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The Art of Happiness at Work Hardcover – August 25, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

In their 1998 book The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and co-author Howard C. Cutler, M.D., explored how inner development contributes to overall happiness. In their second collaboration, the authors considered how they could best follow their highly successful first book. They chose a subject that affects millions of people around the world and produced. In this very readable, useful book, the authors attempt to discover the following: "Where does work fit in to our overall quest for happiness?" and "To what degree does work satisfaction affect our overall life satisfaction and happiness?"

The Art of Happiness at Work is a modern-day Socratic dialogue in which Cutler asks the Dalai Lama about the difficulties and rewards we might encounter in the workplace. The authors explore issues such as work and identity, making money, the Buddhist concept of "right livelihood," and transforming dissatisfaction at work. The discussion appears simple, if not obvious, at first, but upon closer scrutiny, the Dalai Lama's profound wisdom and sensitivity emerges. For the Dalai Lama, basic human values such as kindness, tolerance, compassion, honesty, and forgiveness are the source of human happiness. Throughout the book, he illustrates with clear examples how bringing those qualities to bear on work-related challenges can help us tolerate or overcome the most thorny situations. Recognizing that not all problems can be solved, the Dalai Lama provides very sound advice. The authors urge balance and self-awareness and wisely state, "No matter how satisfying our work is, it is a mistake to rely on work as our only source of satisfaction." --Silvana Tropea

From Publishers Weekly

It should come as no surprise that the Dalai Lama, who is believed by his followers to be the human incarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, would take a compassionate interest in helping Westerners find happiness in the daily grind. Still, this slim follow-up to the 1998 bestseller The Art of Happiness will be a revelation to those who aren't yet familiar with the thought of the brilliant Buddhist monk. Attitude and a sense of meaning are the keys to happiness at work, the exiled Tibetan leader tells psychiatrist Cutler in the course of conversations that took place over several years. What will surprise many is the prime importance the Dalai Lama places on reason and analysis, and on the need to acquire "a sense of self that is grounded in reality, an undistorted recognition of one's abilities and characteristics." Cutler presents the findings of various Western researchers, including the concept of "flow," that state of blissful absorption in an activity that allows people to lose track of time and self-identity. The Dalai Lama compares flow to meditative experience, yet downplays it. In order to achieve the kind of happiness that can be sustained even in the hardest times, he says, we must engage in the slow, steady work of training our hearts and minds, rooting out negative habits and cultivating basic human values like kindness and compassion. The Dalai Lama avoids generalization, emphasizing the complexity of individual situations. He won't condemn the manufacture of weapons, for example, because, he says, although they are destructive, "nations do need weapons for security purposes." At a time when Western spiritual seekers are flocking to books telling them that all they really need to be happy and good is to enter into a blissful meditative communion with the now, it is provocative and moving to be urged to think and to know oneself by the man who is arguably the greatest living symbol of the developed spirit in action. And what may be most moving is this: if the Dalai Lama is right, and if people do as he suggests-if they learn to see themselves impartially and to analyze their work in light of how many people it touches-they will begin to see, whether they are picking oranges or writing a novel, that the highest purpose of work and, indeed, of life is the helping of others.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; First Edition edition (August 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573222615
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573222617
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born in 1935 to a peasant family in northeastern Tibet and was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. The world's foremost Buddhist leader, he travels extensively, speaking eloquently in favor of ecumenical understanding, kindness and compassion, respect for the environment, and, above all, world peace.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
THE ART OF HAPPINESS AT WORK by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler falls considerably short of THE ART OF HAPPINESS, the original work by the same authors. In the original book The Dalai Lama provides very interesting views that can be applied to a variety scenarios in life, including the workplace.
Hence, ...HAPPINESS AT WORK is very repetitive of the original and runs the risk of placing someone as illustrious as The Dalai Lama in the position of appearing too much like other marketing-driven authors of the genre who pump out repeats of their original works under other titles like ...FOR THE WORKING SOUL, ...FOR THE GOLFING SOUL, OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL FAMILIES, ...OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL TEENAGERS, etc.
After all, if you read the first book by The Dalai Lama you can easily see how his philosophies concerning happiness apply to all walks of life. Stick with THE ART OF HAPPINESS and discover for yourself how it may apply to a variety of your questions regarding your personal happiness...including in the workplace.
Douglas McAllister
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In 1998, H.H. the Dalai Lama joined Dr. Howard C. Cutler, an American psychiatrist, in writing a book "The Art of Happiness" which became a best-seller. This book taught the importance of "looking within" and of controlling destructive emotions in living a good life and finding happiness.
Dr. Cutler and the Dalai Lama have again collaborated in this follow-up book which applies the insights of the initial volume to life situations which are, typically, the sources of great conflict. Several additional books, in addition to this book exploring the world of work, are underway. The book is based upon a series of conversations held between the Dalai Lama and Dr. Cutler over the course of several years. Dr. Cutler is responsible for the format and editing of the book. The final product was read and approved by the Dalai Lama's interpreter.
Early in the volume, the Dalai Lama reminds Dr. Cutler that the focus of the inquiry is "secular ethics" (p.7) One of the most valuable features of the book is that it shows how the Dalai Lama can use his spiritual tradition to articulate values that can be shared by many people, whether or not they are religious believers. Another feature of the book is the significance of the subject matter. Many people trust and listen to the Dalai Lama where they will be reluctant to accept possibly similar advice from experts, such as psychiatrists, or from teachers in Western religous traditions. The book is deceptively simple in tone and teaching, but hard to realize.
In a series of discussions Dr. Cutler explores with the Dalai Lama the reasons why many people tend to be bored or dissatisfied with their jobs. Dr.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By EmptiKloud on July 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is rather different from other books by H.H. Dalai Lama where he communicates directly to the readers. Mr. Cutler has the tendency to rephrase, re-interpret, and wrapped around comments made by H.H. Dalai Lama with his personal views and citations of statistics about studies and surveys. Overall, there is too much Mr. Cutler, not enough coming directly from His Holiness. It is difficult try to listen to His Holiness while trying to filter out the "noise" from Mr. Cutler's narration. The book puts too much emphasis on how the intervew went, what he thought, what he believed in, etc. This book would be much better if Mr. Cutler can simply record and present H.H. Dalai Lama's advise and let the readers come to their own conclusions.

There is one other thing to note about the audio version of the book. Mr. Cutler reads with a very academic voice, his presentation is little bit artificial. On the other hand, Mr. B.D. Wong, who reads the part of H.H. Dalai Lama with such an exaggerated Indian accent that the resulting contrast is both annoying and amusing. I find it difficult to finish the whole book (6 CDs) not only due to the way the material were presented, but also its sheer unpleasantness to the ear.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By greenchutney on June 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Once again Dr. Cutler and the publishers have listed the Dalai Lama as first author although this book like the previous one was written by Cutler and not the Dalai Lama. As in his other book, Cutler uses some quotations from the Dalai Lama sprinkled thinly through the book to justify the listed authorship. Buyer beware. There are many other excellent books actually written by the Dalai Lama.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Thomas on October 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Cutler's writing may be sound modern analysis of living and working and the psychological and emotional mechanisms we employ in doing both, but the book does NOT successfully present HH Dalai Lama's foundational views. Like Cutler's first book, this one smacks of self-help and, irritatingly, the Dr.'s self-service as well. My impression is that Cutler's name should be on this book and it should be sold as a popular analysis of the words of HH Dalai Lama. It is CLEARLY not a joint project as suggested by the author credits. I won't go so far as to say I am offended at how this book (and the series) has been marketed, but I do feel it has been misrepresented. Surely, readers of HH Dalai Lama's works will realize this at page one and take from this presentation whatever value they can with that awareness. Better wisdom from HH can be found in numerous other titles sold here at Amazon, or even online for free at places like or
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