable moral underpinnings of most self-help philosophies.

This book escapes those charges. It is fantastic for its critical but insightful survey of the self-help genre. It is sceptical, rather than cynical, and I mean that in the best possible way. The central message is not that self-improvement is impossible, rather that self-improvement is incremental. Reading it was like experiencing a series of miniature-epiphanies, rather than a road to Damascus conversion that has erased my messy, procrastinating, irritable former self.

This book might change your life, but - like the column - only a tiny bit at a time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Jezza
Format:Paperback
I regularly read Oliver Burkeman's column in The Guardian, and I really like. I think he strikes exactly the right tone towards the 'self-help community' - he's sceptical and suspicious, but not totally dismissive. He leavens it nicely with some well-chosen and nicely written references to the academic literature on happiness and behaviour change.

If you have any interest in either and don't know the column, the book is well worth reading.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and important 25 Jan 2011
By Dave
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm only about half way through this book, but I have found it to be very thought-provoking. Like many others, I've bought a few self-help books especially when work pressures build up, but the cynic in me has usually gone off these various best-selling 'secrets' books long before I reach the end. Some of them I've even considered to be dangerous. No amount of positive thinking will make life perfect. The result is that these books always tend to leave you at a lower point in the longer run, and I suspect that the higher a person gets lifted, the more painful the drop. This book is different. It doesn't set out to do anything revolutionary, it lays out some simple rules that may help, without false promise. Simple, but also extraordinary and surprising, observations, backed by facts and real studies. Some of it is actually quite uncomfortable to read, I've squirmed more than once, but I also recognised truth. Some of it is very funny, I laughed at the most common TLA associated with RAK (if you want to know, get the book). There's no smarmy salesman with perfect teeth on the cover, it's a book for real people, with real and complex lives, who just want things to be a bit better. You won't find any plans to think your way to wealth in here, well, none that aren't sliced open with surgical precision anyway. I think this is a very personally rewarding book, I'd recommend it very highly.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is this entire book in italics? 25 Nov 2011
By Martin
Format:Kindle Edition
After purchasing the Kindle version I was disappointed to find that the entire book is in italics which I find to be such a poor reading experience that I won't bother reading it. Why anyone would think that italics is a good idea for an entire book is beyond me.

Update: 09 December 2011

Since posting my original 1 star review complaining about the (now fixed) italics issue I have now read this book and have updated my review to 5 stars. An excellent easy read and the type of book that can be dipped into at random. Lots of recommendations for further reading included as well.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and easy to read
I really liked the author's natural tone and the readability of this book. The content is broken down into bite size chapters, perfect for bedtime reading. Informative too!
Published 19 days ago by Jacqui Burton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved this. Just the right level of matter-of-fact irreverence and seriousness.
Published 29 days ago by Drizzle
1.0 out of 5 stars Gimmick
How come I'm not happier? Gave up after 12 pages. Gimmick
Published 1 month ago by iloveshoes
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, wise and ultimately life-affirming
...is a headline that would doubtless make the superficially cynical Mr Burkeman squirm, being just the kind of trite, insincere review he would himself take issue with. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Susan Large
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and monumentally charming.
Did this book help me get a bit more done? Yes and no. I used many of the tips collated inside and described with such a lovely warmth of humour, but falling in love with the book... Read more
Published 2 months ago by mark allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Serious points conveyed in an enjoyable read.
Published 2 months ago by Kaz1250
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and funny. Burkeman's dry wit is perfect for an analysis ...
Engaging and funny. Burkeman's dry wit is perfect for an analysis of the self-help genre. This book stabs a pin into the inflated nonsense, whilst plucking out interesting bits of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alex Quigley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good and useful read.
Published 3 months ago by A. du Plessis
5.0 out of 5 stars Irreverent but inspirational
Funny irreverent and full of good ideas. Have already recommended it to my husband and son. Easy to read and implement.
Published 4 months ago by narisachaki
2.0 out of 5 stars Help
Purchased this book by error really. I thought it might be humorous but it turned out to be more like a text book,.
Published 5 months ago by Jan
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