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The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self--Not Just Your "Good" Self--Drives Success and Fulfillment Kindle Edition
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|Length: 298 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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About the Author
Robert Biswas-Diener, Dr. Philos. has published more than forty scholarly articles and has trained thousands of professionals on six continents. He is known as the “Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology” because he has conducted research with groups typically overlooked by psychologists, including Amish farmers, sex workers in Kolkata, Maasai tribespeople, and seal hunters in a remote corner of Greenland. --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
Inc. 11 Great Business Books
New York Magazine Best Psychology Books
LinkedIn's 12 Books on Leadership to Read
“At long last, here’s a book on why happiness can make us sad and mindfulness might be overrated. The Upside of Your Dark Side offers a provocative, evidence-based case for a balanced life. If you haven’t read it yet, you should feel guilty—and it turns out that will be good for you.”
—Adam Grant, author of Give and Take
“With verve, humor, solid research, and lots of examples, the authors cut through prevailing myths about happiness to show what actually creates a fulfilling, contributing life. Brave, bold, and brilliant.”
—Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha's Brain
“Anger, guilt, regret, and anxiety have no place in a happy life, right? Wrong. The Upside of Your Dark Side illuminates the essential role played by negative emotions. And then goes further, revealing the benefits of personality traits we tend to downgrade such as grandiosity and selfishness. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the hidden elements of a happy, fulfilling, engaged life.”
—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
“The Upside of Your Dark Side offers one of the most important messages of recent psychological science: that you don't need to avoid discomfort or distress to have a meaningful and joyful life. The authors provide a highly refreshing alternative to the idea that one must pursue happiness at all costs. There is much to be learned from the experience of negative emotions, and from this book.”
—Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author of The Willpower Instinct
“I feel like I have five new superpowers after reading this book. It turns out that leading a good and satisfying life doesn't mean we have to try to be happy, calm or optimistic all the time. We can learn to use uncomfortable feelings like anger, anxiety, guilt, sadness or boredom to be kinder, braver, smarter, more creative and more persuasive. The dark side does indeed have an upside -- and this book teaches us how to harness it, so we can truly lead more heroic and purposeful lives.”
—Jane McGonigal, PhD, author of Reality Is Broken
“Full of scientific research yet laugh-out-loud funny, this book is a must read. The authors turn everything on its head—questioning the wisdom of positive psychology and the pursuit of happiness—all in order to help us flourish and be happy!”
—Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion
"My experience with hundreds of clients tells me that happiness and well-being result from facing and accepting bouts of fear, shame and self-doubt. I am so glad that Todd and Robert chose to illustrate the science behind embracing negative emotions in this engaging book. It will help you live a deep, rich and meaningful life.”
—Pamela Slim, author of Body of Work and Escape from Cubicle Nation
“Do we really need another book about happiness? Don’t we all already know those ‘10 Steps to Certain Happiness’? The answers, surprisingly, are "Yes" and "No".Yes, we need this book by Todd and Robert because No, we don’t know it all about happiness. It turns out there’s a hugely under-utilized tool to increase your capacity for happiness. The very Dark from which we run away is often the path to the Light. If you’ve ever wondered how you can use what’s Difficult to get closer to what’s Good, this just might be the book for you.”
—Michael Bungay Stanier, Senior Partner, Box of Crayons and author of Do More Great Work --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- File Size : 1662 KB
- Publication Date : September 25, 2014
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 298 pages
- Publisher : Avery (September 25, 2014)
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- ASIN : B00INIXMZG
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #177,324 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The authors offer a number of examples about the value of so-called negative states. Too much comfort makes us oversensitive to inevitable discomfort. Anger motivates us to act, fix injustices, and defend ourselves and our loved ones; guilt tells us when we've screwed up and motivates us to improve our behavior; anxiety helps us catch mistakes and take safeguards against risks. Happy people are less persuasive, can be too trusting, and are lazier thinkers. Intentionally trying to become happy easily backfires and makes us less happy; and there are situations where happiness feels inappropriate and will make others respond worse to you. Sometimes it's better to act on instinct or engage in mind-wandering than to always be mindful and think things through consciously. The "dark triad" traits of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy are all useful in moderation and provide benefits such as fearlessness and self-assuredness.
The following paragraph from the final chapter is a pretty good summary of the book's message:
"The basic idea is that psychological states are instrumental. That is, they are useful for a specific purpose, such as finding your car keys, being physically safe in a parking garage, negotiating a business deal, or arguing with your child’s teacher. Rather than viewing your thoughts and feelings as reactions to external events, we argue that you ought to view these states as tools to be used as circumstances warrant. Simply put, quit labeling your inner states as good or bad or positive or negative, and start thinking of them as useful or not useful for any given situation."
While I liked the book's message and agreed with many of its points, I felt like it was mostly trying to tell a story that sounds plausible to a layman, rather than making a particularly rigorous argument. The authors tend to base their claims on isolated studies with no mention of their replication status; some of their example studies draw on paradigms and methods that have been seriously challenged (social priming and implicit association tests); occasionally they made claims that I thought contradicted things I knew from elsewhere; and some of the cited empirical results seem to have alternative interpretations that are more natural than the ones offered in the book. It's plausible that they are drawing on much more rigorous academic work and that the argument has been dumbed down for a popular audience: even granting them the benefit of doubt, the book still feels way too much like a collection of examples that have been cherry-picked to make the wanted points.
Regardless, the book's general message feels almost certainly correct - after all, why would we have evolved negative states if they weren't sometimes useful? - so if anyone feels like they've been overwhelmed with too many messages of positivity, I would recommend this book for inspiration and an alternative viewpoint, if not for any of its specific details.
This book is extremely well written and an easy and enjoyable read. It makes intuitive sense and I think will appeal to reasonable people who are tired of the happiness and mindfulness fads.
I have used this books with dozens of clients. People feel empowered and liberated by its message: being your Whole Self (not just 'happy', not just 'positive') is the secret to thriving and personal resilience.
For many of us it can be counterintuitive to see value - an upside - in the feelings and experiences we don't enjoy. In this book the authors make the philosophical case, backed by extensive and compelling scientific research, that not only can there be an upside to the "negative" but our intense dedication to a life with only "positive" is superficial and incomplete.
If you want a guidebook for feeling good all the time this isn't for you and, truthfully, it doesn't exist. However, if you seek a framework for depth and meaning in your life, a path to an upward trendline through the inevitable ups and downs of being alive, I can't recommend this book enough.
Top reviews from other countries
However, it still makes for an interesting read and a timely reminder - before we all end up like the Americans - that all emotions are valid, not just the easy or good ones.