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The Question of Happiness: On Finding Meaning, Pleasure, and the Ultimate Currency Paperback – August 26, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (August 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595231403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595231409
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Chappin on May 12, 2006
I first learned of Tal Ben-Shahar from a news piece on NPR; of how the most popular class at Harvard is now Tal's "Happiness 101" or PSY 1504-Positive Psy. Made curious by seeing some of his classes online, I purchased this book. The Question of Happiness is a thrifty writing, simple and to the point. But that is not to say Tal scrimps on his good, weighty ideas.

Tal begins dealing with happiness by describing the pros and cons of different levels of present and future happiness that we choose. Too much present pleasure, or too much future gain, is never good: we must look for a balance. The ideal is for people to endevor in things that provide both present and future joy. But this also is not enough. Tal reveals that we must also find meaning/purpose in our lives; that what we find enjoyable has an affect and matters.

Tal makes a case that happiness is the ends of all that we do. It (happiness) should be the basis of which we base all choices on: will it increase my level of the ultimate currency? Tal also deals in his book how we can apply this to work, relationships, mindfulness, etc.

I cannot do this book the justice it deserves in the space I have here and with my writing skills, but I will say this: Tal has made a great step in bringing the rigor of academia to main street in a way this man can use.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Heyman on November 5, 2006
I love what he has to say. The book is written in the same clear language he uses in his lectures at Harvard which you can download for free from the Harvard website.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 26, 2007
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I suppose that I approach life from a different point of view than the author. He thinks that the reason to do good things is so that you will be happy -- at the end of the day, for the author -- it is all about internal, self-involved feelings. My view is fundamentally different: One should do the right, good, and kind thing, irrespective of whether it will bring you happiness; once one adopts this attitude, happiness is very likely to follow. Trying to maximize happiness (which is very different from maximizing pleasure) is like chasing a rainbow's end -- you will never arrive at your hoped-for destination. You must step outside of yourself and your own desires to become truly happy. That being said, the author is bright and entertaining -- and I do not mean to suggest that he is not a good person.
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As a life coach and mindfulness teacher I consider this book a great tool to share with my clients and students.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lurf on May 9, 2007
Very good, but a tad short. Loved what it had to say, but would have been good if it carried the information much further.
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