Monday, April 13, 2009

The Optimist: One Man's Search for the Brighter Side of Life by Laurence Shorter

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best,
night and day, to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight;
and never stop fighting."

- E. E. Cummings

Last week, I started reading The Optimist by Laurence Shorter.

The Optimist by Laurence Shorter

This is the story of a man who has decided to seek the brighter side of life. That is definitely a hard thing to do, in a world that is largely paranoid, is obsessed with negative happenings, all manner of premonitions and has an affinity for evil and wrong doing.

I particularly like the following from the book's Preface:
"Up until now the bad news had left me unscathed. I was an optimist, and I was proud of my ability to ignore events and carry on as if everything were fine. That was the privilege of optimism. Deep down, if you’re an optimist, you know that everything is going to be OK.
You don’t know why – you just know. It’s like your little secret."

This is how The Optimist has been introduced in many places:
Laurence Shorter is feeling anxious. Every time he turns on the radio or opens a newspaper he finds another reason to be tearful.
It's time to make a change. Can Desmond Tutu bring a smile to Laurence's face? Will he ride out the tide of pessimism with California's famous Surfing Rabbi? Or will it fall to the ultimate icon of optimism, Bill Clinton, to show Laurence the brighter side of life?

At Amazon, the following are presented as the most favorable and most helpful reviews, respectively:
"Over time, in general, things turn out for the best - that's the historical lesson anyway. And I think that a lot of us experience that in our own lives too: We end up with the right person, or we end up happily alone for the right reasons. We find the occupation that interests us, or are glad that we quit our job. We realise that we are happier now than we used to."

"The real strength of this book is in the many short interviews and meetings Shorter has with famous and non-famous people around the world. The different views on what constitutes optimism and what makes people tick is fascinating. Some of the views are genuinely thought provoking and inspiring."

You can read more reviews of The Optimist at Amazon here.

I personally find it an interesting read. I bet you'll find it worth your while.

Download a FREE copy of The Optimist by Laurence Shorter (PDF 847KB).

Let us learn, share and purpose to live on the brighter and positive side of life.


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