Introducing “The Power of Negative Emotion”

How Anger, Guilt and Self Doubt are Essential to Success and Fulfillment

By Todd Kashdan & Robert Biswas-Diener

By Todd Kashdan & Robert Biswas-Diener

I bought this book from Kinokuniya bookstore, KL in September last year (price RM52.50, before 10% off for members). No doubt I picked this book up straightaway after looking at the title, as some of my regular readers would know that I’m not in favour of all those positive psychology, positive thinking, positive attitudes etc kind of approach.

One of the authors (RBD) is actually a positive psychologist – and what? He co-authored a “power of negative emotion” book? If you look through the list of books that he has authored, you will inevitably see either “positive” or “happiness” in most of the titles! So what made him write this book?

The centre point that it brings, I guess, is becoming “whole”. It is similar to ACT’s concepts (accepting the positives, negatives, everything; and make full use of them all), except that it has shown me the benefits of not being mindful and that we don’t necessarily have to be so mindful all the time.

I also like it that it’s evidence-based, many interesting research studies are cited. Despite that, I also realised that it can be biased from time to time, picking out only the points that support their views and not stating the full picture.

Overall I think it’s a good read, I’d say “anything moderate will be good for us” is quite a common sense. Such as eating fruits is good, but eating too much is never good; having stress can help to push you, but too much can collapse you; feeling angry can make you a more assertive person, but too much can cause problems etc. So the book doesn’t provide much of new perspective to me, and maybe to anyone who would pick up this book. Yet it’s a good book, because it makes you think about things you already know, and help (at least a little bit) to become whole.

People who are able to use the whole range of their natural psychological gifts — those folks who are comfortable with being both positive and negative, and can therefore draw from the full range of human emotions — are the healthiest and, often, the most successful. (p. x)

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