Conquest of Happiness is a very interesting and a wonderful book by Bertrand Russell. Bertrand Russell was one of the most prominent intellectuals of the early twentieth century. His major domains were philosophy and mathematics. However, this book is about life. Particularly, the book lists many tips and tactics for acquiring happiness in life and for developing a happier and a more content personality. Apart from its contents, the book is also very well written and is a good resource for anyone willing to improve their reading comprehension of the English language. There are many good examples in the book through which Russell has tried to persuade his readers to live with a simpler lifestyle. The book also gives a reflection of the simplistic mindset that Bertrand Russell had.
The most interesting thing about the book is where the author gives and example regarding struggle for survival. I do not remember the story verbatim, but it somewhat goes like this. Russell gives the example of a businessman living in a big city such as London. He spends most of his time with his work. He is so much workaholic that he hardly has time for his spouse and children. He leaves home early in the morning and comes back much late at night. On work he spends most of his time devising strategies in order to beat his business rivals. This is how his life goes on. Russell suggests that if you ask such a man on as to why he works so hard? The usual answer would be that he has to struggle for survival. Russell argues that this is not struggle for survival. Russell then gives an example of two friends stuck on a wrecked ship. Everyone except them has died on the ship. In order to feed themselves to stay alive they have eaten up all the corpses. Their plight is now such that in order to remain alive one of them would have to eat the other. This, Bertrand Russell argues, is struggle for survival.
There are many other interesting things in the book and avuncular advice to his readers for achieving happiness. For instance, Russell suggests that achieving happiness is not a one day endeavor. Rather it should be acquired over time and should be considered as a lifetime goal. Among other things Russell also argues that one should never feel guilty or remorseful from the point of view of having committed a sin. Although Russell asserted that he would explain his rationale somewhere latter in the book, as far as I remember he did not do it.
Overall the book is very nicely written and despite the fact that it is very old, it is still very much relevant for everyone to read.
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