The Pursuit of Unhappiness

Paul Watzlawick - W. W. Norton & Company - 1993 - 128 pages

The Situation Is Hopeless But Not Serious

2023 September 06 | by Arduino Mancini Critical thinking - Education - Effective thinking

Are you challenged by having diligently followed a good number of recipes for happiness that have turned out to be unsuccessful?

Do you have enough of the recommendations of psychologists, coaches, and life masters?

Are you tired of being told to simply be yourself because there are no limits to the achievements you can reach?

Then, this book is for you!

I’m sure you will particularly appreciate it if you are among those who believe that Murphy’s law is scientifically proven, if you view all politeness with suspicion, if you think that each of your achievements is generated by chance.

And if you often catch yourself affirming the magic words….


Or if you feel a thrill of unconfessed anger when you are addressed with the paradoxical and paralyzing exhortation…



Why read this book?

To challenge the concept of happiness, so deeply rooted in our culture, and the self-defeating tension in its pursuit, Paul Watzlawick employs humorous and ironic reasoning that capitalizes on critical thinking and the use of paradox.

The author places the reader in front of a mirror that makes him/her uncomfortable, forcing him/her to recognize and laugh at him/herself, while still leaving him/her the pleasure of attempting to answer the questions it poses:

  • How to make oneself happily unhappy?
  • How to avoid getting too much unhappiness for yourself?

Without giving up leading him/her to an answer.

Not to be missed!




First, be faithful to yourself

Four games with the past

Russians and Americans

The story of the hammer

The handful of beans

The elephants cast out

Self-fulfilling prophecies

Beware of getting there

If you really loved me, you would gladly eat garlic

“Be spontaneous!”

Those who love me have something wrong

Let the man be noble, helpful and good

These crazy foreigners

Life as a game



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