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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on October 30, 2010
As self help books go, this one was pretty good. The premise of the book that the author presents is if we follow seven simple steps, and incorporate them in to our daily lives, we will lead richer and fuller lives by being - yup you guessed it - happy.

Author Shawn Achor bases his thesis on plenty of research. Some of the research he participated in first hand, some research done as part of his time in university, and some which Achor references through studies.

What I liked most about this book is that for each of the seven happiness principles, Achor states that the principle is, states the evidence on why the principle is helpful, gives concrete examples of where the principle has worked, and then ends the chapter with simple exercises the reader can do to incorporate the principle in to their daily lives.

I would recommend not adopting all seven principles at once though. Not because all seven aren't good principles, but because undertaking all seven at once wold surely be too much change for anyone, and would lead to failure. A better approach would be to try one or two of the principles. Then when they have become part of your daily life, incorporate another, and so on. In this manner you can be assured of success and of being happy.
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Having already read Tal Ben-Shahar's The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life as well as Jessica Pryce-Jones' Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success, and having absorbed and digested what their authors share, I was curious to know what (if anything) new Shawn Achor could contribute to the on-going multi-logue and how well the material is organized and presented. My rating correctly indicates what I think he has accomplished. Others have their own reasons for admiring this book. Here are two of mine.

First, Achor introduces seven principles that serve as the foundation of what he characterizes as "the happiness advantage": positive brains have a significant biological advantage over brains that are neutral and an even more substantial biological advantage over brains that are negative. In fact, The Happiness Advantage" also serves as the first principle, followed by

2. The Fulcrum and the Lever: How a positive mindset (fulcrum) can leverage power to achieve success (however defined)

3. The Tetris Effect: How that same positive mindset can recognize can recognize patterns of possibility that leads to possibilities that would otherwise be missed

4. Falling Up: When experiencing a major crisis or encountering a major threat, how selecting the right mental "path" will reveal the best course of action to take

5. The Zorro Circle: When coping with crisis or threat, how to control emotions "by focusing first on small, manageable goals, and then gradually expanding our circle to achieve progressively bigger ones"

6. The 20-Second Rule: When willpower weakens or fails, how to make small adjustments of energy to reroute the path of least resistance with better habits and renewed willpower.

7. The Social Investment: When challenged or threatened, "how to invest more in one of the greatest predictors of success and excellence - our social network support."

These principles guide and inform Achor`s narrative as it proceeds to Part Three when he shares his suggestions about how to spread "the happiness advantage" at work, at home, and beyond.

I also commend Achor on his brilliant analysis of situations with which almost all of his readers can readily identify and then on his equally brilliant explanation of how to take full advantage of such situations by viewing them as opportunities rather than as threats. Almost immediately (in the Introduction, he establishes and then sustain a direct, personal, indeed conversational rapport with his reader. The tone of the narrative is enriched by a spirit I characterize as "There will definitely be some question s to answer and problems to solve but don't worry. Hey, we're in it together." Presumably the rapport that Achor establishes with his reader very closely resembles the rapport he established with Harvard students years ago. That is great news for readers, especially for those who in greatest need of what this book offers.

Almost 20 years ago in an commencement speech at Stanford and then in an article published by Harvard Business Review, Teresa Amabile offered the best career advice I ever heard: Love what you do and do what you love. Perhaps the greatest challenge for any company is to make certain that those who supervise its workers get what they do best and enjoy most in alignment with achieving the company's goals. Recent research studies by highly reputable firms such as Gallup and TowersWatson reveal that happy workers (i.e. who love what they do and do what they love) work harder and smarter, completing their work "faster, better, cheaper."

For business leaders in organizations of which that cannot be said now, Shawn Achor's book is a "must read."
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on August 23, 2013
I love Shawn Achor's science-backed exploration of Happiness! The fact he combines the what with the how to do it, is excellent for readers to translate Happiness into an action plan. I will be implementing the 7 Principles into my classroom (grades 8-12) this school year. It's a must for ALL to read!!!
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on June 30, 2015
This book is full of really great ideas and helps provide a different way of thinking. I assigned it to my team at work for reading before I had read it myself (which I don't usually do, but the reviews were so good I felt confident). Although it is a good book, the language used isn't appropriate for all levels. I realize the author went to Harvard, however the book is marketed for anyone at any level. There are really large words used throughout that are unnecessary to get the message across, and I know my team will have lost a lot through translation as a result. In addition, the first section and the first principle run a bit long and dry. The same thing is said over and over, and it could have been summed up more concisely. Over all I thought it was a good book and it gave me some good ideas, and I hope my team will also get a few tidbits out of it as well.
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on March 3, 2013
This is a fascinating read. Lots of interesting data to back it up
and resonates deeply with those who feel that happiness is the
lot of man if we truly seek it and are willing to do the work.
Inspiring as well as informative. Pleasant, readable writing style.
Good contribution to your life's journey library.
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on January 4, 2014
I am a home seller of scentsy family products and have a team of over 100, I give new team members this book because I have found the principals of being happy = being successful!! My team has grown and grown since we have started incorporating the happy Principals. I also really love Train your Brain by Dana wilde and find this books compliment each other nicely!!
Thank you Shawn Anchor for a great book, its an easy, interesting read. Not boring or sluggish as some books of this nature (also full of useful info) can be. Infact, I found I didn't want to put it down!!
Highly recommend!!
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on January 5, 2014
Shawn Achor guides you through a number of ways you can improve your day to day life by focusing on the good things instead of the bad, learning this as a habit so that you begin unconsciously doing that as your default setting. If you're prone to depression or struggling through a hard time in your life, this book can be magical. It does require some continued effort to stay on track, as habits fade as easily as they are made, but keep this book around as a quick reminder to yourself of what you have to do and with a little effort your days can feel magnitudes better.
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on July 4, 2015
Shawn Achor does an excellent job explaining how happiness leads to success and not the other way around. He outlines 7 principles that are crucial for living a happy and successful lifestyle.

This book is filled with fascinating studies in the field of positive psychology, a relatively new and mind blowing field that is often overshadowed by traditional psychology. I found myself laughing throughout while still learning practical and innovative ways of changing my lifestyle to cater to positivity.
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on August 30, 2015
Although the book is geared towards success in the workplace / career, the points are valid for all areas of life. Lots of useful, realistic techniques that you can use today to start being happier (none of those "good in theory but I'll never actually put it to use" type suggestions). The studies and examples are really interesting and helpful for getting the message across. Well written with complicated ideas put into simple terms. Definitely recommend.
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on December 20, 2014
The book is current and uses referenced research to support its thesis. I found it easy to read and liked the way the chapters were organized into manageable sections to reflect upon. It is helpful to have resource books that bring new ideas to share that are readable and which might provoke good conversation among colleagues and staff--especially if the result is as promised--a more productive and happier workplace.
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