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The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living Hardcover – October 26, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; 1st edition (October 26, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573221112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573221115
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (586 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit down with the Dalai Lama and really press him about life's persistent questions? Why are so many people unhappy? How can I abjure loneliness? How can we reduce conflict? Is romantic love true love? Why do we suffer? How should we deal with unfairness and anger? How do you handle the death of a loved one? These are the conundrums that psychiatrist Howard Cutler poses to the Dalai Lama during an extended period of interviews in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living.

At first, the Dalai Lama's answers seem simplistic, like a surface reading of Robert Fulghum: Ask yourself if you really need something; our enemies can be our teachers; compassion brings peace of mind. Cutler pushes: But some people do seem happy with lots of possessions; but "suffering is life" is so pessimistic; but going to extremes provides the zest in life; but what if I don't believe in karma? As the Dalai Lama's responses become more involved, a coherent philosophy takes shape. Cutler then develops the Dalai Lama's answers in the context of scientific studies and cases from his own practice, substantiating and elaborating on what he finds to be a revolutionary psychology. Like any art, the art of happiness requires study and practice--and the talent for it, the Dalai Lama assures us, is in our nature. --Brian Bruya

From Library Journal

The Art of Happiness is read like an enchanting Indian tale by Howard Cutler and Ernest Abuba. Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritiual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. Cutler helps to blend psychology with the Dalai Lamas Buddhist meditations and stories. Gyatso talks about how to defeat depression, anxiety, anger, and jealousy through meditation. He discusses relationships, health, family, work, and spirituality and how to find inner peace while facing these struggles. His tireless efforts on behalf of human rights and world peace have brought him international recognition. He is the recipient of the Wallenberg Award (conferred by the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Foundation), the Albert Schweitzer Award, and the Nobel Peace Prize. Recommended for world religion collections.Ravonne A. Green, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ., Blacksburg
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Very well written book, very stong yet easy to understand.
"intentaccess"
All in all, this book has helped me examine my own life and make changes to make it more fulfilling and happy.
Lucinarei
This book is based on Dalai Lama's teachings and is written by his follower Howard Cutler.
Prasad Ganti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

254 of 262 people found the following review helpful By Star on August 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have always had a lot of respect for the Dalai Lama and admired the fact that he radiates so much genuine compassion and tolerance despite the many hardships that he has faced in his lifetime. I believe that this book is the essence of this man's being and his outlook on life. It encompasses many of his core beliefs and serves as an inspiration to everyone, irrespective of religious affiliation or spiritual belief.

This book is not written by the Dalai Lama himself, but by Howard C. Cutler, and is based on his numerous conversations with His Holiness. Dr. Cutler provides the "western", science-based perspective on the buddhist monk's teachings. While his naivete gets to be annoying at times, he helps relate the Dalai Lama's teachings to our everyday lives by making them less abstract, more practical and actionable.

"I believe that happiness can be achieved through training the mind... Generally speaking, one begins by identifying those factors which lead to happiness and those factors which lead to suffering. Having done this, one then sets about gradually eliminating those factors which lead to suffering and cultivating those which lead to happiness." These words contain the essence of the entire book. A premise so elegant and simple that it might be easy to dismiss at first, and yet so powerful. The more one thinks about their true meaning, the more one begins to understand that these words, in themselves, hold the answer to the purpose of our lives.

The idea that happiness is the product of our mind, rather than of our objective situation, is hardly new. Yet, this book is able to explore this notion to the depths that I had never comprehended before.
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473 of 516 people found the following review helpful By fred jones on August 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In The Art of Happiness The Dalai Lama tells listeners how to defeat day-to-day depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy. The concepts are simple but difficult. If you liked this book I would suggest you also read Way of A Peaceful Warrior and An Encounter With A Prophet
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550 of 603 people found the following review helpful By Bluejack on November 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The big disappointment here is that there is very little Dalai Lama in this book. It is not the Lama's handbook for living, it is Howard Cutler's handbook for getting rich off the Dalai Lama's good name. Howard Cutler is a professional psychologist, and -- one quickly concludes -- a rather average one.
The one fascinating thing about this book is observing how the Dalai Lama interacts with a perfectly ordinary, totally western person. Howard Cutler asks the same kinds of questions that you or I might ask, and is just as puzzled as we might be. He is not much of a writer, but he writes without artifice or elaboration. Through Cutler's unornamented prose, the reader can sense the Dalai Lama's reactions to such honest questions as "What is wrong with romantic love?" The Lama questions the question, and with a thoughtful words opens all the distinctions between our cultures. He transcends cultural bias easily, which is perhaps what makes him such a powerful figure in our age. Much of the book, however, consists of Cutler dissecting, analyzing, and providing examples from his own practice to elucidate the Lama's brief responses. Cutler's thinking is far weaker, but does serve to illustrate the vast gulf between ordinary thought and the thinking of someone who has devoted his life to it.
Were I titling this book, I might have come up with something like "A Psychological Response to Selected Teachings of the Dalai Lama: A Collision Between East and West". (Fortunately for all of us, I do not have a job in publishing!) Although it is disappointing that the interviewer is not sophisticated enough to take these questions deeper, it is worthwhile to examine the Dalai Lama's approaches and responses to ordinary questions.
All told, this is not a book I am happy to have bought.
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By e.severson on January 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up at its first print. I found this book extremely spiritually insightful, to say the absolute least. Every time I read this book again (that's right, again), I find new value locked within the Dalai Lamas' words. However, I am reading a lot of these reviews in much disappointment.
The Art of Happiness was written through the perspective of a western psychiatrist, Dr. Howard C. Cutler. It saddens me in the fact that many readers could not see beyond Dr. Cutlers' viewpoints into the heart of the real mater. Dr. Cutlers' remarks were not made to instruct or to educate, but merely to display the Dalai Lama in a more acceptable western sense.
The most important thing the Dalai Lama speaks of is the act of cultivating compassion. This is important. Through compassion, one will come to appreciate Dr. Cutler's display of goodwill toward the overall benefit of humankind. It would seem that most negative reviews were not based on content alone, but based purely on an abundance of ignorance. You could say that they just `didn't get it.' The very people in which complain of Dr. Cutlers perspectives are complaining, in a sense, of their own comprehension levels. Through compassion, one will inevitably find that live is through our own perception. This book does an exquisite job in relaying this fact among others noted respectfully through the wisdom of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama.
This book reads it self, I have given it to friends, family, etc. It is a beautiful work of art in many senses. If you have any interest in spiritual growth, eastern philosophy, or if you just have a good heart, as I believe we all do, then buy this book. For those of you who still don't like this book, there are books out there not written by Dr.
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