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Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment Hardcover – May 10, 2007


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Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment + Even Happier: A Gratitude Journal for Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment + Being Happy: You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Lead a Richer, Happier Life
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1st edition (May 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071492399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071492393
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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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Review

“Jeff Woodman’s reading has a narrative drive that captures the author’s affirming ideas.”
AudioFile
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

This book is easy to read and the exercises are good.
judi
If you're looking for theories/research about happiness then I'd suggest Sonja or Gilbert but for practical advice, Happier will make you very happy.
Butterscotch
Tal Ben-Shahar has made positive psychology interesting and practical.
Doug H.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 93 people found the following review helpful By R. Oda on March 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book during the lowest point in my life. Now that I look back, about 1.5 years later, it was the catalyst that put me on the road to recovery. A few minutes ago I was sitting in my room looking at my bookshelf and caught sight of the yellow spine. I thought, "Damn. I HAVE to write a review."

The most significant observation in the book is that happiness is the ultimate currency. It's so basic, and so true. All this stuff that we do in life is for the purpose of gaining happiness. When I realized that status, possessions, relationships and accomplishments have no intrinsic value, I began to rethink my approach to life. The funny thing is, I do just about the same things today that I did back then. The difference is my experience of them. For me, it was matter of changing the way I motivated myself. For you it will probably be something else.

I don't know if this self-help book is better than any other, but it was very valuable to me. If you are in need, read it and do the exercises. The results will not be instant, but hopefully it will start or continue something good in your life.

Best of luck, everyone.
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70 of 82 people found the following review helpful By P MARTIN on August 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
.....and there are better follow-ups after your introduction.

This does descend into mimicking the self-help genre pretty quickly.

I think my issue with this book is that the author underpins his reflections and conclusions too often with, with, well, not with much other than his opinion supported by Samuel Smiles type aphorisms.

This is a shame, because the field of Positive Psychology (capital letters employed deliberately) has so much going for it, not least a substantial serious wealth of empirical data to support it.

I understand that the author's lectures at Harvard are incredibly well-attended and indeed well-regarded. Not quite sure why, on this showing.

It's not a pure example of the self-help genre (thank goodness), but neither is it sufficiently scholarly or referenced to be much more.

In fact one of the books that Ben-Shahar should have included in his bibliography, but for some inexplicable reason didn't, would be a far better introduction: "The Happiness Hypothesis", by Jonathan Haidt (a definite 5 star read) is everything this book should have been, but was published a least a year earlier.

An alternative introduction, more practical but better-referenced than "Happier" is Ilona Boniwell's "Positive Psychology in a Nutshell", which I can also recommend whole-heartedly.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Butterscotch on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have read Daniel Gilbert's `Stumbling on Happiness' and Sonja Lyubomirsky's `The How of Happiness.' Of them all, Happier is by far the best book in the area of positive psychology because it provides practical exercises and information that will really allow you to achieve happiness and view life in a different way. Happier is extremely readable because it isn't filled with statistics, anecdotes, or testimonials. Unlike Lyubomirsky's book, which has garnered much more media attention, Ben-Shahar of Happier doesn't force his theories and research at you; the book reads more like a comprehensive lecture of the subject of happiness. I really enjoyed the author's writing style, the way in which he presented the information, and the helpful tips he gave to increase my personal happiness. In my opinion this is the best book dealing with positive psychology because it doesn't just describe what positive psychology/happiness is, but allows you to start being happier right away. If you're looking for theories/research about happiness then I'd suggest Sonja or Gilbert but for practical advice, Happier will make you very happy.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Betsy Landau on June 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
HAPPIER has something for everybody. It is a brief guide to increasing happiness no matter how happy you are when you start reading. The tone is cheerful throughout. It is filled with exercises to help increase happiness on a daily basis while pursuing long term goals. If you have research interests, the bibliography will peak your curiosity. The little book is a philosophy of life which allows for ups and downs without having to give up present and future happiness. While other writers on happiness have said much of what Tal Ben-Shahar has said, and in more detail, the author has put the information together in a way new. A way that makes being happier accessible now.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Michele Connolly on November 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Happier is based on Tal Ben-Shahar's positive psychology primer - the most popular class at Harvard and attended by about 20% of all Harvard graduates.

Ben-Shahar wisely suggests that a better question than 'Am I happy?' is 'How can I be happier?', since this recognizes happiness to be an ongoing and lifelong process.

He positions his book in contrast to self-help guides which, because they aren't subject to the scientific method, tend to 'over-promise and under-deliver' (page xi). Findings published in academic journals, he says, have greater substance.

Part 1 seeks to define happiness and identify the components of a happy life. Here purpose plays a large role in reconciling immediate and delayed gratification, as well as meaning and pleasure.

Part 2 applies these ideas to:

* Education - suggesting a 'lovemaking model' for more enjoyable learning
* Work - happier work gives meaning and pleasure and also uses a person's strengths
* Relationships - we may need to cultivate rather than find the relationships we want.

Part 3 contains Ben-Shahar's reflections on the nature of happiness and its place in our lives.

Rather than simply surveying the research, Happier seeks to help the reader become happier by incorporating interactive elements:

* Time-ins (as opposed to time-outs), which ask the reader to apply the ideas to their own life - for example, What are the things that you really, really want to do? (page 77).
* Exercises, which include journal-writing, meditations and tasks such as reading a particular book or joining a class.
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