319 of 352 people found the following review helpful
not a new approach, and not specific enough...,
This review is from: The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want (Paperback)I tried to follow the suggestions in this book. First of all, if you really want to use this as a how-to guide, its format is not conducive to that. The very few specific actions it recommends are buried in text that is full of anecdotes and studies that are supposed to sell you on the thought that doing these actions will make you happy. Also, according to the author the solution to all of your problems seems to be writing in journals: your "Best Possible Selves" journal in which you are trying to cultivate optimism by imagining what your life will be like one it is exactly the way you want it to be, your "Goals and Subgoals Journal," your "Trauma" journal, in which you write about traumatic experiences you've had as a way of coping with stress, a "Gratitude journal" in which you are writing what you are grateful for, etc etc etc. While I can see how writing can help people become more optimistic and grateful, lighter in spirit and more focused, the author does not give specific advice on what questions to ponder while writing.
I felt after reading this book (several times) that it was a less helpful, more commercialized version of a much better, more helpful and more specific book which was written several years ago, "The Emotional Toolkit" by Darlene Minnini (also a PhD from California, although from UCLA). The Emotional Toolkit cites the same studies that The How of Happiness cites and more, but is more focused on the reader and what he or she can do, not exclusively on selling the idea of what they should do. It gives specific suggestions, which How does not; such as listing questions to ask yourself while writing in a journal, for example, and questions to ask yourself to shift your thoughts from negative to neutral (instead of How's simply telling you to "stop" the negative thoughts because negative thoughts are bad for you).
So, if you really want to help yourself, I would not go for How of Happiness.
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Initial post: Feb 22, 2012 10:35:29 PM PST
Maybe it's just me....but I don't need someone to spell out every tedious detail of what I need to do to be happy. I thought it was a great book. She does talk a little too much about journals for my taste, but there are plenty of other options besides journaling. One of the things I liked about the book is that she offers a menu of options and says to consistently do 3 or 4 of the ones that appeal to you most and chuck the rest. I like that approach.
In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 8:02:40 PM PDT
Thanks for providing your perspective on this review. The author's approach you describe sounds useful to me.
Posted on Dec 20, 2012 6:19:02 AM PST
Claudia Allen says:
I think that the ideas you describe actually sound as if they would be worthwhile. Thanks for sharing this.
Posted on Jan 4, 2013 12:08:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 4, 2013 12:11:04 AM PST
Steven Mason says:
I'm curious about a couple of things. First, you say that you read this book - a book you didn't like - several times. If you didn't like it, why did you read it several times? Second, and perhaps even more confusing, is why you read this book (several times) when you had already read a "much better, more helpful" book several years ago? If you had read such a great book on happiness already, why are you still looking for more books on happiness? Are you "happy" now, and were you just curious?
By the way, the thought of eating curried goat meat does not make me happy at all. :-)
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