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on 27 May 2011
This is a great small tribute to the excellent book by Bertrand Russell The Conquest of Happiness (Routledge Classics), my expectations were high because Russell's book is one of the best I have ever read and would be one I recommend. It is a very different book but a great companion volume.

There is a great introduction, contents and index, each chapter is about two small pages long with great headings, sub-headings and the defining idea summed up in a great quotation from, for instance Winne The Pooh or Groucho Marx, each chapter finishes with an endnote/post it with suggestions or reflections titled "Here's an idea for you...".

It is a small book and easy to read quickly or alternatively you could choose chapters to read or skip as you prefer, having read the book I have my own favourites that I reread and refer to again. "The Me Generation" is among my favourite chapters, which relates to Russell's critique of "inward-looking obsession". Philips recounts how Russell had described himself as having been born happy but in adolescence hating life and verging on suicide, restrained only by a desire to know more about mathematics. Russell emerged from this state by becoming "less preoccupied by himself". There's mention of unattainable body image and the "good melancholy booze-up", Philips states that Russell "understood the lure of getting pissed when you're pissed off, he also understood the danger of obliterating your unhappiness for a few hours rather than doing anything with it" quoting Russell that "Drunkenness is temporary suicide".

This is just a minor example of the style, the book really does flow well and is a fine example of a nice popular philosophical read which proves as uplifting as it is interesting. Ideas in aid of life and living without a doubt. Recommended to fans of Russell and the general reader alike. Great stuff.
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I have had a kindle for less than a week and already I have been caught out twice downloading books which are not the book I thought I was buying, but books ABOUT the book I thought I was buying. While the full description makes things clear, the front cover as displayed does not. I will be more careful in future, but I really wish people wouldn't do this.
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on 12 December 2012
It's a précis of the actual book so not the full thing. It has made me curious to read the full thing, though.
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on 27 August 2015
Great for Russell fans.
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