Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Conquest of Happiness - Bertrand Russell

The Conquest Of Happiness explains the causes of unhappiness and happiness, and then shows what it takes to live happily.
Summary Of The Book
It is the quest of every person to be happy. 
Yet, happiness always seems elusive, ephemeral. 
It vanishes in almost an instant, it is never a constant state.
All philosophies explore this basic search, for constant happiness.
The British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote this book, The Conquest Of Happiness, to show readers the path to achieve this aim. 
He hoped to explain some common sense ideas that will enable them to find happiness in life.
The book first explores causes for unhappiness. 
He focuses on normal, everyday kind of discontent and unhappiness, which do not have any real external cause.
 Instead, he points out, it is the result of the person’s own views and attitudes.
The author goes into many causes like boredom, competition, excitement, fatigue, sense of sin, and fear of public opinion. 
He says that people often crave excitement as a way to happiness, confusing boredom with a sense of unhappiness. 
He says excitement is not really a way to happiness.
He points out that many people confuse unhappiness with a state of wisdom. 
They assume a wise person has learnt from experience that life is shallow and has no meaning and is therefore unhappy. 
He also says being obsessed with success to the point of sacrificing so many other things of value also leads to unhappiness.
He then goes into the causes of happiness. 
He says that the ways to happiness are to take an interest in people, in having enthusiasm for life, to find pleasure in work, to show affection, to realize the value of family relationships. 
While work might not be normally viewed as a cause for happiness, it is one because it helps pass the time, the work itself might be a source of pleasure, and it also provides an opportunity for success. 
To be happy, each person should also take an interest in other people, other things, without self-interest.
The Conquest Of Happiness thus tries to show the readers the way to happiness by first showing them the causes of unhappiness and then getting rid of them.
It then shows the causes for happiness.
It is thus a practical guide to help people learn to be happy whatever their circumstance in life is.

[Book Summary Source:]

Goodreads Rating - 3.99 out of 5 (3506 Ratings, 260 Reviews)

My Rating:  3 out of 5.

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