Happier: Can you learn to be Happy? (UK Paperback) Paperback – Nov 1 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Though everyone wants to be happier, how many of us can actually define what that means? In his class, "Positive Psychology," one of the most popular courses at Harvard University, Ben-Shahar teaches that happiness isn't as elusive a concept as people think, and can actually be learned; he commits the fundamentals of his course to paper in this primer on getting happy, which he defines as a combination of pleasure (short-term happiness) and meaning (long-term). Divided into three parts, "What is Happiness?", "Happiness Applied" and "Meditations on Happiness," Ben-Shahar provides insight and exercises, prodding reflection in readers ("Do you accept negative emotions as natural?" "Do you see your work as a job, a career, or a calling?") while explicating the relationships among happiness, motivation and goals. Though it sounds simple, Ben-Shahar insists on keen self-awareness and purposeful action to overcome entrenched patterns of despondency and/or disbelief. For answer-seekers, this is definitely a good start.
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Top Customer Reviews
I guess what I liked best about it, and what sets it apart from the rest of the happiness books on the shelf, was the author's approach. Right off the bat, the book makes it clear that one's goal should not be to merely strive for a great state of happiness. As it points out, this approach suggests happiness is a point you try and reach, and then you've "made it"- game over.
Wrong. Nobody goes around in a perfectly blissful state all the time, and pursuing such a goal is doomed to fail.
Instead, our approach should be to try and continually work on being "happier" (hence the reason for the title of the book). The trying to be "happier" approach leaves us with a much more realistic goal- and suggests that it is more of an ongoing process in life we should be shooting for, rather than trying to reach a state of happiness and then you're good to go forever. So just how does the book intend to make one "happier"?
In two words, the research. Since the author teaches a class in positive psychology at Harvard, the book's tips to increase your happiness, such as setting goals and expressing gratitude, stand on solid ground. I also believe most readers will find them pretty doable.
When all was said and done, I found this book to be pretty good read with a sensible approach to becoming happier.Read more ›