The Upside to Your Dark Side: Book Review

by | Aug 19, 2020 | Review

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We all have dark sides to our personalities. Instead of fighting them or hiding them, embrace them. Find the upside to your dark side!

“The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self Not Just Your Good Self Drives Success and Fulfillment” by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener.

KP’s Review

This book is fantastic…It made me think deeply about the seemingly never-ending pursuit of happiness and how it’s actually making people miserable. Being called a “Happiness Nazi” myself, this book opened my eyes to the power of harnessing the dark sides of our personalities. The authors make a case that the goal shouldn’t be happiness; it should be wholeness which means fully experiencing all of our emotions, not just the positive ones. Wholeness also means allowing the gifts of all of our personality traits to create success and fulfillment…even if those traits have been labeled as ugly or bad. For example, anger can be very motivating…when you’re really mad and you express it effectively, you can create action to change a situation for the better. I felt inspired and empowered after I was done with this book. I more fully appreciate the darker qualities, not only in myself but everyone important in my life.

KP’s Top Take Away

Organizations should not create an environment that only tolerates positivity. Instead, they should create one that allows people to be real. This means that it should be safe to voice concerns and opposing opinions. Companies should help their employees learn how to more effectively move through negative emotions and situations so that problems aren’t swept under the rug but resolved through communication and action. This kind of progress will create engaged employees who can flex with the good times and the tough.

Editorial Reviews posted on Amazon

“At long last, here’s a book on why happiness can make us sad and mindfulness might be overrated. The Upside of Your Dark Side offers a provocative, evidence-based case for a balanced life. If you haven’t read it yet, you should feel guilty—and it turns out that will be good for you.”
—Adam Grant, author of Give and Take

The Upside of Your Dark Side offers one of the most important messages of recent psychological science: that you don’t need to avoid discomfort or distress to have a meaningful and joyful life. The authors provide a highly refreshing alternative to the idea that one must pursue happiness at all costs. There is much to be learned from the experience of negative emotions, and from this book.”
—Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author of The Willpower Instinct

“I feel like I have five new superpowers after reading this book. It turns out that leading a good and satisfying life doesn’t mean we have to try to be happy, calm or optimistic all the time. We can learn to use uncomfortable feelings like anger, anxiety, guilt, sadness or boredom to be kinder, braver, smarter, more creative and more persuasive. The dark side does indeed have an upside — and this book teaches us how to harness it, so we can truly lead more heroic and purposeful lives.”
—Jane McGonigal, PhD, author of Reality Is Broken

Happy reading,