Surprisingly, for a self help book written in 1930, The Conquest of Happiness manages to be timeless. Do we want to attribute this to the universality of the “human condition”? Is this because Russell was enlightened about women? Or maybe the reason is that Russell is so damn rational. According to Russell, assuming that your basic needs are fulfilled, unhappiness results from focusing on yourself leading to envy and worry. The solution is to look outside yourself and live moderately.
A good self-help book lets you congratulate yourself but it also makes you squirm.
I self-congratulate:
The more things a man is interested in, the more opportunities he has and the less he is at the mercy of fate. Life is too short to be interested in everything, but it is good to be interested in as many things as are necessary to fill our days.
I squirm:
In all your dealings with other people, especially with those who are nearest and dearest, it is important and not always easy to remember that they see life from their own angle and as it touches their own ego, not from your angle and as it touches yours. No person should be expected to distort the main angles of his own life for the sake of another individual.
What makes you squirm?