12th Jun 2012; 13:00Listen to the audio
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RSA KeynoteSelf-help books don't seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth - even if you can get it - doesn't lead to happiness. Romance, family life and work often seem to bring stress as much as joy. We can't even agree on what 'happiness' means. So are we engaged in a futile pursuit? Or are we just going about it the wrong way?
Renowned Guardian feature writer and author Oliver Burkeman has been investigating the science of happiness. He has consulted with philosophers, experimental psychologists, Buddhists, terrorism experts, New Age dreamers and hard-headed business consultants. They all have a hunch about human psychology: that in our personal lives and the world at large, it's our constant efforts to eliminate the negative - that cause us to feel so anxious, insecure and unhappy.
Could there be an alternative "negative path" to happiness and success that involves embracing the things we spend our lives trying to avoid?
Chair: Andy Gibson, founder and director of Mindapples
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