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Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life Paperback – December 30, 2008


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Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life + It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness + Solid Ground: Buddhist Wisdom for Difficult Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345481321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345481320
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. From renowned Buddhist teacher Boorstein comes a small, polished gem of a book that seems somehow even more intimate and heartfelt than her previous books Pay Attention, for Goodness' Sake and It's Easier Than You Think. Boorstein begins with an anecdote about a day when her writing was interrupted by a call from a friend with a very ill brother; the effort of consoling her made Boorstein forget what she had been about to write. Boorstein uses her moment of resentful impatience at the interruption to illustrate how easily the mind can fall out of caring connection. The whole idea of this book, she writes, is that restoring caring connection... and maintaining it when it is present, is happiness. This insight is a jumping-off point for Boorstein to explore three planks of the Buddhist path: wise effort, wise mindfulness and wise concentration. Her quiet insistence that the Buddhist practices of mindfulness, meditation and metta (lovingkindness) can quiet the mind, deepen concentration and lower anxiety is both convincing and inspiring. (Dec. 26)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

#1 SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE BESTSELLER

“A wonderful book, heartwarming and wise, that conveys the essence of what the Buddha taught in the voice of a gifted storyteller, teacher, friend, and compassionate human being.”
–Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

“Sylvia Boorstein’s lessons, gleaned from a life of internal reflection and mindful teaching, are delivered with such openness, love, and affection that it feels as if you are sitting with Sylvia in her living room soaking in the wisdom of an enlightened friend.”
–Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of The Mindful Brain

“This book will convince you that your own happiness really is much more available to you than you may have thought.”
–Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Coming to Our Senses

“Should be required reading for all human beings.”
–Stephen Cope, author of The Wisdom of Yoga


“Reading this wonderful book is like having a heart-to-heart with Sylvia. It is wise, warm, and full of great stories that will make you smile. Best of all, it will cheer your spirit by showing you how to practice happiness.” 
–Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

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Customer Reviews

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Dr. Boorstein books and essays are like a franchise.
David R. Halperin
Inclined in the right direction, the mind takes care of itself." (p. 155) Happiness really is an inside job.
Deb
The stories and examples are clear, and I found comfort in this book.
Pamela Dickinson-Noris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Dennis DeWilde on March 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Choosing the three mind training steps of the Eightfold Path as the focus for her book, meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein mixes The Buddha's advice with her personal experiences to explain how to restore the mind to balance after disruptive events start a story that spirals us into a state of dissatisfaction with life or others. Consistent with Boorstein's view that the responses of a balanced mind are friendliness, compassion, appreciation; she offers a simple test for this state of unbalance or confusion, "In this moment, am I able to care?" And, for her it is this ability to restore the mind to kindness that is happiness.

As do most meditative teachers, Boorstein advises that suffering results from struggling with what is beyond our control. What is past is past; let it go, "that's life." Relief comes when: The mind says, "I want something different, but this is what I have." And, when: We restore our ability to rejoice with other people. If I understand her, this is a form of wisdom that we all possess - the steps she offers are a path to finding it after the moment of unbalance.

The first of these mind training's three steps is Wise Effort, the moment-to-moment discrimination practice meant to direct the attention in its choice of focus - this is the awareness "wake-up call". Step two, Wise Mindfulness is described as then taking the "I" out of the situation, or it is that moment of seeing the situation within a larger context - rather than seeing it within our emotional frame. The last, step three, is Wise Concentration - it is composure as an antidote to the energies of; desire, anger, fatigue, worry, and doubt - the `how to' is a meditative act.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David R. Halperin on March 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Boorstein books and essays are like a franchise. You know what to expect before you even open the cover. However, like individual franchise locations, some are better than others. Her current book should win the franchise of the month award.

Dr. Boornstein strikes just the right balance between conveying several fundamental Buddhist principles from original or near sources, then describes them very well in her own words. Finally she illustrates them with her trademark story telling drawn from her day to day experiences - which are really no different from our own.

She also reminds us, in what I feel is a culturally Jewish framework, that an awakened life includes profound sorry. Shut that off and you have become numb not happy.

I would recommend this book for those just wading into the water of Buddhist thought and practice, as well as for those who want to take a break from rigorous Buddhist study and concentrated meditation to immerse themselves in the cool spring water of everyday experience reflected on so gently by Dr. Boornstein.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. L. Hanson on October 25, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is awesome! I wish they had found a better title for it because, "Happiness Is An Inside Job" sounds like just another inane self help book, which this is certainly NOT. My copy is so highlighted that the pages are wrinkly. Sylvia has a gift for communicating calmness and inspiring the willingness to walk through difficult times, rather than fighting, avoiding or trying to fix them. Words can't describe how much this book has helped me deal with my Dad's Alzheimer's and his slow disintegration into a vegetative state and ultimately death. Thank you, Sylvia, and for heaven's sake, keep on writing.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Norma Plume on March 22, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I actually already had this book and I've found it to be life-saving, enlightening and extremely helpful to me! I refer to it on a regular basis, when I'm feeling stuck and am in need of an encouraging and truthful perspective. I ordered the audio version, so that I would be able to listen to it when I'm driving. This is purely my personal perception, but I found myself annoyed with the narrator's reading style early on and have not listened to it since. :( HOWEVER, I HIGHLY recommend this book ... and not everyone will have the reaction that I had to this particular reader.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Erickson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
In this book Ms. Boorstein explores the three meditative steps on the Buddha's Eightfold Path - wise effort, wise mindfulness, and wise concentration. She begins this book with a story of being interrupted from her writing one day by a phone call from a friend, who has just learned her brother's cancer has worsened. After comforting her friend, she returns to work and discovers she has forgotten an idea she had, and notes the momentary annoyed reaction that arises in her mind towards her friend's brother. In response, she stops working, lights a candle, and thinks about her friend's brother, until she has restored her own caring connection to him, and everyone in her life.

This story introduces Ms. Boorstein's thesis and reason for writing the book. Often Buddhist practice is expressed in terms of finding some kind of permanent clarity, of reaching a state in which the mind is no longer confused or deluded, whether that is called enlightenment, nirvana, or something else. But, as she tells us in her introduction, that is not the way it has been for her, in over thirty years of practice, and I expect, most people. So this book is "not about avoiding confusion, because we can't - but about becoming unconfused and restoring [caring] connection, because [that] really is the best way to live."

To do this, she explores caring connection through the lens of Buddhist psychology and practice, within a variety of life-situations that anyone can relate to. For example, she explores the four Buddhist Brahma-Viharas of metta (friendliness), karuna (compassion), mudita (empathic joy), and upekka (equanimity) through three different experiences traveling on an airplane.
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