- Hardcover: 325 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday of Canada (13 Jan. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385664524
- ISBN-13: 978-0385664523
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.8 x 21.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,164,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Optimist: One Man's Search for the Brighter Side of Life Hardcover – 13 Jan 2009
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"If you're feeling pessimistic about the year ahead, this book does cheer you up." (Sunday Times)
"Witty writer . . . restore[s] a little faith in humanity's future." (Financial Times 2009-01-10)
"Shorter is a snappy writer - fast, compelling, sympathetic and seemingly honest." (Observer 2009-01-25)
"Deliciously quirky and enormously funny, it brims over with the sort of joie de vivre that would brighten the darkest day." (Good Book Guide)
"Amusing and intriguing." (Mail On Sunday)
"Learning how Richard Branson remains eternally cheerful or how a Buddhist monk became known as 'the happiest man in the world' is pretty inspiring." (Metro)
"[An] anti-misery memoir." (Evening Standard)
"Funny and inspiring . . . a book that's a reason to be cheerful in itself." (Waterstone's Books Quarterly 2009-01-01)
"Shorter is a snappy writer - fast, compelling, sympathetic and . . . honest." (Observer)
"After depressing himself listening to the news, Laurence Shorter resolves to save the world and his sanity by reinventing optimism." (Sunday Herald 2010-01-10) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The hilarious story of one man's search for optimism - the perfect antidote to the January Blues --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Yet the book is less about the thoughts, opinions and insights he is given from these people, than his own, far less interesting, reactions to having 'pulled it off' and met them.
Some of the interviewees seem extremely eccentric, even vacuous, some come across as self-serving self-publicists, and some come across as wise and intelligent people with real insights into the nature of the sources of happiness, from whom I would love to have heard more. I suspect the choice of which interviewee belongs in which category will vary from reader; however all of them are far more interesting than Mr. Shorter himself - yet he devotes far more space to his own ill-formed musings than to the results of his own research!
Having discovered, early on, that he can find no interviewees to support his original presupposition, he does not form a coherent plan of investigation, but flits randomly from one idea to another, as his moods take him. This is not a book written by someone with something to say; it is a frantic search for ideas by someone who has decided 'to write a book'.
If this seems like a personal attack on the author, it is not meant as such. It is simply that by making himself, and his thoughts, the subject of the book, Mr. Shorter reduces one's reaction to his book to how well one warms to him personally. (This prossibly explains the wide variation in rating from other reviewers.Read more ›
After the talk I bought a different book by the author - this one. It seemed to be better value and I wasn't disappointed. His quest for happiness and meaning in life is something most of us can relate to and his connections (which weren't explained but I am guessing are due to his family and Oxbridge background) meant that he had access to meetings with many illustrious people and opportunities to travel which are denied to most of us, while pursuing his quest. He had many interesting insights, which he has shared within these pages. Anyway, I am pleased he wrote the book and glad that I read it and I have now passed it on to my daughter to read - it is a sort of potted summary of optimism and how to attain happiness, along with the honest admission that he doesn't really have all the answers and of course, plenty of humour and a glimpse into his own personal life. A spoiler - at the literary festival talk I alluded to earlier were his very pretty wife and adorable baby son. So Laurence did find the thing he was looking for - hurray! - a family of his own. I am sure he realises by now that this too is just another step on the journey - but obviously for him (as for many of us) a very important step. I hope he plays with his son often...that sounds a bit weird but I know what I am saying! - just that happiness often visits in those moments. I hope Laurence continues to write and I will look out for him on stage/TV too.
Author of Surviving Schizophrenia, a Memoir
For people to score it as 1 or 2 stars says it all. As a society, we're stuck in a habit of being negative. Pessimism rules. It's a doddle to be critical. Energy vampires are infectious!
I'd advise anyone to read Lawrence's book and take it in the manner he intended. As a bit of light relief in a doom-laden society
PS, writing this review has made me happy!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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
At first I couldn't understand why there were so many copies of this book on Amazon going for £0.01. Read morePublished on 25 July 2011 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on 26 Oct. 2010 by Emma Cooper
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 morePublished on 5 May 2010 by John Holland
I really wanted to like this book. It sounds so interesting: interviews with leading world figures on their positive approach to life. Read morePublished on 24 Oct. 2009 by Lute&Guitar
Who needs anti-depressants, happy endings or chocolate pudding when you can wallow in a book like this? Read morePublished on 17 Mar. 2009 by Sebastian Doggart
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 morePublished on 2 Mar. 2009 by Ms. C. Mackay