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Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth Hardcover – September 9, 2008


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Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth + The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want + Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405146613
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405146616
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Happiness challenges the present thinking of the causes and consequences of happiness and redefines our modern notions of happiness. It shares the results of three decades of research on happiness, and covers the most important advances in our understanding of happiness.” (Adolescence, April 2009)

“Happiness is a process, not a place. That's one of the key concepts that leaps from Happiness: Unlocking The Mysteries Of Psychological Wealth by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas- Diener.” (Diana's Blog: Quirky Words and Book)

Happiness challenges the present thinking af the causes and consequences of happiness and redefines our modern notions of happiness. It shares the results of three decades of research on happiness, and covers the most important advances in our understanding of happiness. It also offers readers access to the world's leading experts on happiness, and provides 'real world' examples that will resonate with general readers as well as scholars.” (Family Therapy)

“In their sweeping new book Diener and his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, distill the results of worldwide research into happiness and come up with an explanation, a recipe, for a sustained state of good feeling, psychological wealth, as they call it.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 2008)

“The authors write in a that is clear and accessible to a general audience; furthermore, they frequently infuse humor into their work. I certainly respect Diener and Biswas-Diener as well as admire the amount effort they have each put into their life's work.” (Metapsychology, November 2008)

"Pioneering researchers Professor Ed and his son Robert Biswas-Diener explain ... why most things we've been told are wrong." (Psychologies, November 2008)

“Ed Diener [says], 'Happiness is not a set of desirable life circumstances. It's a way of traveling.' Diener's new book, written with his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, a life coach, offers guidance for those interested in taking a road trip. As the Dieners synthesize the latest research … they challenge the conventional party line on well-being.” (O Magazine)

"Among the recent glut of books about happiness, this one shines out. Highly readable and entertaining, its authors are perhaps the pre-eminent researchers on the subject … The advice on how to gain an appropriate level of happiness is way ahead of that offered by most self-help books." (New Scientist)

“If you’re looking for one thoughtful, comprehensive book to help you understand the science of happiness better, this is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s also a good read, accessible, concise, and even funny, which isn’t true of all such books, and there’s a lot of information I hadn’t seen elsewhere.” (Happiness Project)

"This book is absolutely a delight to read. [The authors] have made the science very accessible and practical. You will love the stories they weave into the text. The Dieners take us along on their adventures around the world. We tag along as they unlock the mysteries of happiness. As you read the book you come to understand why Diener is known as the ‘Jedi Master of Happiness’ and why Biswas-Diener has been called the ‘Indiana Jones of Psychology.’ Get the book, settle into a comfortable chair, buckle your seatbelt, and enjoy the ride." (Positive Psychology News Daily)

Review

"This is the most authoritative and informative book about happiness ever written. That’s not surprising, given that its authors are the world’s leading happiness researcher and his psychologist-son, whose vocation is coaching people toward happier lives."
David G. Myers, Hope College, author, The Pursuit of Happiness: Who is Happy, and Why

"A great gift from the leading professional scientist of happiness in the world and his son, the 'Indiana Jones' of positive psychology."
Martin E. P. Seligman, University of Pennsylvania and author, Authentic Happiness

"Want the key to happiness and success in life, choose the right advisor. On the subject of happiness, students, researchers, businesses, and governments have been turning to Ed Diener. Now, in this powerful, ground-breaking book, we have the opportunity to receive the coveted advice of Dr. Diener and his son Robert Biswas-Diener. This book is a must read if you want a practical, enjoyable, and uplifting science-based guide to achieving real psychological wealth."
David J. Pollay, B.A. Yale, M.A.P.P. University of Pennsylvania, President, The Momentum Project, Syndicated Columnist, and Author of The Law of the Garbage Truck

"The collaboration between the foremost authority on happiness research and the “Indiana Jones” of psychology makes for a great mix of interesting examples and solid research. I have never seen a book that does such a good job offering useful practical advice while basing this advice on completely sound empirical research."
Richard E. Lucas, Michigan State University

"This is a happiness book by the world authority, the pre-eminent scholar in the field along with an in-the-trenches coach who teaches and adapts this material every day for practical use with his clients. These folks know happiness from the inside out. The authors separate the wheat from the chaff, and serve up a meal replete with tasty morsels of practical advice on how to live. A joy to read!" 
Michael B. Frisch, Baylor University, author, Quality of Life Therapy

"Finally the definitive book on happiness from the world’s leading expert, Ed Diener, and his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, known as the “Indiana Jones” of Positive Psychology. The authors bring over thirty years of research and practice into this engaging book that reveals the secrets of psychological wealth – your true net work -- which includes your attitudes toward life, social support, spiritual development, material resources, and health. This is a landmark book that should be read not only by laypersons but also scholars, educators, business leaders and decision-makers interested in global well-being and human happiness. " 
Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO, The Gallup Organization


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 25 customer reviews
If you've never read a book about happiness, this one is definitely a good start.
Hein Zegers
In a very thorough but thoughtful way the Dieners draw on the most current research in the field of Positive Psychology to answer these questions.
Douglas B. Turner
Based on a lot of his work that I have read, I figured the book would be pretty sceintific-minded.
psych major

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Todd B. Kashdan VINE VOICE on September 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The first thing you should ask yourself is why on earth do we need another happiness book? David Myers wrote the Pursuit of Happiness in 1992, Martin Seligman wrote Authentic Happiness in 2002, and then Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote the How of Happiness and Marci Shimoff wrote Happy for No Reason in 2007. Then there are dozens of other books on the topic in the last 3 years. Do we really need another one?

My initial answer was absolutely not until I read this book. Ed Diener is the first scientist to devote a career to studying the nature of happiness. After 30 years of conducting research on the topic, he IS the authority on the topic and its about time he wrote a book. As for his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, he has been out in the field conducting the exotic, exciting research in various cultures that everyone else writes about. Why not hear about the nuances of their work from them instead of watered-down, overly simplified versions by others?

There are several chapters in this book that do a killer job at addressing the complexity of what we know and don't know about happiness.

Chapter 6 is about money and happiness. Forget the soundbites you hear that if you make more than $40,000/year, an increase in money is irrelevant to happiness. The Dieners' dig into the data, providing a fair and balanced analysis of the situations when money is relevant to happiness.

Chapter 7 is about spirituality and religion. Another topic that has been reduced to a useless soundbite that being religious is good, end of story. Again, the Dieners' dig further into the research than their predecessors. They toe the line perfectly of what the research says and doesn't say.

Chapter 8 is about how happiness operates in different countries and cultures.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By psych major on November 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was always wondering if Ed Diener would get around to writing a happiness book for the popular read. For those not in the know, Ed Diener is one of the most well-known happiness researchers out there- and has been contributing to the positive psychology field for literally decades by adding piles of his own research papers to the ever growing stack of happiness studies. Based on a lot of his work that I have read, I figured the book would be pretty sceintific-minded. And I was right- you'll find no baloney here.

"Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth" contains over 250 pages explaining in layman's terms, more or less, just about everything you ever wanted to know about happiness. Some of the more interesting topics covered include:

-health and happiness
-happiness and social relationships
-happiness at work
-money and happiness
-spirituality and happiness
-the happiest places on earth
-the genetic set point and happiness

Perhaps the most impressive thing I found in this book was the author's attitude about happiness. Here are people who have spent years researching happiness, and yet they seem to have put it all in a sensible perspective. Consider this:

--happiness is something to shoot for most of the time, but negative emotions serve a useful purpose as well on occasion

--while happiness can be reaching a desirable place, such as having good health, a successful carreer and a great family, don't overlook the process side of happiness in the pursuit of the good life (this is also a major point of another favorite happiness book of mine Happier: Can You Learn to be Happy?). In other words, happiness isn't only a destination, but also the journey.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen C. Rubin on September 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating book, packed with concise, accessible discussions of the major issues in the science of happiness. I read a lot on this topic, and I learned a huge amount.

The connection between money and happiness (more complicated than many people admit), the connection between spirituality and happiness, the happiness "set-point," and dozens of other intriguing questions are tackled.

The book does a particularly good job of presenting these issues thoroughly and accurately, but also in engaging language that's not hard to fight your way through.

A great addition to the many books that tackle this topic: like Stumbling on Happiness, The Paradox of Choice, Strangers to Ourselves, Authentic Happiness, etc.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Douglas B. Turner on September 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Can money buy happiness? (See chapter 6). Are happier people healthier? (See chapter 3). Do happier people get paid more? (See chapter 5). Are religious / Spiritual people happier? (See chapter 7). Are some people just born happier? (See chapter 9). These are all components of the concept of psychological wealth.

In their new book, Happiness, Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, Ed Diener and his son Robert Biswas-Diener take on these and other provocative questions. In a very thorough but thoughtful way the Dieners draw on the most current research in the field of Positive Psychology to answer these questions. Sometimes the answers are "yes" sometimes the answers are "no" and sometimes the best and most honest answer is "it depends."

Psychological Wealth

The Dieners define psychological wealth as "your true net worth, and includes your attitudes toward life, social support, spiritual development, material resources, health, and the activities in which you engage." Hence psychological wealth incorporates more than just one's finances. The components of psychology wealth help us understand why some people may be financially poor but are rich in terms of psychological wealth and happiness while others can be fantastically financially wealthy but have very little psychological wealth and are miserable.

The Dieners explore the research findings that are related to each of the components of Psychological Wealth:
- Life satisfaction
- Spirituality and meaning in life
- Positive attitudes and emotions
- Loving social relationships
- Engaging activities and work
- Values and life goals to achieve them
- Physical and mental health
- Material sufficiency to meet our needs.
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