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10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story Paperback – December 30, 2014
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Harris had the ambition and drive to rise to ABC News television anchor. He’d felt the “journalistic heroin” of reporting from war zones, anchored national broadcasts, and even recovered from cocaine addiction. But he also had a voice in his head, the same voice most of us wrestle with, constantly second-guessing him. If he could only quiet that voice, he’d be happier and less stressed. Harris was already covering the religion beat when he veered off on a personal journey to find answers beyond the self-help gurus. Along the way, he talked to Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, a host of Jewish Buddhists, and even the Dalai Lama before reluctantly trying meditation. Approaching it with all the skepticism of a reporter, Harris checked out the neurological research and learned that meditation was being used in the corporate and military arenas to heighten focus and clarity. After going on a meditation retreat, he ultimately found the balance he sought between ambition and inner peace. In this brave, completely engaging, and often hilarious book, Harris achieves his aim of demystifying meditation. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Startling, provocative, and often very funny . . . [10% HAPPIER] will convince even the most skeptical reader of meditation’s potential. (Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project)
10% HAPPIER is hands down the best book on meditation for the uninitiated, the skeptical, or the merely curious. . . . an insightful, engaging, and hilarious tour of the mind’s darker corners and what we can do to find a bit of peace. (Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Focus)
The science supporting the health benefits of meditation continues to grow as does the number of Americans who count themselves as practitioners but, it took reading 10% HAPPIER to make me actually want to give it a try. (Richard E. Besser, M.D., Chief Health and Medical Editor, ABC News)
An enormously smart, clear-eyed, brave-hearted, and quite personal look at the benefits of meditation that offers new insights as to how this ancient practice can help modern lives while avoiding the pitfall of cliché. This is a book that will help people, simply put. (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love)
This brilliant, humble, funny story shows how one man found a way to navigate the non-stop stresses and demands of modern life and back to humanity by finally learning to sit around doing nothing. (Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man)
In 10% Happier, Dan Harris describes in fascinating detail the stresses of working as a news correspondent and the relief he has found through the practice of meditation. This is an extremely brave, funny, and insightful book. Every ambitious person should read it. (Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith)
A compellingly honest, delightfully interesting, and at times heart-warming story of one highly intelligent man’s life-changing journey towards a deeper understanding of what makes us our very best selves. As Dan’s meditation practice deepens, I look forward to him being at least 11% happier, or more. (Chade-Meng Tan, author of Search Inside Yourself)
10% Happier is a spiritual adventure from a master storyteller. Mindfulness can make you happier. Read this to find out how. (George Stephanopoulos)
Part-science, part-memoir, and part self-help, Harris outlines specific ways he learned to, well, chill the f#%k out. (GQ)
A self-help guide even skeptics will embrace . . . Harris crushes stereotypes about meditation and recounts how it slashed his stress and quieted his anxious mind. (Parade)
Revealing . . . I’d recommend this to anyone. (USA Today, Pop Candy)
Harris never loses his sense of humor as he affably spotlights one man’s quest for internal serenity while concurrently navigating the slings and arrows of a hard-won career in the contemporary media spotlight. Friendly, practical advocacy for the power of mindfulness and enlightenment. (Kirkus)
Harris’s journey of discovery brought back lessons for all of us about our lives, too. (Diane Sawyer)
Lively . . . part reporting, part personal experience . . . By letting us hear the voice in his head - before and after he starts meditating—Harris makes a convincing case that if he can do it, we can, too. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Nightline co-anchor Dan Harris is an unlikely ambassador for mindfulness, but his new book . . . might be just the thing that gets people to unplug and recognize that all this multitasking is making us miserable and unhealthy. (xoJane)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
I've tried, off and on for years, to learn to meditaye--without much success. I've never been able to get into the practice, or to stick with it. This is probably why I able to relate to Mr. Harris' realistic and enlightening account. My "ah-ha" moment from the book happened when Mr. Harris talked about the concept "behind the waterfall". I don't know why but that particular description jumped out at me. All of a sudden it made sense. There was "peace" behind the waterfall. The ongoing narrative in my head ceased behind the waterfall. There was empty space, absolute peace and stillness on the other side of the waterfall, which is the constant dialogue in my head. I was finally able to experience it for myself. Of course, I was hooked. Now I look forward to exploring my newfound ability more often. I've been meditating regularly since reading the book. I'm only meditating 15 to 20 minutes a day, but I'm working toward 30 minutes. The surprising thing is that there seems to have been a "shift" of some kind. I can't explain it. But thanks anyhow.
Harris' use of language can be a bit "salty" at times, but he doesn't do that often, and only as part of his effort to be as down-to-earth and real as he can be about his own skeptical journey.
At the conclusion, Harris makes no startling claims for meditation, just that he's 10% happier, which he considers a solid return on his investment, as most financial advisers might say. But he has come to appreciate the merits of meditation so much that he wants to continue increasing his "rate of return" as much as possible.
This is Harris' way of saying that he still questions the idea about becoming "enlightened" which is an elusive concept for him, as it is for me! But he wants to continue practicing meditation since he now knows first-hand what the benefits can be in very practical, moment-to-moment terms.
This is the best book out there right now to help profoundly skeptical people begin their own reluctant exploration of meditation. But understandably, a skeptic still has to have just enough willingness and curiosity to open the book and peek inside!