Stand FirmResisting the Self-Improvement Craze
Stand Firm
Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze

The pace of modern life is accelerating. To keep up, we must keep on moving and adapting – constantly striving for greater happiness and success.  Or so we are told. But the demands of life in the fast lane come at a price: stress, fatigue and depression are at an all-time high while our social interactions have become increasingly self-serving and opportunistic.


How can we resist today’s obsession with introspection and self-improvement? In this witty and bestselling book, Danish philosopher and psychologist Svend Brinkmann argues that we must not be afraid to reject the self-help mantra and ‘stand firm’. The secret to a happier life lies not in finding your inner-self but in coming to terms with yourself in order to co-exist peacefully with others. By encouraging us to stand firm and get a foothold in life, this insightful anti-self-help guide offers a sobering and realistic alternative to life-coaching, positive thinking and the need always to say ‘yes!’

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More Info
  • January 2017
  • 150 pages
  • 216 x 138 mm / 9 x 5 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $49.95
  • 9781509514250
  • Paperback $14.95
  • 9781509514267
  • Open eBook $14.95
  • 9781509514298
Table of Contents


Introduction: Life in the Fast Lane

1. Cut out the navel-gazing

2. Focus on the negative in your life

3. Put on the No hat

4. Suppress your feelings

5. Sack your coach

6. Read a novel – not a self-help book or biography

7. Dwell on the past


About the Author
Svend Brinkmann lived quietly as a professor of psychology at the University of Aalborg until he published Stand Firm, which became an overnight bestseller and quickly established him as a leading public intellectual and cultural critic.  Winner of the prestigious Rosenkjær prize, Svend travels widely to host events and lecture on the key problems of modern life.  He has appeared in various television documentaries, and presented Danish television’s ‘Live Fast!’ programs and the ‘Meaningful Life’ series on Danish Radio 1.
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'Stand Firm is an exhilarating broadside against the intense modern pressure to do more, be more, to become happier and more productive, and to "find yourself". In championing Stoicism over the relentless and exhausting wild-goose chase of self-help, Svend Brinkmann – though he might not like the fact – has written a book that truly helps.' Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian

'This wonderfully funny and intelligent book not only exposes the foolishness of the self-help cult, but also offers a concrete and appealing alternative, reminding us that philosophy is as relevant for living our lives today as it has ever been. Carl Cederstrom, Author of The Wellness Syndrome

'Every once in a while a book comes along that is both ironic and serious, both funny and challenging, both timely and wise.  Stand Firm, with its seven steps for resisting our culture of ‘self-realisation’, is such a book. It should be on the bookshelf of every person concerned with the state of our world ? or with the state of themselves.' Todd May, Clemson University

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