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How to be Miserable
Forty Strategies You Already Use

Randy J. Paterson

“Randy J. Paterson’s How to Be Miserable contains practical, witty, and wise advice and is based on the premise that we have become our own worst enemies. Confronting our ‘management’ strategies consciously is the only way our life actually begins to turn toward better outcomes.”

- James Hollis, author of Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life


“Randy J. Paterson has hit a home run with this highly accessible, engaging book.
How to be Miserable uses tongue-in-cheek humor, scientifically grounded practical advice, and a healthy dose of what is colloquially known as ‘reverse psychology’ to help put an end to common behavioral patterns that contribute to unhappiness. Anyone who wants to be less miserable should read this book and do the opposite of everything it recommends!”

—Martin M. Antony, PhD, ABPP, professor of psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, and author of The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook and The Anti-Anxiety Workbook

Randy J. Paterson has failed miserably in his quest to create a recipe for unhappiness in How to Be Miserable, and instead has written a gem of a parody on how to cope with the inevitable difficulties we all must face in order to live a happy and fulfilling life.”

—Simon A. Rego, PsyD, ABPP, associate professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in New York

Most of our decisions are designed, to some extent, to make us feel better.

  • If I work in that field, I’ll be fulfilled.
  • If I learn to play volleyball, I’ll enjoy it.
  • If I live an honourable life, I’ll feel contented.
  • If I eat that pizza for lunch, I’ll love it.
But we often guess wrong and wind up making ourselves feel miserable instead. It can feel as though happiness is a barricaded door against which we keep banging our heads.

What if we stopped? What if we turned around and looked in the other direction instead? If, for some reason, our goal was to become
less happy, what would we do? This may sound like a nonsensical quest, but it’s been sitting there, unexamined, all your life. Why not take at least a quick look at it?

By doing so, we may discover something unsettling. We are
already doing many of the things that we know make us less happy. Perhaps part of the problem is not that the realm of happiness is barred and locked against us. Perhaps we are spending much of our time voluntarily walking through the doorway to misery.

Maybe to feel happier we don’t really need to do anything. Maybe we just need to stop what we’re already doing.

Contents

Introduction - The Dreams of Another Age

Part One: Adopting a Miserable Lifestyle
Part Two: How to Think Like an Unhappy Person
Part Three: Hell is Other People
Part Four: Living a Life Without Meaning

Conclusion - Ending the Misery Project: Life on the Top Floor

Sample Discussion and Media

To get happier, focus on what makes you miserable. David Marchese, New York Magazine.
Psychologist Randy Paterson on how not to be miserable. Gayle MacDonald, Globe and Mail.
The Art of Manliness Podcast 204: How to be miserable. artofmanliness.com
Book Review: How To Be Miserable. Sophia Dembling (author of The Introvert’s Way), psychcentral.com
Outside the Box, from Context With Lorna Dueck (below):



Radio appearances (selected): CJOB Winnipeg, CJAD Montreal, CJBK London, AM1150 Kelowna, CFIS-FM Health First Radio.