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The Optimist [Audio CD]

Laurence Shorter
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Unabridged Audiobook edition (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407435167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407435169
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,671,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Today we face a greater range of potential disasters than ever before - and Laurence Shorter is feeling anxious. Every time he turns on the radio or opens a newspaper he finds another reason to be tearful. It's time to make a change. The Optimist charts Laurence's quest for inner happiness. Can Desmond Tutu bring a smile to Laurence's face? Will he ride out the tide of pessimism with California's famous Surfing Rabbi? Or will it fall to the ultimate icon of optimism, Bill Clinton, to show Laurence the brighter side of life? The Optimist is a hilarious and life-affirming stand against the grind of everyday strife.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and inspiring -- the New British Dream 17 Mar 2009
Who needs anti-depressants, happy endings or chocolate pudding when you can wallow in a book like this? It's very hard to package what is basically a historical review of the philosophy of happiness into something you can read on the loo, tube and plane. Shorter takes us on a journey around the world -- from New York to India, South Africa to London -- and asks the question we all wrestle with -- how can we be perpetually happy? -- in a subtle and engaging way. And he gives us answers, without ever resorting to Oprah-esque platitudes or the empty sillinesses of the self-help brigade. His self-deprecating wit throws Toby Young into shadows of mediocrity; his taut and elegant prose augurs well for future books; and his empathy and humanity are inspirational. Suck it up, cynics! Here is the New British Dream in its multi-coloured, fragile glory!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Miss Happy 9 Feb 2009
I was won over by the accessbility of the writing and the endearing way in which the narrator contrasts the 'big' ideas with the challenges he faces in his own everyday existence. Laurence Shorter writes with assurance but is unafraid to to lay himself bare. I found by the end of reading the book it had managed to awake some pretty dormant positive attitudes and my outlook had noticeably brightened - a result that is surely worth a few quid of anyone's money?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, self-absorbed read 25 July 2011
By Vanessa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At first I couldn't understand why there were so many copies of this book on Amazon going for £0.01. I read the first chapter and it seemed like a genuinely interesting premise to begin with. But as the book progresses it becomes increasingly tedious and disappointing.The most revelatory ideas and experiences come from the people who Laurence stalks for interviews. These people present more complex and nuanced views about the world and existentialism in general, which is really what carries the book and the only reason I kept reading on. Mr. Shorter himself is quite simple. The book should be called "The Idealist". His only aim in writing this book appears to be advancing his narrow (ethnocentric)view of the world, attracting good-looking women and the pursuit of fame, glory and acclaim- which I give him credit for being quite honest about. Although witty and funny in rare parts, Mr. Shorter just comes across as an eager journalist who's looking for a good story. A male version of Eat, Love and Pray this is NOT.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read !!! I couldn't put it down 11 Sep 2010
Laurence Shorter's ® The Optimist ® is a great read, one of those that I could not put down. The writing is funny and thought provoking at the same time. I found myself asking some rather deep and yet simple questions about life in general and the society we live in today. His spans the globe meeting all kinds of people, famous ones and regular everyday folks like you and I, the journey is most interesting and you will at least see some things in a new light. As one who has not bothered reading the paper and listening to the news for about a year now I have truly found that I do not need to!!!There is less clutter in life, less stuff to worry about,you can ®wake up and smell the coffee® life is simpler, more enjoyable and I and my wife are much happier. Dare I say you will be less 'pessimistic' and more optimistic !! A definite recommended read, great job Mr.Shorter !!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The frisky feel-good factor for real 7 Feb 2009
What do we most need at a time of near universal gloom and feeble-minded pessimism? A shot of optimism, that's what. It's one of Laurence Shorter's triumphs to provide this welcome boost, to remind us of what we already have rather than what we think we need and put a smile on our faces while he's at it. Insightful, highly amusing and a wonderful read. Memorable encounters with some of our planet's most optimistic minds make this a lively and informative romp across a subject that has exercised homo sapiens from the earliest times. Bravo!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely and profound 3 Feb 2009
Over time, in general, things turn out for the best - that's the historical lesson anyway. And I think that a lot of us experience that in our own lives too: We end up with the right person, or we end up happily alone for the right reasons. We find the occupation that interests us, or are glad that we quit our job. We realise that we are happier now than we used to be. So why is it sometimes so hard to be optimistic, to believe that things simply will get better for us, and the world, in the long run? Reading 'The Optimist' helped me to access my own logical and inherent optimism again, even today. Maybe it can help you too.

The book follows Laurence Shorter's many trials as he brightly struggles to identify the essence of optimistic feeling, and grasp the optimism opportunity. His description of his own life living with his father while in his mid-30s and unfortunate love life, is juxtaposed with a gripping account of his own route to optimistic thinking during which Laurence meets a generally random selection of optimists, some famous and some just, well, quite random. Some of the off-the-cuff repartee with the interviewees, and also just people the author meets during his quest, is inspired, and while the interviews are often unsatisfactory, the author's treatment of them is invariably superb.

Recommended for those who are ready to think positive, but need some humorous and charming support to get their Jump-Out-Of-Bed-Factor back.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The optomist!
Good book, interesting story with a good healthy dose of humor, made me laugh often and the characters where fun too!
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by Kenny
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a ray of sunshine
The premise of 'The Optimist' is quite good - Laurence Shorter wakes up to the idea that the world is drowning in pessimism and goes on a journey to find famous optimists and... Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2010 by E. Cooper
2.0 out of 5 stars A personal journey of self discovery
One man's very personal search for meaning and optimism in the face of constant bad news in the media, and too many pessimistic friends and family. Read more
Published on 5 May 2010 by John Holland
1.0 out of 5 stars self-regarding time wasting
Although, in the course of writing this book, Mr. Shorter has - often by lying about, or at best misrepresenting, his motives and credentials - gained access to and interviewed an... Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2010 by Alexa
1.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in missed opportunities
I really wanted to like this book. It sounds so interesting: interviews with leading world figures on their positive approach to life. Read more
Published on 24 Oct 2009 by Lute&Guitar
5.0 out of 5 stars give the guy a break
I can't believe that some readers have rated this book as 1 star! I think this is exactly what Lawrence is talking about in his book. Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2009 by Andy Cope
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for making you think...
I bought this after hearing that it was hilarious and informative. It is very well-written, but I didnt laugh out loud much unfortunately! Read more
Published on 2 Mar 2009 by Ms. C. Mackay
1.0 out of 5 stars A sad wast of good trees - this book is absoloutely awful!
This is a sad attempt to write a funny book about the writers love life and the opinions of world famous figures renowned for their positive approach to life. Read more
Published on 2 Mar 2009 by Bill Clinton
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by the girlfriend
The real strength of this book is in the many short interviews and meetings Shorter has with famous and non-famous people around the world. Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2009 by Adrenalin Streams
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