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on December 25, 2016
Dan Harris makes a huge contribution to the field of mindfulness meditation in 10% Happier. In a way that only a former war correspondent and Nightline news anchor could, Harris has created a lens to look at the phenomenon of mindfulness with a kind of sharpness that is unparalleled in popular or academic literature on this subject.

With wit and humility, Harris openly shares his struggles with anxiety in his life and career in front of a camera. Starting with his on-the-air panic attack in 2004, Harris recounts how his ambition-fueled, perfectionist, non-stop work ethic left him subject to emotional meltdowns that led him to use cocaine to self-medicate. Forced to examine his inner life, he recounts his highs and lows navigating the maze of self-help and professional help to find inner peace without sacrificing his competitive edge.

Along the way you are treated to gems of observation the likes of which you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in print, even in someone’s private email, but especially in a book so enthusiastic about mindfulness. Yet it’s Harris’ realism and, undoubtedly, his discipline at finding unique angles to report that makes this book so special.

For example, commenting about something many people have probably thought but no one has dared to speak, he says: “Turns out, mindfulness isn’t such a cute look. Everyone is in his or her own world, trying very hard to stay in the moment. The effort of concentration produces facial expressions that range from blank to defecatory.”

Then there’s this nugget, when he refers the practice of some of his fellow retreat participants to bow to a statue of the Buddha: “I’m still bowing to the Buddha, but mostly for the hamstring stretch.”

As a psychotherapist and teacher of mindfulness-based counseling techniques, I am highly recommending 10% Happier to both my clients and student/colleagues. Here’s why. Harris is a synthesizer, rendering the dense subjects of mindfulness culture, science, and meditation-user experience into a three-part harmony that immediately makes you want to hear more. His stories pull you in. Before you know it, you’re in the story yourself, identifying with one of the zillions of facets that emerge in his writing.

Whether it’s his reporting of and friendship with Ted Haggard, the fallen-from-grace evangelical church leader, or his confessions of insecurity working among television giants like Peter Jennings and Diane Sawyer, Harris uses a running psychoanalysis of himself as the instrument which carries the reader deeper into contemplation of their own psyche.

Admittedly, this book isn’t a how-to for meditation, nor is it a scientific discourse about neurobiology. (Bookstores are already filled with these.) But as I like to say about the healing work of psychotherapy, it moves the ball down the field. For experienced meditators, perhaps it challenges some of the sacred attachments (a nice way of saying “ruts”) you have in your current practice. For beginners, moving the ball down the field might look like the simple act of attending your first yoga session and having the confidence to know you don’t need to learn Sanskrit or wear spandex (but hey, spandex is cool too).

After reading 10% Happier, I feel closer to the amazingly diverse and rich community of mindfulness practitioners that I might not have learned about if I kept my literary diet fixed on those from the same mindfulness “tribe” I’ve trained and practiced with. Thanks to Dan’s investigative narrative and personal prose, his book is a powerful resource to help you wake up from life on automatic.

As Leo Tolstoy once said: “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” Dan Harris will help you do this. 10% more.
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on February 13, 2018
I purchase most of my reading material based on the honest amazon reviews from John Q. Public. All the reviews from this book left out a key factor I wish I'd known. ... it's totally an AUTOBIOGRAPHY. It's not a "self-help" positive book to change your thinking, change your life. It's the career path story if Dan Harris written by Dan Harris. He outlines his entire career and then veers off to his skepticism of the 'self-help" industry. Eventually he summarizes bits of spitual and meditative knowledge but 80% if it is about him and his career.

It's a fine book of you'd like a peek into the world of network news, however, definitely not worth investing your time to read if you're seeking better insight on how meditation and positivity can improve your attitude. 》》》》》NOT A "SELF-HELP" BOOK as it is portrayed.
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on May 9, 2017
So funny!!! And SO GOOD! Demystifies meditation...and somehow makes you want to try it out.
I'm on my 9th day in a row. I use the app CALM. Super helpful. Sometimes I just sit quietly and breathe. It's pretty wild to start this being quiet and centered thing. Dan Harris makes it all so accessible. (and omg..so funny) Yes...read it!!
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on December 18, 2016
This was surprisingly good. It might do the most good for people who are complete sceptics about the virtues of meditation, calming the thinking mind, quenching the fires of tension in the body. I'm already a convert, and my path to becoming convinced was not unlike Dan Harris's. He did a good job writing about it. I thought he was a little hard on Eckhart Tolle, but even those sections were interesting. Good read. It kept my attention. I could have stood to hear a little less about Dan Harris' own driven "journalist" personality, but still. Recommended. Exceeded my expectations in every way
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on November 12, 2017
After abandoning my meditation practice for some time this was the perfect book to ignite my enthusiasm and determination to keep practicing. Dan provides a thoughtful introduction toward the topic of meditation and the Buddhist philosophies that ground the practice. I think most people would agree with Dan that we all have a voice in our head that is often fixated on the past and the future to the detriment of the here and now. Of course, this realization begs the question: what do you do about it then? Dan's own journey into finding the answers to that question is full of wit, humor and empirical research that any raging skeptic would appreciate. I think one of the great insights into this book is that your levels of happiness, resilience, and kindness are not just set from birth, but can be trained just like you train the body. Many of the lessons in Dan's memoir are profound yet are offered in a very digestible and often humorous manner that will lead you wanting to explore these topics more.
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on January 4, 2018
I learned about Dan Harris' book, "10% Happier" when he first introduced it on Weekend GMA. But I was hesitant to read it then. Dan mentioned it again, as well as the follow-up book, "Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics" this last weekend on GMA. In looking at the description of both titles on Amazon, the description of "10% Happier" really resonated with me. Maybe you have to be in a certain place in your life. Fittingly, I purchased and began reading/listening to "10% Happier" on Monday, January 1st. It's an excellent book and I learned so much....so much so that my New Year's resolution is to become more mindful this year. I have a lot more reading to do to further understand the concept of mindfulness (I intend to start with Dan's list of suggested readings). And I'm looking forward to learning more! Also, Dan Harris did a wonderful job narrating the book. I highly recommend "10% Happier"....if you're ready for it!
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on April 14, 2017
The author began with an intellectual interest in the intersection between religion and politics. Gradually he began to meditate. He describes some of the ideas he struggled with balancing Buddhist concepts and and his high pressure job. Although he would be the first to say that you don't have to be Buddhist to meditate. I appreciated his unsparing honesty and dedication to finding the truth.
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on September 18, 2017
As someone not so new to the process of meditation but new enough to know I need to learn more, this was a great book that really resonates with the humanity of meditation. This is not an exercise for the super spiritual and or biological elite or rich and famous-this is for everyone. Mr. Harris does a great job cataloging his journey into chunks large enough to explain detail of mindset and small enough to keep my attention from wondering off to what is on tv. His wry humor and rapier like wit bring this book down to boots on the ground level and made me feel like meditation, with all its benefits, and mysteries, is definitely worth pursuing.
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on December 10, 2017
This book isn't perfect-- somewhat whiney writer, not perfectly written, slow to get into (could lose readers with the first few chapters when it seems like we're going the Chopra route), and not all the chapters will appeal to everyone. However, it does have something most people need--namely, a way to quiet the brain, see the forest for the trees and stop sweating the small things. Pardon the overuse of cliches.
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on January 25, 2017
I have to say, I was a little skeptical when I purchased this book, but once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. We all struggle to overcome negative thoughts and feelings; many of which have no basis in reality, yet we still choose to listen to this voice in our head for no good reason. In "10% Happier" Mr. Harris gives an honest account of how he overcame many of the personal and professional challenges/obstacles he's faced in his career, all while giving readers practical ways of changing their outlook on life.
All in all, I found it to be a very encouraging, refreshing read about how meditation can truly change your life for the better. At the time of this review, it's been about a week since I put some of the methods outlined in this book into practice daily, and I feel that my perspective has begun to change for the better. If being 10% happier sounds good to you, I highly recommend reading this well-written, practical and encouraging book.
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