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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read and Practical, 4 Dec. 2006
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This review is from: The Conquest of Happiness (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
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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Initial post: 6 Dec 2011 17:49:11 GMT
Having just read a very good and balanced review will
Buy this book .
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Lark
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: North Coast of Ireland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 864