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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2014
The Conquest of Happiness is, of course, another Lord Russell classic. However, the edition that you perhaps see above (Amazon blends reviews of different editions), specifically the one which features these statements on the cover: "TIMELESS Concepts for TODAY" and "Media-Eight Self Help Classics", whose publisher (scroll down) is listed as Media Eight International, this edition is most likely not the edition you want. This is a sort of guide to Russell's original book, with a commentary on the elements, distilling what they think necessary for the ultimate self-help work out, not for a jaunt through the philosophical woods. Not a word of this book is from Bertrand Russell.

The edition you really want, and no other, is the Routledge Classics edition: The Conquest of Happiness (Routledge Classics)

Disregard any other edition you find, it is most likely not the edition you're looking for! (I found out the hard way...via a refund process)

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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2002
One of the reviewers complained that this was not a "philosophical masterpiece". Of course it isn't. It's an excellent work of popular psychology aimed at the layman. As Russell himself commented:
"Unsophisticated readers, for whom it was intended, liked it... Highbrows, on the contrary regarded it as a contemptible pot-boiler..."
These words are from Russell's autobiography.
The contention of the same reviewer that Russell was a deeply unhappy man is a plump over-simplification of the truth that anyone who is brilliant and intellectually rigorous as Russell was will never - in Russell's own words - find consolation in philosophy. Never satisfied by anything less then what could be backed up by fact he suffered from the corresponding lack of assurance that certainty brings. This does not mean his life was without joy or he was generally unhappy. Read and enjoy, and if you are a highbrow unable to go beyond Principia Mathemetica, at least try to recall that you are a human being for whom cerebration is a part time job and that there is more in Russell then is dreamt of in your philosophy.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 December 2006
I have to say that when I bought this book I was pretty skeptical and even cynical about the topic matter, having read Russell's History of Western Philosophy and some of the other titles in the Routledge Classics and expecting something similar.

I was very pleasantly surprised and intend to re-read this book annually, Russell wrote this book for a mass audience, combining philosophy, psychology and common sense Russell first surveys what he believes to be the main causes of unhappiness, byronic unhappiness, competition, boredom and excitment, fatigue, envy, the sense of sin, persecution mania and fears of public opinion, and then proceeds to consider the possible sources of happiness Zest, affection, the family, work, impersonal interests and effort or resignation.

Some of it can appear dated and the work of the age in which it was written, for instance I think that he wrote about a sense of sin at a time where this could be a great deal more troubling to the conscience than present day, then again I remind myself that there are probably people and places where this remains very much the case today.

I cant fault Russell in his ultimate conclusion that to be happy one should live objectively, have a wide range of interests and be as sincerely and genuinely interested in and warm towards others, engaging with the world instead of retreating from it where possible. The book is full of great advice about how living after this fashion can permit you to cope with the sources of unhappiness which Russell perceives.

Russell also, in his wisdom, does not pretend to have all the answers and when he does touch upon the topic of psychology does say that it is possible that on occasion more professional advice and assistance could be called for, something that I think is very much lacking in other self-help genres or treatise.

I would also recommend this book as very readable, its jargon free, the pace is excellent and I enjoyed it as much as any book of its kind or more light reading like genre fiction.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2014
A case of misleading advertising. This is not the book you are looking for. Borrowing words from another review not a word in this book was written by Bertrand Russell .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2014
The book I received was not Bertrand Russell's Conquest of Happiness, but a modern commentary on it, which refers to it, but contains none of the original's text. The "read inside this book" link on the site is completely misleading. I was disappointed and felt I had been tricked into buying something I didn't want. I am returning the book and requesting a refund.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2014
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2014
As others have noted this is not an edition of Russell's work but a sort of jokey GCSE crib for a crit. of the book. Nowhere within the volume is there any admission of authorship-perhaps a journalist from "The Onion" a learned publication quoted in the text.
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on 11 September 2014
All the ideas mentioned in the book are valid. People who read self-help books and reflect about the way they live, will have probably thought or come across similar conclusions. It does feel good when several sources affirm your thoughts.
I was disappointed that this book was not the original. After reading through the chapters, it appeared that this book was written by someone else summarising Bertrand's ideas; he uses his own style and reads like a self-help book. He does make it more current by giving examples from our time which is good. When I bought this book I expected it to be that written by Bertrand Russell and was interested in how he writes his thoughts. If I just wanted a summary of the ideas I could have found them on the internet or youtube.
Overall it was still a good read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2011
I purchased this book after reading the chapter on envy in "Search for roots" by Primo Levi - who described reading Bertrand Russell as comparable to a discussion with a charming companion and the book certainly has charm and wit. Although some references have not stood the test of time (eg discussions of dealings with unhappy domestic staff), it is surprising how many of his topics in the book are still relevant today

While there are no "profound truths" in the book, it was refreshing to read what is basically a treatise on common sense (which seems to have been as lacking when the book was written, as it is today), written with style and intelligence.

I would recommend the book and plan to read more of his work in the future
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on 29 December 2014
This isn't Russell's book, even though it says it is! It some sort of self-help book inspired by Russell's original book. I was really disappointed, because I really wanted to read Russell's book.

Edit april 2015: I complained both to Amazon and the publisher around Christmas in 2014. The publisher responded that the book would be withdrawn from Amazon, but, judging from the reviews, this does not seem to have happened yet, unfortunately.
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Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Conquest of Happiness
The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell (Paperback - 5 Aug. 2013)

History of Western Philosophy (Routledge Classics)
History of Western Philosophy (Routledge Classics) by Bertrand Russell (Paperback - 2 Feb. 2004)


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