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The Other Side of Happiness


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The Other Side of Happiness


The Other Side of Happiness: Embracing a More Fearless Approach to Living

Making the surprising case that pain, difficulty, and risk are necessary to achieve happiness

In the modern world, we have become addicted to positivity. We try to eradicate pain through medication and by insulating ourselves from risk and offence, even though we are the safest and most comfortable generation that ever lived. Yet social psychologist Brock Bastian shows that hardship and sadness are neither antithetical to pleasure nor incidental: they are necessary for happiness. In The Other Side of Happiness, he draws on psychology, neuroscience and internationally acclaimed research from his own laboratory to demonstrate how difficult experiences are ultimately proven to make us stronger, happier, and more connected to those around us.

As Bastian shows us, the most thrilling moments of our lives are usually balanced on a knife edge between pleasure and pain, and carry the potential of loss, whether it is finding your true love, holding your newborn for the first time, scaling a mountain or even taking a dip in an icy sea. Rather than attempting to protect ourselves from risk or viewing difficulty as failure, The Other Side of Happiness encourages us to take a more fearless approach to living that recognises the meaning of pain in our lives.

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Praise for the Book


Praise for the Book


What People Are Saying About The Other Side of Happiness

Pain is bad, right? In this fascinating book, Brock Bastian will convince you otherwise. Drawing on both vivid everyday examples and surprising laboratory findings, he shows how pain, suffering, and struggle give us pleasure, make us kinder, focus our thoughts, and give our life meaning. Bastian is a brilliant researcher and deep thinker and ‘The Other Side of Happiness’ is a delight to read.
— Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University and author of several books, including "Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion"
This book makes an excellent case for embracing pain, treating pleasure with skepticism, and recognizing that what feels good isn’t always good for us. Brock Bastian expertly picks apart the fundamental idea that humans thrive when they approach pleasure and avoid pain, explaining why hardship sometimes yields richer lives that are laden with meaning, deep social connections, and unexpected bliss. ‘The Other Side of Happiness’ is a beautifully written and important book that should be required reading for anyone who’s ever wondered why well-being so often flourishes in unexpected places.
— Adam Alter, author of "Drunk Tank Pink" and "Irresistible"
This is a marvellous, thought-provoking challenge to how we think about and go about the pursuit of happiness. Bastian takes on and demolishes the widespread view that life should be all pleasure and no pain. Using a compelling mixture of fascinating stories and surprising results of research studies, the book gently but convincingly upends conventional wisdom and shows the way toward a new, richer, and ultimately more satisfying approach to life. If you’re tired of all the simple minded books telling you to just cheer up and be happy, this is the book for you!
— Roy F. Baumeister, author of "Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength"
Reading this book may cause you pain. According to the author, that’s a good thing. Brock Bastian skillfully shatters the zeitgeist of positive thinking, showing how struggle and suffering are vital elements of a life well lived.
— Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of "Originals", "Give and Take", and "Option B" with Sheryl Sandberg