- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; Anniversary edition (October 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594488894
- ISBN-13: 978-1594488894
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 789 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living Hardcover – October 1, 2009
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About the Author
Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. His tireless efforts on behalf of human rights and world peace have brought him international recognition. He is a recipient of the Wallenberg Award (conferred by the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Foundation), the Albert Schweitzer Award, and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal, and the Nobel Peace Prize.
Howard C. Cutler, M.D., is a psychiatrist, best-selling author, and speaker. A leading expert on the science of human happiness, Dr. Cutler is coauthor, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, of the acclaimed Art of Happiness series of books, international bestsellers that have been translated into fifty languages. The groundbreaking first volume, The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for ninety-seven weeks. Dr. Cutler lives in Phoenix.
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The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living was co-authored by psychiatrist Howard Cutler, who posed questions to the Dalai Lama over the series of many interviews. Cutler provides the setting and context for their meetings and also incorporates his own reflections on the issues raised in their discussions. In addition, transcriptions from several of the Dalai Lama's teachings are scattered throughout the book. It was first published in 1998, and I read the ten-year anniversary edition that was published in 2008 which includes a new preface and introduction.
The book delves into the concept of using various techniques to train the mind in order to achieve true happiness. In the preface, His Holiness the Dalai Lama states, "If you want others to be happy practice compassion; and if you want yourself to be happy practice compassion." This focus on developing compassion is consistent throughout the book and is a main focus in many of the answers that the Dalai Lama gives to Cutler's questions. It seems that this is a sort of prerequisite for cultivating happiness, a foundation upon which all of the other advice is based upon.
Another point that is made time and time again is that happiness comes down to one's state of mind more than by external events. There are a plethora of examples provided in the book, such as how lottery winners do not sustain their initial delight over a longterm period and instead return to the level of moment-to-moment happiness they were accustomed to prior to winning the lottery. Or how studies have shown that people who are struck by tragic events like cancer and blindness typically recover to their normal level of happiness after a reasonable adjustment period. Psychologists label this process "adaptation", which simply refers to the tendency of one's overall level of happiness to migrate back to a certain baseline.
From a Buddhist perspective, the root causes of all suffering are ignorance, craving, and hatred. The book fleshes out this idea and suggests methods for one to overcome them. For example, the Dalai Lama advises, "We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them. We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance."
Overall, I was very impressed by this book. When I first started reading it I wished that the Dalai Lama had been the sole author, however I eventually grew to appreciate Cutler's additions. That's mainly because I did not realize that the book was co-authored until after I started reading it, so I had unknowingly and unintentionally set an improper expectation for myself. However, by the end of the book I had overlooked the co-authoring aspect entirely and focused more on the book's content, which is excellent. I would advise this book to anyone who is interested in the Dalai Lama, Buddhism, mindfulness, or becoming truly happy.