By Elaine Fox $34.99 Random House
This is a fascinating, informative and uplifting popular science book exploring optimism and pessimism.
The author looks at why some of us are innately optimistic or pessimistic (including notorious extremes such as Michael J Fox), how emotions such as fear, anxiety and pleasure play out in our brains, and – most excitingly – how each of us can ultimately develop a more positive outlook.
This is pop science at its most accessible, and while Elaine’s overall message is positive, she’s careful to debunk many of the myths of ‘instant happiness’ or ‘positive psychology’.
Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence or Jonah Lehrer’s How We Decide. So there’s an element of e.g. Barbara Ehrenreich’s Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled the World, Oliver Burkeman’s Help! how to become slightly happier and get a bit more done