The Upside of Your Dark Side

The Upside of Your Dark Side

Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your “Good” Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment


Format
Hardcover
 
Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781594631733
  • 304  Pages
  • Hudson Street Press
  • Adult

Overview

In The Upside of Your Dark Side, two pioneering researchers in the field of psychology show that while mindfulness, kindness, and positivity can take us far, they cannot take us all the way. Sometimes, they can even hold us back. Emotions such as anger, anxiety, guilt, and sadness might feel uncomfortable, but it turns out that they are also incredibly useful. For instance: 
 
• Anger fuels creativity 
• Guilt sparks improvement 
• Self-doubt enhances performance 
 
In the same vein, we can become wiser and more effective when we harness the darker parts of our personality in certain situations. For instance: 
 
• Selfishness increases courage 
• Mindlessness leads to better decisions
 
The key lies in what the authors call “emotional, social, and mental agility,” the ability to access our full range of emotions and behavior—not just the “good” ones—in order to respond most effectively to whatever situation we might encounter. 
 
Drawing on years of scientific research and a wide array of real-life examples including sports, the military, parenting, education, romance, business, and more, The Upside of Your Dark Side is a refreshing reality check that shows us how we can truly maximize our potential. With an appreciation of our entire psychological toolkit, we become whole—which allows us to climb the highest peaks and handle the deepest valleys.
 

Praise

“At long last, here’s a book on why happiness can make us sad and mindfulness might be overrated. The Upside of Your Dark Side offers a provocative, evidence-based case for a balanced life. If you haven’t read it yet, you should feel guilty—and it turns out that will be good for you.”
—Adam Grant, author of Give and Take

“With verve, humor, solid research, and lots of examples, the authors cut through prevailing myths about happiness to show what actually creates a fulfilling, contributing life. Brave, bold, and brilliant.”
—Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain

“Anger, guilt, regret, and anxiety have no place in a happy life, right? Wrong. The Upside of Your Dark Side illuminates the essential role played by negative emotions. And then goes further, revealing the benefits of personality traits we tend to downgrade such as grandiosity and selfishness. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the hidden elements of a happy, fulfilling, engaged life.”
—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

The Upside of Your Dark Side offers one of the most important messages of recent psychological science: that you don’t need to avoid discomfort or distress to have a meaningful and joyful life. The authors provide a highly refreshing alternative to the idea that one must pursue happiness at all costs. There is much to be learned from the experience of negative emotions, and from this book.”
—Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author of The Willpower Instinct

“I feel like I have five new superpowers after reading this book. It turns out that leading a good and satisfying life doesn’t mean we have to try to be happy, calm or optimistic all the time. We can learn to use uncomfortable feelings like anger, anxiety, guilt, sadness or boredom to be kinder, braver, smarter, more creative and more persuasive. The dark side does indeed have an upside — and this book teaches us how to harness it, so we can truly lead more heroic and purposeful lives.”
—Jane McGonigal, PhD, author of Reality Is Broken

“Full of scientific research yet laugh-out-loud funny, this book is a must read. The authors turn everything on its head—questioning the wisdom of positive psychology and the pursuit of happiness—all in order to help us flourish and be happy!”
—Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion

“My experience with hundreds of clients tells me that happiness and well-being result from facing and accepting bouts of fear, shame and self-doubt. I am so glad that Todd and Robert chose to illustrate the science behind embracing negative emotions in this engaging book. It will help you live a deep, rich and meaningful life.”
—Pamela Slim, author of Body of Work and Escape from Cubicle Nation

“Do we really need another book about happiness? Don’t we all already know those ‘10 Steps to Certain Happiness’? The answers, surprisingly, are “Yes” and “No”.Yes, we need this book by Todd and Robert because No, we don’t know it all about happiness. It turns out there’s a hugely under-utilized tool to increase your capacity for happiness. The very Dark from which we run away is often the path to the Light. If you’ve ever wondered how you can use what’s Difficult to get closer to what’s Good, this just might be the book for you.”
—Michael Bungay Stanier, Senior Partner, Box of Crayons and author of Do More Great Work
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