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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I expected this book to be a collection of extracts from the author's excellent blog. That would have made for a highly engaging read, but this book is far more than that. It is both an intelligent layperson's guide to psychoanalysis and also a wonderful personal credo - neatly summed up in the title itself. William Meyerhofer believes we all have an opportunity to seek happiness and the right to seek happiness. We are all the complex syntheses of the nature we inherit and the nurture we receive, and our task in this short span of life is to make the best of both - seeking happiness and fulfilment, both for and within ourselves and also through the love and respect of others. It's a compelling philosophy and a compelling read too. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I read and relate to the blog, so buying this book was a no-brainer. The first thing I thought as I read this book is "that totally explains my ex" and "this totally explains my sister." But the real point is to begin explaining yourself to yourself. Self examination is hard enough, but this book doesn't just pile your issues into a heap and walk away, but lays a path to get yourself up and moving in a direction towards happiness. Although its not the main point of the book, if you're trying to figure out whether you want to go to therapy, read this book first. It gives a behind-the-scenes view of things to think about, language that gets used, and the goals of the psychotherapy process. As for readability, I like that it has short, direct pros; its classy. As to truthiness, I trust this author's insight. This is a striking departure from my reaction to other self help books, where the authors seem like hot messes or bs artists. To conclude: I got a lot out of the book and will probably read it twice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Will has put together an easy to digest, concise, and thoughtful look at how to live the life you want. He urges us to find the joy in ourselves and our world (even if it seems impossible sometimes...). A must read!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Without getting bogged down in the lingo of the psychotherapist/psychoanalyst, the author manages to give easy-to-understand insights into why we do certain things, or feel certain emotions, or think certain thoughts, and how we can understand the origins of those behaviors and move beyond them. The preface states "No book can substitute for the process of psychotherapy" and I'm sure that's correct, but for those who have never undergone psychotherapy, I think this book might give them an inkling of what they could achieve if they were to do so, and how it might improve their lives. In fact, this book might make a good gift for that person in your life who desperately needs psychotherapy but wouldn't take kindly to an explicit suggestion that he/she consider it. ("I liked this book and I think you'll like it, too" is probably a lot easier to take than "I really think you need to see a shrink.")
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I find it fascinating that readers seem to have a very intense reaction to this book.

Whether positive and life changing to the reader, or having a very intense aversion, these responses interest me.

I think we often attack what we do not understand.

I think we go after what affects us too deeply, or we dismiss it. We tend to have to destroy it somehow, because it forces us to feel.

When we haven't learned it is ok to feel, anger comes up.

This book sat on my nightstand for quite some time before I had the courage to open it up.

Even the title scared me.

To allow myself to have something, to allow in the good, sometimes these are the hardest things we do in life. The simplest lessons can be the hardest to learn.

Will Meyerhofer, MSW, happens to be a Harvard grad and a JD. But you don't need to be a rocket scientist to recognize and apply the concepts in this book. Staying present, forgiving and becoming conscious of the self, expressing the self to ward off depression--such are teachings that seem so simple.

So why is it that as a society so many of us are unhappy? Simple is not easy.

As we learn to deepen our consciousness, I am grateful to have guides such as this one at my disposal. Like a deep meditation, this book reads between the lines. Removing what seem like deeply grooved patterns in the brain, rows of text speak gently yet clearly, instigating new insights. With every page, years of personal damage to the self can be undone.

That is, if you can get past the cover, open the book, and allow yourself to have it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
It is not often that I come away from a book believing I learned something new about life. This is one of those remarkable books.

As its wonderful title suggests, the driving theme of the book is how to find joy in life. Unlike many books of its kind, the author does not offer instant fixes or faddish solutions. Nor does the author sugarcoat the difficulties of life.

Instead the author helps show the reader how to "take steps" towards joy. A great strength of the book is that the author explains to the reader how the mind works. He draws on everything from evolutionary psychology to Freud to Buddhist philosophy. While I did not agree with everything in it, I learned something from every chapter.

Another strength of the book is that he conveys complex principles through stories. The stories are both interesting and insightful. You will recognize yourself and others in the stories. The stories explain rather than lecture, too.

There is a lot of truth in this book. I've found myself rereading sections of it every few days. The book will give you hope and guidance in life. I highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of Will Meyerhofer, I religiously read his blog, and was so excited to hear about this book coming out. After reading it I must say it exceeded my already high expectations. Every word is carefully crafted and has gravity to it. He writing style is rhythmic and almost poetic, yet clear and non-pretentious. Its like having a conversation with someone who can tap into exactly what goes on in your mind and heart. His views on joy and happiness are original, and honestly are things that every human needs hear. This book made me see things I thought I already knew in a different light, and everyday situations are making more sense now. I feel like I have a bag of tools to use with life, and a road map to my emotions. I also love how he brings up ideas ranging from Charles Dickens to Buddhism, its gives even more charm to this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
We all know how many self-help books flood the market. This one stands out from the multitudes. Meyerhofer shares stories from his clients' and his own experiences on looking in the mirror (or talking to your therapist) to understand oneself, specifically to see the self-destructive habits that we humans develop as we become adults. The author leads readers to see the most common problems that we face and how to turn them around to create self-love. In addition, instead of speaking in long-winded platitudes (as too many authors do), Meyerhofer boils down his stories into very well edited segments.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Will has written a wonderful book that really captures what it means to be a conscious and aware person, AND in an even more amazing feat, he manages to do so in only 152 pages! Instead of boring the reader with endless theory and complicated prose, Will simply tells a story and lets anecdotes, inspiring quotes and concise observations do the talking/explaining. After reading Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy, I feel like I have a better understanding of what it means to be a conscious person, and now I know how to be a better version of myself. Its not easy, but at least I have a roadmap to guide me! Further, I think Will is really good about pointing out the fact that the goal of this journey to self-awareness is to explain and NOT blame. This book has helped me readjust and improve the way I communicate with my family, my friends and my peers. And I thank Will for writing such an incredibly intelligent and insightful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book. It is a stunning achievement and helpful to anyone. Even if you feel as though you are fine and experiencing Joy in your life, you can still benefit. You can still learn. As humans, we're forever evolving- always a work-in-progress. This book furthers that process- the evolution and your personal understanding of it. I've personally already given it as gifts to a few people. They've shown more appreciation than just about any other gift I can remember giving.
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