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What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better Paperback – Jan 19 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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  • What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (Jan. 19 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312321597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312321598
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.9 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 494 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Baker, a psychologist and director of the Life Enhancement Program at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, offers a new way to look at unhappiness. He believes that people can teach themselves to be happy instead of remaining trapped in a vicious cycle of stress from work and family: "If you adopt management of your life as a primary goal, you'll be able to participate in your own destiny. But if you squander your energy struggling for complete control, you'll lose the reins of management and become just another leaf in the wind." It's essential for people to avoid such traps as trying to buy happiness or trying to find it through pleasure, Baker argues. Instead, people should use and take advantage of the six happiness tools-appreciation, choice, personal power, leading with strengths, language and stories, and multidimensional living. To demonstrate his strategy, the author offers various case studies. For example, one wealthy CEO comes for therapy, complaining about his children, wife and employees. Baker listens and offers just one piece of advice: he tells the man to visit a pediatric cancer ward; the visit allows the man to look beyond his self-centered complaints. Baker's advice is sound and his presentation engaging, but some readers, especially those coping with serious life crises, may find this approach too New Age or simplistic. He makes the transition from the traps to the tools of happiness sound easy, perhaps too much so.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Baker's advice is sound and his presentation engaging.” ―Publishers Weekly

“This wonderfully helpful book is sure to increase the number of happy people with its wisdom.” ―Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“Everyone wants to be happy. So much suffering and illness occur when we look for happiness in the wrong places. In What Happy People Know, Dan Baker distills the best of science and spirituality, sharing with deep and profound wisdom how we can learn to be happy and let go of suffering. Highly recommended.” ―Dean Ornish, M.D., founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; ad author of Love and Survival and Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease

“Dr. Dan Baker has created a book that we all have been waiting for. It is a significant, practical, insightful, easy-to-read book filled with nuggets that lead us to the road of happiness.” ―Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., author of Love is Letting Go of Fear

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Jan. 4 2003
Format: Hardcover
dr. dan baker has written a book that everyone can read and understand with ease.. we've been taught that happiness is elusive when in fact it's a learned response to lifes experiences. Without any airy fairy explanations, dr. baker leads the way for us to find happiness when life perhaps has other plans for us. The examples given in this book are worth the price of the book alone.. We sometimes think there is a magic bullet that will make us happy.... lots of money will buy us happiness.. things will make us happy... when in fact, the only thing that can make us happy is how we respond to what happens in our life and dr. baker has captured the words for our feelings.. Bravo, dr. dan.
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Format: Paperback
I have been in and out of counseling for 18 years and have read many self-help books. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out what was "wrong" with me, so that I could fix it.
Until about four years ago, my life was a story of three steps forward, two steps back, one forward, two or three steps back.
I then finally found the courage to make some difficult decisions that allowed the movement to be three steps forward, two back... three forward, one back. At least it was finally, consistently moving forward.
But, I still wasn't happy and was convinced it was because something was "wrong" with me that I needed to "fix."
About a year after my father passed away (an event that completely rocked my world) my mother entered grief therapy. After about a year of therapy, she was introduced to this book by her counselor.
My mother has NEVER been the self-help book type of person. She always lovingly said that I've always read more than enough for us both. So, I was stunned when I saw that she was not only reading this book, but was taking notes and I could see a noticible, positive difference. She finally was becoming happy!
I, of course said that I was grateful she finally realized what I had been trying to explain to her all these years and was glad that she had found a book that worded my "lessons" in a way that she could relate to and understand. I believed that my years of counseling, self-help books, introspection, and research had taught me everything I could know on the subject of how to be happy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have only read the first third of Dan Baker's What Happy People Know, yet I am amazed by the book's depth, humanity, inspiration and credibility.

This isn't your run of the mill self-help title. Instead, it's a genuine exploration of the human mind and happiness from the standpoint of a very experienced psychologist who isn't afraid to assert his own opinion, even when it is completely at odds with traditional clinical practices. I have read boatloads of books on psychology and self-help, yet this book - despite its rather bland pop-psychology looking cover - strikes me as a very unusual and deeply illuminating text. It's an absolute gem and a steal at the modest $10 kindle price.

The bottom line? Our hardwired fears often dominate our lives at the very core, leading us to adopt an array of destructive behaviors. If we want to be happy, we have to stop trying to make more money, work longer hours and keep up with the Joneses. Instead, we must work toward cultivating those qualities that lead to lasting happiness. It takes awareness and it takes work, but the rewards are worthwhile.

In short, this is an astonishingly good book that goes far beyond positive psychology.
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Format: Paperback
I've read and own dozens of self help books. This book is a gem and has changed my life. The entire scientific explanation by the author on how parts of our brains have not evolved (brain stem, amygdala and endocrine system) is well explained and in turn, a huge revelation. He continues to explain that we emit stress hormones to abstract threats (as opposed to physical threats) such as money issues, potential meetings . . .etc.
This in turn made me realize that these are my cluttering ABSTRACT thoughts and carrying those stressing thoughts is very detrimental to my health. Upon pondering upon all this, I am now relatively stress free because I now understand that it just isn't my own personality weaknesses that stress me, but how my brain has not finished evolving.
Of course there are a few chapters that don't really apply to me, but I still enjoyed the authors way of interspersing real case studies with theory.
I love this paragraph
"In every life, there are defining moments - moments that set the course of fate. When they are happening, you're not always aware that they will change you forever. At the time, these moments usually just seem like one more mountain to climb in an endless series of peaks.
And that's all those moments are - if you back off."
Buy it, now.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read so many self help books over the years, and I can't say any of them have been very helpful. Interesting, definitely - but nothing that got me closer to feeling the way I've dreamed about for so long: happy, confident, & relaxed. I've gotten so skeptical. Thank God there was still enough of a spark of desperate hope buried in me to get me to pick up this wonderful book.
A thousand "Thank You!"'s to Dan Baker who has shown me the light and allowed me to embark upon a whole new journey as I actually begin to enjoy my life and succeed at everything I try the way I never thought I could. Everything in this book now seems so obvious to me, now that I have worked many of Mr. Baker's brilliantly simple ideas into my thinking and my daily life and things are becoming 2nd nature. I wonder why so many of us drag ourselves through our miserable lives for so long, never coming to the conclusions represented in this book.
Some of the key ideas in this book include understanding the relationship between fear and appreciation, taking power over our emotions, finding good in everything, and seeing the pitfalls of money and possesions. The terrible VERB's (victimization, Entitlement, Rescue, and Blame). Dan Baker spits liquor in the face of traditional psychotherapy with all its failings. (Ever been to a shrink who said, "How does that make you feel?," "and how does that make you feel?," "and how does that make you feel?...." - all a bunch of crap, just as you probably suspected.
There's no way for me to explain the content of this book, and there's no need to. This book is an easy and enjoyable read. Get this book! I wish I had found it 20 years ago.
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