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Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment Hardcover – May 31, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Though everyone wants to be happier, how many of us can actually define what that means? In his class, "Positive Psychology," one of the most popular courses at Harvard University, Ben-Shahar teaches that happiness isn't as elusive a concept as people think, and can actually be learned; he commits the fundamentals of his course to paper in this primer on getting happy, which he defines as a combination of pleasure (short-term happiness) and meaning (long-term). Divided into three parts, "What is Happiness?", "Happiness Applied" and "Meditations on Happiness," Ben-Shahar provides insight and exercises, prodding reflection in readers ("Do you accept negative emotions as natural?" "Do you see your work as a job, a career, or a calling?") while explicating the relationships among happiness, motivation and goals. Though it sounds simple, Ben-Shahar insists on keen self-awareness and purposeful action to overcome entrenched patterns of despondency and/or disbelief. For answer-seekers, this is definitely a good start.
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From the Back Cover
Can You Learn to Be Happy?
YES . . . according to the teacher of Harvard University’s most popular and life-changing course. One out of every five Harvard students has lined up to hear Tal Ben-Shahar’s insightful and inspiring lectures on that ever-elusive state: HAPPINESS.
Grounded in the revolutionary “positive psychology” movement, Ben-Shahar ingeniously combines scientific studies, scholarly research, self-help advice, and spiritual enlightenment. He weaves them together into a set of principles that you can apply to your daily life. Once you open your heart and mind to Happier ’s thoughts, you will feel more fulfilled, more connected . . . and, yes, HAPPIER.
“Dr. Ben-Shahar, one of the most popular teachers in Harvard’s recent history, has written a personal, informed, and highly enjoyable primer on how to become happier. It would be wise to take his advice.”
--Ellen J. Langer, author of Mindfulness and On Becoming an Artist
“This fine book shimmers with a rare brand of good sense that is imbedded in scientific knowledge about how to increase happiness. It is easy to see how this is the backbone of the most popular course at Harvard today."
--Martin E. P. Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness
If you're a “rat racer,” who lives in the hope of being happy in the future, and yet is unable to enjoy the here-and-now . . .
If you're a “hedonist,” who finds some pleasure in the good things in life--good wine, good food, good company--and yet is unable to enjoy lasting fulfillment . . .
If you're a “nihilist,” who’s completely given up on finding happiness . . .you can learn to be happier!
Thousands of Harvard University students have discovered that you can become happier. They learned the secret to lasting fulfillment from acclaimed teacher Tal Ben-Shahar’s class on positive psychology--a branch of psychology that combines the latest scientific research with good old common sense. Now you can join his class and learn how positive psychology can make you happier right now--no lottery windfall, job promotion, or new love required.
Think of Happier as your own personal workbook. As you read each chapter’s illuminating discussion on happiness and incorporate its simple exercises into your daily routine, you will see every aspect of your life with new eyes and a new sense of purpose.
When you learn how to live for today and for tomorrow at the same time, you learn how to balance your immediate personal needs with long-term goals and enjoy life as you never have before.
Top customer reviews
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“I define happiness as ‘the overall experience of pleasure and meaning.’ A happy person enjoys positive emotions while perceiving her life as purposeful. The definition does not pertain to a single moment but to a generalized aggregate of one’s experiences: a person can endure emotional pain at times and still be happy overall.”
~ Tal Ben-Shahar from Happier
Tal Ben-Shahar is brilliant. And so is this book. His Positive Psychology class at Harvard was the most popular class on campus and, after reading his book, I can see why.
The book is really well written and PACKED with a great overview of why happiness matters along with scientifically supported Big Ideas and exercises to help us rock our greatest lives. Truly amazing.
Here are some of my favorite Big Ideas:
1. The Four Archetypes - Rat racers, hedonists, nihilists and happy peeps.
2. The Ultimate Currency - Is happiness.
3. Happiness Rituals - Start 'em up!
4. Negative Rituals - What will yours be?
5. Expressing Gratitude - Is a very good thing.
And is now a good time to start following your inner sage?
More goodness— including PhilosophersNotes on 300+ books in our *OPTIMIZE* membership program. Find out more at brianjohnson . me.
The guidelines work for anyone. As long as you can read and understand English, there is something meaningful for you in this book. No one is too worthy or unworthy to lead a happy life. So, enjoy the read and put it into practice and see the magic unfolds.
Ben-Shahar's uses his own life experiences, hypothetical cases, and metaphors to concretize the theory. I particularly liked his quadrant of the rat-race, hedonism, nihilism, and happiness. This captures more of the nuance of what kind of life (or rather one's perspective on life) is more likely to lead to happiness.
Ben-Shahar's advice is practical and doesn't rely on quick fixes or some formula. It's intellectual work. It's about thinking about one's values and the hierarchy of those values: find out what is important and how to balance these in your life. It is also about finding the balance between past, present, and future. Living in the past or living for the future is not a recipe for happiness. One needs to be present, but can't forget their past or their future either. None of this is easy to do: but the pay off of a happy, fulfilling life is worth the work.
easy to read
just apply them
like good health, fitness, happiness takes work
Work at being happy. It's about being in the moment
past is gone and can mean regrets, the future is later and can mean anxiety, now is now to be engaged
It really helped me to see that happiness is not a destination, but it is experienced in the day to day.
I think this book will definitely help you become “Happier”.
The most significant observation in the book is that happiness is the ultimate currency. It's so basic, and so true. All this stuff that we do in life is for the purpose of gaining happiness. When I realized that status, possessions, relationships and accomplishments have no intrinsic value, I began to rethink my approach to life. The funny thing is, I do just about the same things today that I did back then. The difference is my experience of them. For me, it was matter of changing the way I motivated myself. For you it will probably be something else.
I don't know if this self-help book is better than any other, but it was very valuable to me. If you are in need, read it and do the exercises. The results will not be instant, but hopefully it will start or continue something good in your life.
Best of luck, everyone.