on March 7, 2009
I have read more of the happiness literature than most people because of a work assignment. Granted, by the time I got to this one, much of the information was not new anymore. But when evaluating a book or manuscript, it's helpful to look at it as if it were the first of its type you have picked up.
Happy for No Reason is good, but there are better "happy" books out there. Good promotion is taking this one far. Better by a long shot are STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS (Daniel Gilbert), HAPPY AT LAST: THE THINKING PERSON'S GUIDE TO FINDING JOY (Richard O'Connor), and AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS (Martin Seligman).
on December 29, 2007
When I first saw the title, "Happy for No Reason," I'll have to admit that my initial reaction was that this would be just one more new age, touch-feely, full-of-fluff feel-good book. So I was very pleasantly surprised to see how thoroughly-researched, well-written, and down-to-earth practical this book is. "Happy for No Reason" is a groundbreaking philosophy that belongs in the same category as the work of David Burns (cognitive mood therapy), Martin Seligman (learned optimism), Daniel Goleman (emotional intelligence) and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (flow). It is a brilliant blend of scientific research summarized in language that anyone can understand plus stories from people Marci calls the Happy 100, people who are role models of happiness for the sake of happiness, not because of love or money or other exogenous factors.
I was so impressed with this book that I gave copies to each of my children as Christmas gifts this year. I'm hoping they will read it with a pen or highlighter in hand, which is what I found myself doing - and would recommend to you as well. It's easy to be unhappy, which might be why so many people are. Watch TV for an hour and you'll have a hundred reasons to not be happy; it's nice to know that you can choose to be happy for no reason at all.
on January 7, 2008
I thought it would be namby-pamby or filled with fluff until I read this paragraph in the introduction:
"My first major discovery was that scientists have found that we each have a `happiness set-point,' the genetic and learned tendency to remain at a certain level of happiness, similar to a thermostat setting on a furnace. Fortunately for those of us not born on the sunny side of the street, it's been shown that we can change our happiness set-points. I'll discuss this more in the next chapter and offer you specific exercises throughout the book to raise your happiness set-point."
As I read the book I was surprised at most every turn. I was delighted that she included Mark McKergow's Solution Focus Technique--a longtime favorite of mine that keeps you focused on what's working in your life instead of on what's not working.
...And that she actually tells how to do one of Chunyi Lin's Spring Forest Qigong techniques that energizes the body and literally brings you feelings of happiness and joy.
Part of her process in studying happiness was to interview 100 truly happy people. Another surprise was finding a link where I could actually listen to highlights of the interviews online.
So...I'd get the book.
on February 14, 2008
This is a well written, researched, & practical book without the flowery new age fluff you find in so many self-help books. This promotes self-improvement, not ego gratification. The author calls the Happy one hundred, people who are role models of happiness for the sake of being so. Not because of love of material things, money, status, or other external factors. Her interviews illustrate that these folks had to "work & create their own well being."
Common sense things like discipline, focus, & a positive attitude are obviously required if an individual wants to be happier. For me, "Pillars of the Mind: Don't Believe Everything You Think" was the most informative. She gives plenty of stories & examples to help raise the readers skill in coping with ones negative thinking. All in all a quick & helpful read.
on May 11, 2008
Happy for No Reason is delightful. It evoked many smiles and much gratitude for all that I have in my life! As I read on, amazingly, there was a shift away from self judgement and criticism. The author led me to a place where I could enjoy my birthright and embrace it with enthusiasm, gentleness and levity. The seven steps to a lifestyle of consistent well being and generosity have a magic that goes beyond her words, an inspiration that lifts one up just by being open to infinite possibilities. This book itself is an act of generosity! I highly recommend it and also suggest Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment by Ariel and Shya Kane. Both truly inspirational and enlightening books to have on your shelf!
on July 22, 2008
"Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out" by Marci Shimoff was full of gems and eye opening moments. The book is both enlightening and fun. I found myself smiling a lot while I was reading this book. One of the many things I loved about this book is that Shimoff says "You can't depend on external circumstances for lasting happiness. It has to come from inside you". This book put into perspective how it can be that two people with the same set of circumstances can have different outlooks, one can be miserable while the other can be happy.
This is a book of short stories about Shimoff's "Happy 100". The stories were touching and I found it hard to put the book down. Another book of short stories I really enjoyed was "Being Here Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment" by Ariel & Shya Kane.
on July 6, 2008
I had heard about the Happiness Questionnaire in the first part of Happy for No Reason and I ended up with results that indicated I was for the most part Happy (for No Reason.) I was compelled to read on and realized a deeper awareness of the feelings that reveal happiness and the habits that sustain happiness. This book also provides heart warming affirmation as you feel happiness emanating from the author and the stories she shares from among people from her Happy 100 research.
The Practice of Happiness begins when we realize that happiness is not a product of a relationship, a shiny or the next thing but rather founded on the principles of expansion and openness, the concept of a friendly universe and the Law of Attraction that draws near to us that which we appreciate. The author empowers us to take control of our responses expanding our ability to be happy for example by looking for solutions and lessons, as gifts that arise in times of trial and stopping the blame game the latter being a contracting response; forgiving oneself and others is key to expansive responses.
The author then helps us to see how our thoughts, about 60,000 of them a day, are habitual in that the majority of them you had the day before, and I was amazed to learn that 80% of these thoughts or 45,000 per day are habitually negative! These she tells us are called ANTS, Automatic Negative Thoughts which of course are contracting. The author provides exercises in this and each chapter to reinforce our `learning to be happy' in this chapter helping us to assess the truth amidst the tricks our mind plays.
We move then from the mind to the heart to improve our emotional intelligence by focusing on positive emotions such as gratitude, forgiveness and loving kindness, what I personally affirm as the purpose and fruit of all sincere spiritual practice.
Marci advises that we must nourish our bodies with rest, water and healthy food to further our sense of well being and seek spiritual wisdom through practices that connect us with grace such as journaling, meditation, prayer and surrender; when we send out an intention for higher good, we can let go. She speaks also to purpose; we each must discover and realize why we are here and let that sense of service permeate every facet of our lives.
Then we grow our gardens through relationships, learning to expand energy by guarding from toxic behaviors from self and others, and acknowledging the connective force that permeates all life and therefore provides a sense of real strength in unity. I am not separate from all that is, as a Zen peacemaker would say; we are all one in the mind of mankind as Jung contended.
I would have liked some mention for those who still long for food or shelter that have not been fairly offered a chance to consider such expansion that this book offers but Marci, also a Secret teacher, offers no excuses- she wants you to be happy and shows you how.
Marci summarizes Happiness Habits on pages 278-279, bolsters these with nicely organized chapters and participative learning opportunities, Happy for No Reason is gratefully brought to us with the intent to give joy; enjoy!
on October 3, 2009
I recommend this book to my clients, my business associates, my family and friends - anyone and everyone should read this book. It contains all the recent science on how our brains work and research on what it means to be happy. That doesn't mean that it reads like a text book, far from it. Marci Shimoff is an entertaining writer, interweaving the facts with illustrations from the lives of very happy people - the stories about her own life and of others who are happy for no reason. Instead of thinking you must have a reason to be happy, that everything must be just so before you can be happy, these truly joyous people live with the simple knowing that life is good, that any given situation is what you believe it to be. If you believe your circumstances are utterly miserable, then they are. To be happy in miserable situations seems like an complete fabrication of the imagination. And you know what? That's exactly what it is. Just like the belief that life is miserable is also a fabrication of our minds. If you criticize, doubt or discount this truth, then you need to read this book. In the face of science and research you may begin to change your mind. You may just find out that you too can be "Happy for No Reason." And what's the down-side to that?
on September 29, 2009
I read a sobering statistic; less than 30 percent of people report being deeply happy. That means 70 percent of us are unhappy. Would you read a book that could help you become happier by changing day-to-day thoughts, beliefs and habits? If you said yes, you'll want to read Happy for No Reason.
Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff is a guidebook for raising your happiness level. When asked to review this book I was skeptical - another book on finding happiness, did the world really need one? Then, I started reading and working the activities and found this book could make a positive change in our ability to have and maintain happiness.
Here's a summary of what I found:Happy for No Reason is divided into three sections -
Part One - Happiness That's Here To Stay - In this section the author explores the paradigms of happiness. She includes a questionnaire to help determine your current happiness level and suggestions for applying the Law of Attraction (the author, Marci Shimoff was featured in The Secret) to attract more happiness into your life.
Part Two - Building Your Home For Happiness - This is the "how-to" section of the book. Here you will find the author's seven steps for raising your happiness factor. She gives us emotional, physical and mental exercises for increasing the ability to become and stay happy. This is the "hands-on" section of the book - you not only read this part of the book, you work it.
Part Three - Happy For No Reason - Ever After - How to formulate a plan to be and stay happy, permanently. I especially liked the chart of "Happiness Habits" that when applied, will keep me focused on those things I enjoy and bring happiness to my life.
I want to share something I thought was interesting and can be found on page 18: "After extensive testing they found that approximately 50 percent of our happiness set-point is generic and the other 50 percent is learned." The findings I just quoted were based on a study done in the late 1980's on thousands of sets of twins who were raised apart. What does this mean? Half our ability to feel and be happy is inherited while the other half comes from our own habits, thoughts, beliefs and day-to-day feelings.
Marci Shimoff also interviewed 100 happy people. It was interesting when she said she had a hard time finding 100 truly happy people. While talking with these happy people and analyzing her results, she developed a list of twenty-one habits that happy people share. I believe this is a powerful list!
I recommend Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out if you're ready to kick your current happiness level up a notch. I especially enjoyed having a plan of action when I finished reading this book - something I could start using right away.
Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff is a book that you'll want pen and paper handy for thoughts and "aha's." I believe this book is well worth your money, time and effort!
on January 31, 2010
This book is really great, with a detailed and effective study of what it might take to have a deep kind of happiness, that you can sustain under any circumstance. A happiness that goes beyond what is happening "out there" and is built on various solid foundations. There are a lot of personal stories, which might get in the way if you are reading it and impatient to just get to "the bottom line," but as an audio book, they really help deepen the understanding by creating more of an experience than a thought, if that makes sense. The authors are women and so the vibe is definitely feminine. There is of course no hostility to men, but there is no male energy at all available in the book. For example, analogies are all about gardening and stuff like that, very gentle and soft stuff, nothing about the joy of pushing through a challenge or being a warrior in difficult circumstance. For men, I would say this touches the magician, the lover, and the king, but not the warrior. Nonetheless, I found the ideas and writing to be powerful and useful for both men and women and took a number of notes and things to put into practice.
The seven pillars are to
1) Take ownership of your happiness
2) Understand your mind and train it for happiness
3) Unerstand your heart and train it for happiness
4) Understand your body and train it
5) Understand your sould and train it
6) Live a life inspired by purpose
7) Cultivate a garden or nourishing relationships