Customer Reviews


186 Reviews
5 star:
 (136)
4 star:
 (24)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (10)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful--how to wake up and become aware
This is a simple but powerful book that will change the way you look at life. Zen and the Art of Happiness takes happiness and consciousness to a whole new level.

This book (and its shrewd insights) is profound.

As D.T. Suzuki, the Japanese scholar and leading spokesman of Zen in mid-twentieth century America, said of Zen, "It merely enables us to...
Published on October 20, 2007 by Nigel J. Yorwerth

versus
37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be"
I was looking forward to learning a bit about Zen, but this book fell short. There is not much substance here. Abraham Lincoln said: "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be". The author tries to make a similar point in the first part of the book. There is merit to his thinking, but the problem is that the discussion is not interesting or...
Published on June 17, 2009 by Houman Tamaddon


‹ Previous | 1 219 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful--how to wake up and become aware, October 20, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
This is a simple but powerful book that will change the way you look at life. Zen and the Art of Happiness takes happiness and consciousness to a whole new level.

This book (and its shrewd insights) is profound.

As D.T. Suzuki, the Japanese scholar and leading spokesman of Zen in mid-twentieth century America, said of Zen, "It merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points". Zen and the Art of Happiness gives you simple but profound keys that will help you change your life. If you read it with an open heart it will truly help you find happiness.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life, November 13, 2006
By 
Daisy Katz (Upstate NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
I bought this book on impulse the night before a long trip. I read it through, then went back and re-read many sections. It dramatically changed my perspective on life and helped me become a more peaceful person.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


60 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Powerful Little Book On How To Achieve Happiness..., January 22, 2007
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
I've read many, many books on Zen and the way of happiness...but this one is the best I've ever read. And the beauty of it is that it makes it very simple, straight to the point, and tells you the way to achieve real happiness in life. I've recommended it to many people and still re-read it every few months. The simplicity of it is very powerful and it has the potential to really change one's own life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and simple, a rare gem!, March 7, 2007
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
I have a large library of spiritual books, which I have scoured the world for and which I treasure. But recently, when I was trying to deal with a particularly difficult problem in my life (one I couldn't seem to "chant away", meditate beyond, or free myself from) I found this small book and it's teachings were phrased just the right way to finally give me some peace.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An illuminating book, October 10, 2006
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
I read the book, Zen And the Art of Happiness and it truly moved me. It is an illuminating book; reading it was an uplifting experience for me.

Prentiss has written about a difficult subject - understanding the meaning of life, including its inherent suffering - from an enlightened perspective. I have finished the book, but I still carry it with me and I plan to continue to do so as a reminder of the momentous power and significance it contains.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be", June 17, 2009
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
I was looking forward to learning a bit about Zen, but this book fell short. There is not much substance here. Abraham Lincoln said: "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be". The author tries to make a similar point in the first part of the book. There is merit to his thinking, but the problem is that the discussion is not interesting or insightful. The writing quality is also not very good.

In another section the author discusses neurotransmitters, steroids and peptides. This should have been beyond the scope of this short book and is also beyond the author's expertise. Finally he also tries to promote his drug rehabilitation business and tout his successes which I do not believe is appropriate for authors to do in their books. Commercials should serve that purpose - not books that are sold. Skip this one and think about Lincoln's quote instead. It takes less time to read, it is to the point and free.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


122 of 157 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A lesson on self-delusion, based purely on pseudoscience and speculation., September 28, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
Wow, what a mess, where do I begin? I was willing to give this book a shot, even after reading the crazy assumptions at the beginning, but eventually I couldn't deal with it anymore and had to write this review to warn others.

The book starts off with the not-so-preposterous claim that happiness is based on simply "being happy." Ok, you said it, now prove it. Nowhere in the book is this ever proved or even justified. The author centers his entire text on the assumption that by believing that "Every event that befalls me is absolutely the best possible event that could occur," it will be so. What? Why? The eventual "metaphysical" explanation for why this is because "all the laws of the Universe are in favor of the continuation of the Universe," and that since we are "one with the universe" (according to the author, enlightenment proves this), everything that ever happens to us favors our continuation within the universe. What a load of BS. Which laws are in favor of the continuation of the universe? I don't think the author has ever heard of, oh say, the Second Law of Thermodynamics which states that the quality of matter and energy in the universe is decaying over time, and that the logical conclusion is that universe is not eternal ([...]). It's only one of the most important laws we learn in high school chemistry. This is the author's flawed "Personal Philosophy;" that the sole reason that the universe continues to exist is because it designed to do so... and he expects us to adopt a similar belief system to feel better about the things that happen to us on a daily basis.

Then the book completely fell apart for me - the author explains how he got hit on the head with a rock, and tells how it "opened the channels" in his brain and helped him understand and translate the I Ching. He also mentions how his son was addicted to drugs, and devotes 3 pages to the tragedy but absolutely no explanation of how his son persevered through it all and changed his ways. Apparently he just magically did. He continues to blather on about how all religions are basically the same, that there is only one universal truth and includes various other tidbits of typical new-age drivel disguised as revolutionary and unique revelation. You've probably heard it all before if you have read any New-Age book.

A very important consideration before you buy: other than having a smattering of quotes from various Zen/Buddhist/Eastern monks, teachers and authors, "Zen and the Art of Happiness" has nothing to do with Zen. It barely even talks about meditation - the principle practice in Zen Buddhism. It devotes a whopping 3 pages to it. This book is not even about the psychology of positive thinking, because aside for a few vague references and endnotes, it provides no experimental evidence for any of its claims. This book is about the author's personal belief system, which is based on superficial understanding of Zen Buddhism, science and a very personal interpretation of Eastern religion - and a sense that somehow Eastern mysticism is better or more "true" than other thought systems because it is "ancient." These are all big fat warning signs that indicate you should stay away.

Although there are some thoughts here that I somewhat agree with, namely that positive thinking, simplicity and contentment with what we have generally make us "happier," I couldn't even give this book 2 stars because the author bases all of his argument on pseudoscience and his own blind assumptions of how the universe works. He erroneously asserts that we should consider all of our bad experiences as good experiences - merely re-labeling our thoughts and beliefs. Zen is about being mindful, understanding and escaping labels, both good and bad - not blindly changing one to the other based on the desire to be happy. It honestly sounds like the author is convinced of his own beliefs; however, that doesn't make this book or any of its baseless theories any more credible.

All in all, if you are looking for a good book on deluding yourself, look no further. If you know nearly anything about science, philosophy or Eastern thought, this little book will irritate you to no end. Instead, if you want a good book on actually understanding depression, happiness and Buddhism, I suggest you check out many fine books such as "Buddhism without Beliefs" by Stephen Bachelor or any of the writings by John Kabat-Zinn.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthusiastically recommended and 'user friendly' reading, October 7, 2006
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
"Zen And The Art Of Happiness" by Chris Prentiss (cofounder and co-director of Passages Substance Abuse Treatment Center) is a pocket-sized and highly portable 160-page book presenting practical, spiritual, applicable wisdom from the Eastern philosophy of Zen Buddhism designed to provide the reader with a positive, uplifting message that we can affect and influence the very makeup of our body at a cellular level through what we believe, think, and feel. That when we create happiness and vibrancy within our lives we are better able to adapt to life's inevitable stresses and changes. By learning to deal with stress and change in healthy ways, we create, nuture, and perpetuate 'mindful happiness' in our daily lives. "Zen And The Art Of Happiness" is enthusiastically recommended and 'user friendly' reading for anyone seeking to enhance their spirituality, learn to deal with life's stresses, and improve their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is LIFE CHANGING!, March 3, 2007
By 
AMP (Colorado Springs, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Zen and the Art of Happiness (Paperback)
I read this zen book and it changed my life! A truly intense (and yet simple to read) book about how we can all find happiness. I am buying 100 copies and giving it to all my friends. If you liked "The Secret," this book will go even further into your quest for truth in the universe. Chris, you have drastically changed my perception of life, god and the universe we live in. You are amazing! Thanks for being such a positive force in a sea full of (seeming) chaos. -- Anne Marie
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous at times., November 22, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I didn't care for this book much overall, although the good news is that it is very short so it wasn't a big time investment, and there were a few ideas I liked. A newer friend suggested it and, although we have a few things strongly in common, I learned that love of this book was not one of those things. :-) Another friend said that hearing about it reminded her of the book The Secret, and that was my thought as well (though I haven't read The Secret and am basing that only on discussions I've had about that book.)

The main premise is that in order to be happy you just make yourself believe that EVERYTHING that happens to you is a great thing, and that whatever happens is the "best possible" thing that can happen to you in your life. This is based on a sub-premise that the universe is perfect, and watching out for you, and will never allow anything that is not in your best interest. He only spends one paragraph referencing the most horrible things that can happen (infant death, murders, rapes, etc.) and suggests that a person "not begin" with these things. The implication is that at some point one could GET to the point of being able to believe that the rape and murder of the child really WAS the best possible thing that could EVER happen to you! Because that is what the universe provided, and the universe is NEVER wrong! Now, it may very well be that if you are able to think like that, you may be happier. I would be happier also if I could convince myself that there is a monkey living in the trunk of my car who will hand me a thousand dollars every time I open the trunk. Sadly, though, I am unable to believe that. And it seems to me that the universe has provided countless examples of its lack of concern for human life. It may never do anything that hurts the universe. But it can be quite unkind to victims of floods, famine and violence.

I think this philosophy is easier to believe if you live in a very rich country like the USA, you have your basic needs met, and you just feel slightly unfilled about not having achieved everything you quite desired in your life. But, I'm not sure this book would be very helpful to a victim of a hideous crime, a terrible accident, or ongoing poverty. Are these folks all pessimists (and am I?) for not buying this?

He talks about the connection between stress and physical health, and made some excellent points there. And he told a great story about having his brand new car dented, and not becoming upset with the other driver. And I thought that was a great approach to handling the situation. A dent really can't cause you sadness, if you think about it the right way. But, he also insists that while on the ground follow a very dramatic head injury with a massive rock, his very first thought (while unable to breath or move) was that it was the best possible thing that could have happened to him. (Does anybody think that is even possible, given the human impulse to fight for life, which even suicidal people have when helpless?) He goes on to say that without that attitude, his recovery would not have been as swift and other issues may have resulted. But, I ask..why would these other "bad" things be bad, if it's really true that EVERYTHING that happens is always for our benefit? In fact, why behave in any way whatsoever that might be an attempted to improve your future? If everything that happens is always for you benefit, I see no reason to do much of anything to try to make life better. That's the part I found fairly dangerous, along with the notion that every unhappy person is basically to blame for their own misery, no matter the circumstance.

I wonder, should it even be a goal to feel happy all the time no matter what happens? Is this even a healthy response? There is no doubt that sometimes we look back on experiences we had hated, and found that they resulted in positive things down the road. And there is little doubt that positive thinking can go a long way toward lifting one's spirits, and helping a person to focus on possibilities yet ahead in life. But this book takes it a few steps too far, in my view. On the other hand, if it works for you...I say, be happy and enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 219 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Zen and the Art of Happiness
Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss (Paperback - June 28, 2006)
$10.95 $9.86
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.