The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) is well known for his pessimism. He did not believe in real happiness. In his view, the best a person can achieve is to reduce misery. At the end of his career, he wrote a book on how to live the most bearable life. This is a practical guide based on his personal experiences and illustrated by quotations from other thinkers subscribing to his views. In this paper, we summarize his recommendations and compare these with conditions for happiness as observed in present day empirical research. Little of the advice appears to fit current research on conditions for happiness. Following Schopenhauer's advice would probably make us unhappier, even if we had the same neurotic personality.

Advice, Happiness, Lifestyle, Optimism, Pessimism, Schopenhauer, Social ties
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-006-9039-9, hdl.handle.net/1765/65021
Journal of Happiness Studies
Department of Sociology

Schalkx, R, & Bergsma, A. (2008). Arthur's advice: Comparing Arthur Schopenhauer's advice on happiness with contemporary research. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9(3), 379–395. doi:10.1007/s10902-006-9039-9