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Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life Paperback – Bargain Price, December 7, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Book Description

Dead cats. That's the image many people conjure up when you mention curiosity. An image perpetuated by a dusty old proverb that has long represented the extent of our understanding of the term. This book might not put the proverb to rest, but it will flip it upside down: far from killing anything, curiosity breathes new life into almost everything it touches.

In Curious? Dr. Todd Kashdan offers a profound new message missing from so many books on happiness: the greatest opportunities for joy, purpose, and personal growth don't, in fact, happen when we're searching for happiness. They happen when we are mindful, when we explore what's novel, and when we live in the moment and embrace uncertainty. Positive events last longer and we can extract more pleasure and meaning from them when we are open to new experiences and relish the unknown.

Dr. Kashdan uses science, story, and practical exercises to show you how to become what he calls a curious explorer—a person who's comfortable with risk and challenge and who functions optimally in an unstable, unpredictable world. Here's a blueprint for building lasting, meaningful relationships, improving health, increasing creativity, and boosting productivity. Aren't you curious to know more?

How Curious? Will Help You: An Essay by Todd Kashdan

Without question, happiness is important. Who doesn't want to be happy and wish the same for their loved ones? But this book is not limited to happiness. This is a book about living a life that matters with a broader view about what the "good life" entails. Much of what we desire often has nothing to do with happiness but is just as important. This includes meaning and purpose in life, wisdom, satisfying relationships, the ability to tolerate distress, spirituality, creativity, compassion, feeling a sense of competence and mastery, and so on. Sometimes trying to be happy actually gets in the way of making inroads toward these other elements. Effectively handling the pain and stress that life brings is an essential part of creating a rich, meaningful existence.

When you adopt this broad view of what matters, an important question remains that this entire book hinges on. What is essential to creating a fulfilling life? The answer is…
  • Being curious.
  • Being open to new experiences.
  • Being able to effectively manage ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • Being able to adapt to the demands required of different situations (what I call “psychological flexibility”).
  • Discovering our strengths, deepest values, and what it is we are passionate about.
  • Strengthening connections to these values and passionate pursuits so that we can pursue a life aligned with them.

This book provides a closer look at curiosity; a neglected and underappreciated strength in our arsenal. People regularly ignore curiosity because it appears, on the surface, to be a very obvious, simple, impotent emotion--something unusual appears or someone captivates us by a story, we feel curious, and direct our attention to explore further. But while this emotion seemed simplistic even to me, as I began my research, I soon discovered that curiosity is a deeper, more complex phenomenon that plays a critical role in what makes people’s lives most worth living. Curiosity is the spark plug that ignites other factors that contribute to happiness and meaning in life. You can't work with strengths until you spot them and investigate them. You can't be grateful without being curious about what benefits you received in your life.

Besides a better understanding of curiosity, readers will be introduced to strategies for becoming a more curious explorer. By reclaiming curiosity and learning how to wield it, readers will be able to demonstrably alter the quality of their lives. A good portion of this book focuses on how to find, create, and sustain fulfilling moments and a fulfilling life.

How Curious? Will Help You [PDF] --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Curiosity is what makes for great leaders, great parents, and great friends. Buttressed by the latest scientific research, Curious? is one of those rare books that can make you rethink how you see the world.” (—Arianna Huffington )

“Todd Kashdan gives us the tools, language, and plan to put a life change into effect. And the journey can be as happy as the destination.” (—Marci Shimoff, author of Happy for No Reason )

“Curious? will wake you up to the rewards, adventures, and meaning inherent in both life’s most momentous and most quotidian moments.” (—Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want )

“Combining well-designed self-help with state-of-the-art positive psychology and profoundly inspiring stories, this is the perfect book to read when you are having second thoughts about challenging yourself to explore that next step in life!” (—Stephen Post, Ph.D., and coauthor of Why Good Things Happen to Good People )

“A vivid and pragmatic account of the mental alchemy through which curiosity and interest transform stress, fear, and pain into vital elements conducive to more purposeful living.” (—Zindel V. Segal, Ph.D., author of The Mindful Way Through Depression )

“Curious? points the way to an exploring spirit that leads to wonderment, joy, and meaning. It’s one of those rare books that is both research-based and practical.” (—David G. Myers, author, The Pursuit of Happiness )

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061661198
  • ASIN: B005DI9XJI
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,475,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. M. Guest on August 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is one of what seems to be an exploding genre, I would guess based largely on the success of Daniel Gilbert's "Stumbling on Happiness," where academic psychologists doing work related to positive psychology take their basic area of research and try to translate it for a mass audience. Others include "The Happiness Hypothesis" by Haidt, "Positivity" by Fredrickson, "Happiness" by the Dieners, "The How of Happiness" by Lyubomirsky, etc.. A cynic would say they are cashing in (as Colbert might say--let the market decide), but being more generous one might say they are simply trying to make psychological science accessible. Either way, you can't really blame them. Most of these folks do good research and such work should have accessible outlets. Todd Kashdan, the author of "Curious" is not at this point among the top academic psychologists in these areas (as are, say, Fredrickson or Haidt or Diener--Kashdan after all is very productive but also still pretty young) but he has done some useful research, he has some interesting stories, and his style probably appeals to a more youthful market niche.

The fundamental insight of this book, that simply reframing life events by using the lens of curiosity can help a person thrive, is useful. It made me think some about how I might reframe the way I approach situations that cause me anxiety--being in unfamiliar and crowded places, for example--by drawing on my abundant curiosity . What, I'm trying to ask myself, is interesting to observe in this unfamiliar and crowded place. Beyond the basic insight, however, this particular book does not add a lot to the positive psychology genre. The chapter on relationships, for example, is fine--lots of research shows that good relationships matter a lot for well-being.
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Format: Hardcover
Like many people, I have kept tabs on the tremendous explosion of books describing or promising happiness. I tend to read them for the science, and occasionally think some strategy or tidbit of advice is worth trying out. Unfortunately, it has gotten harder and harder to find a book that offers anything new, gives me an expanded perspective, or excites me to do something more in my life.

This energetically-written book does all of those things. It's an exciting trip through a way of looking at life that embraces challenge, uncertainty, and unfamiliar territory and gives readers some great tools - and a lot of enthusiasm - for transforming anxious and ambivalent moments into a force for growth and fulfillment. The science is top-notch and cutting-edge, and flows satisfyingly into strategies and exercises for unleashing the curious explorer that lurks within us. Unlike many books, Curious? doesn't simply argue that more is always better. Curiosity can lead to troubling places and create distress, too. The book takes a frank look at this side of curiosity.

Personally, I especially appreciated Dr. Kashdan's call to make the mundane mysterious. Too often, we get complacent and allow the most important things in our lives (people, jobs, values, our capacity to think deeply about the world) to settle in place like concrete. This book is a great wake-up call.

Curious? stimulates readers to reveal for themselves the opportunities and magic that lie all around.
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Format: Hardcover
The world of positive psychology officially has too many books about happiness. Those are good books---I won't single them out by name here---but now that we are all sitting around in a state of flourished, self-satisfied contentment, what do we do now?

In Curious, Todd Kashdan digs deeper, suggesting that a sense of curiosity, wonder, and meaning is the core of a "fulfilling life." This book is an intriguing mix of narrative, science, and practical advice. Kashdan illustrates how the science of curiosity can be put to use in daily life and how curiosity affects things as diverse as intimacy, purpose, mindfulness, relationship quality, intelligence, and, yes, even happiness. Importantly, he is candid and realistic about the dark aspects of curiosity, such as morbid interests, gossip, and obsessions.

There's a lot to say about this book---it covers an incredible amount of ground---but I suppose what it all comes down to is that I got a lot of out it. It's a provocative and illuminating book.
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Format: Hardcover
For years I have contended that there was something missing which played an integral role in the development of happiness. Many books have been published with ultra focus on positive affect and "rolling with the punches", but they are incomplete without the consideration of curiosity. This book delves into a key feature of the psyche that has been overlooked for far too long. Kashdan contends that curiosity can be developed and cultivated to predisposition you for happiness in your day to day life - this is exciting news. All too often we find ourselves in jobs we don't like, social functions we abhor and blame each for our discontent. We have learned to buy many things in attempt to discover our happiness when learning to seek the novelty in day to day interactions may prove to be the keystone to development of happiness. Kashdan sets us on the path to learning, defining and developing our own curiosity. He provides the toolkit for the reader to become a curious explorer which his ground breaking book claims will allow the reader to enhance our day to day happiness.

Kashdan's writing style in Curious? is scholarly, eloquent and attainable. Throughout the book Kashdan illustrates his research using clear analogies which draw his concepts within reach of a broad spectrum of audiences.

Instead of oversimplifying Curious? Kashdan constructs his framework through a meta-analysis of his own and other prominent scholars' research results. It is apparent that Curious? is a result of Kashdan's collaborations, life experiences and observations through clinical counseling; the book does not rests on one man's narrow ideas.
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