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3.3 out of 5 stars
The Art of Happiness at Work
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
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
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. Cutler brings to bear many anecdotes from his work as a psychiatrist as well has his familiarity with much contemporary literature on job satisfaction. The Dalai Lama brings to bear his wisdom and insight. Time and again during the conversations, the Dalai Lama takes issue with Dr. Cutler, forcing him to redirect and rephrase his questions and assumptions, and to change the tenor of his approach to questions of happiness in the workplace. The Dalai Lama's approach is marked by its circumspectness. He reiterates that the situation of every individual differs and that questions about work admit of no easy solution. In other words,it is not a case of "one size fits all."
With that said the issues and insights are valuable. Chief among these for me are the Dalai Lama's comments on self-understanding. Much difficulty at work is caused by having an overly inflated or an overly deflated view of ourselves and our abilities. This causes discontent because it gives a picture of our abilities and our expectations of ourselves that are out of touch with reality.
Similarly, the Dalai's teachings in this book about patience, humility, self-control, and compassion for one's co-workers provide a great deal to think about in approaching the workplace. The Dalai Lama, in common with others who have thought about these matters, distinguishes between views of work as a "job", simply to support oneself, a "career", with the goal of advancement and growth, and a "calling" in which a person does what he or she finds important to be of service to others. People necessarily occupy different spaces on this continuum. For some people, the goal properly should be to learn the value of one's work and to move towards viewing it as a calling.
The book also teaches that work and money-making are not the sole source of happiness and urges the reader to develop other interests, particularly a sense of connectedness to others through family or through interests and activities outside the workplace.
Many of the criticisms of this book and its predecessor that I have seen turn on the respective roles of the Dalai Lama and Dr. Cutler. Dr. Cutler serves, I think, as a foil to the Dalai Lama. In the book, the voices of the two principal are distinct, allowing the reader to capture a good deal of the spirit of the Dalai Lama.
There is also a tendency to criticize the book for its simplicity. I agree the teachings of the book are simple, but in practice they are difficult of realization. A virtue of the book is its very accessiblity which makes it possible for the reader to try to use it for benefit in his or her own case.
Finally, it should be pointed out again that this book does not purport to be an introduction to Buddhism. It is a work of secular (or applied) ethics. There are ample books available, including many works of the Dalai Lama, for those who would like a specifically Buddhist study. One can learn from this book regardless of commitment or lack of commitment to any religion.
I thought this book helped me with questions that have bothered me for years. I also found that the book would probably be useful to many of my coworkers and, perhaps, useful as well, to management where I work.
This book will not solve any person's workplace issues, but it will encourage the reader to reconsider and to sharpen his or her focus to address these issues.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 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
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
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 buddhanet.net or snowlionpubs.com.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Howard Cutler's first book with the Dalai Lama, "The Art Of Happiness," was packed with wonderful and accessible teachings from the Dalai Lama. We owe Mr. Cutler much thanks for the work he put into his efforts on his first book when it was not sure thing anyone would either publish or read his collection of interviews with the Dalai Lama.
This new book falls short however. The Dalai Lama doesn't have much of interest to say about the subject in general. Mr. Cutler, in what seems like an ego play, inserts himself into the book at every available opportunity, unlike his first book where he was much more a reporter. The conversations are endlessly boring and sophomoric.
What we do gain is an appreciation of how brilliant a thinker the Dalai Lama is even when he is being hassled by nit picking questions from someone who seems to think there is a sure thing going on. I do hope Mr. Culter gets back on track, becomes a reporter instead of subject, and focuses on topics that are more compatible with the Dalai Lama's keen intelligence.
Or perhaps the interviews have played themselves out and it is time to stop and appreciate the contributions made in the first book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After having just finished Victor Chan's collaborative work with the Dalai Lama, "The Wisdom of Forgiveness", I was prepared for a book where a lot of the content was atmospheric rather than substantive. However, I was barely one chapter into "The Art of Happiness at Work" before I began to get the creeping suspicion that I was being hustled.

This is basically a Howard Cutler self-help book that has precious little of the Dalai Lama's insights. Which would be alright if it was presented as such more honestly. The few bits of wisdom from His Holiness seem only a token to allow Dr. Cutler to then take off on his own theories, and anecdotes about his friends who aren't happy with their new cars.

Don't waste your time. Especially if you are looking to extract any teaching of Buddhism. At best this is a dull, uninspired read. And at worst, it seems like a marketing scam using the name of the Dalai Lama to sell another chicken soup book.

Chan's book is a far more honest and pleasurable read. And any volume actually written by the Dalai Lama himself would be recommended.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Dalai Lama is an incredibly active and hard-working individual, and despite the fact that he has never held a conventional 9-5 job, he nevertheless has tremendous understanding and insight into the underlying psychological processes that are the source of much of our dissatisfaction at work. Besides offering guidelines on how to transform one's mental and emotional responses to become happier at work, the Dalai Lama also offers readers an effective, practical and commonsense approach to dealing with the difficult conditions and problems that all of us are bound to run into at the workplace. As in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, the first book by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, M.D., Dr. Cutler does a truly outstanding job in helping frame the Dalai Lama's ideas within a contemporary Western context. One advantage to the format, is that Dr. Cutler draws upon the latest scientific findings in support of the Dalai Lama's views, adds personal observations about the Dalai Lama and includes other poignant or entertaining stories that illustrate how to apply the principles - - showing the reader how to apply the Dalai Lama's ideas to become happier in one's daily life, at work or at home. There has been a lot of research showing that happy workers are more productive and more successful. I plan on giving a copy of this book as a gift, during the holiday season, to my employees, hoping that they too will find some effective strategies to become happier in their own lives. I am grateful that the Dalai Lama and Dr. Cutler have teamed up again. The topic of work, which takes up so much of our lives, is clearly something they needed to address to offer a comprehensive discussion of human happiness.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you looking for a magic answer - you are not going to find it here. It's hard to expect it from a man who never worked for a large corporation in the trenches. He can't imagine the level of petiness that the corporate world brings people down to. Nevertheless, The Dalai Lama nailed it. I can summarize his message in this statement. Here goes: "Who said life is fair? Life is tough, deal with it." The man is right...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was really looking forward to this book, but it turned out to be terribly disappointing. Throughout the text, Cutler keeps asking questions that the Dalai Lama is obviously not particularly interested in addressing. He is polite enough to come up with some answers, but it's clear that he finds most of the questions either irrelevant or too general. Most of the content turns out to be a tired repetition of the most obvious cliches ("don't let $ determine your worth", etc.) Cutler and the Dalai Lama seem to be on completely different wavelengths and their interaction comes across (at least on the page) as forced and not particularly stimulating. Even the attempts at humor fall painfully short. I was very much anticipating the Dalai Lama's insights on happiness in the face of challenging circumstances, but what I got instead is Cutler's confused prose and little else.
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