Today I am thrilled to share with you a 45 minute conversation between me and Oliver Burkeman, the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.
I met Oliver several years ago. We got connected through a book review he did back in 2007 for the Guardian newspaper in England.
He opened his review by saying, “One of the most stress inducing books I’ve ever read is called GOALS!, by the management expert Brian Tracy.” Reading this, given my contrarian perspective on goals-setting, I knew I was going to like this guy.
Oliver concluded his article by saying…
“Contrast that with the insight of Stephen Shapiro, whose book Goal-Free Living makes the case that you can have some kind of sense of direction to your life without obsessing about the specific destination. ‘Opportunity knocks often, but sometimes softly,’ he says. ‘While blindly pursuing our goals, we often miss unexpected and wonderful opportunities.’ That sounds a lot more smart to me.” (For those in the goal-setting world, you will appreciate his last point as being a poke at the SMART goals, advocated by many)
After reading this, I immediately wrote Oliver, and soon after we met up in a pub in London. I quickly discovered that he has a contrarian perspective on so many aspects of personal development. And he has a great (dry) sense of humor. I knew we would get along great.
Fast forward 5 years (after several meetings in pubs on both sides of the “pond”), Oliver wrote The Antidote. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to read a book. And I was not disappointed. After devouring it on my Kindle, I asked Oliver if he would do a podcast with me. Fortunately he kindly agreed. We did not discuss anything in advance. He did not give me questions to ask and I didn’t prepare any. It was a totally goal-free, in the moment interview. I think you will agree, he has some pretty incredible perspectives.
You have three ways to enjoy this interview:
- Listen to the audio (streaming): [audio:oliverburkeman.mp3]
- Download the audio (mp3) (right click to save to your computer)
- Read the transcription
Please share this with your friends. I am sure that after listening to this, you will agree that this interview can have a profound impact on anyone who is addicted to positive thinking.