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The Happiest Life: Seven Gifts, Seven Givers, and the Secret to Genuine Success Hardcover – January 7, 2014
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About the Author
Hugh Hewitt hosts a nationally syndicated radio program heard daily in more than one hundred cities. Hewitt is a professor of law at Chapman University and a partner in the law firm Hewitt Wolensky McNulty & Hickson LLP. He is the author of more than a dozen books and is a columnist for theWashington Examiner and Townhall.com and blogs daily at HughHewitt.com. Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School.
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Top Customer Reviews
Hewitt's The Happiest Life is a reminder of what is most important. Not money. Not achievement. It is, rather, what we give away.
Hewitt focuses on seven gifts, not "shoes and purses, iPads and basketball tickets," but gifts that are enduring--gifts that are also available to anyone. "Everyone is eligible to be a giver of these gifts. Everyone. You don't need wealth. You don't have to be twenty-one. You don't even have to be literate."
Hewitt spends a chapter each on seven gifts, telling stories to illustrate the impact that each can have. I found myself continuously highlighting or writing quotes on sticky notes: "For as long as you draw breath, you can encourage the people in your life," or, regarding empathy, "The gift of quiet, advice-free companionship in the midst of suffering is a gift of the highest order."
Besides the seven gifts, we read about the seven givers (spouses, parents, teachers, coworkers...). These are relationships in which we have the best opportunity to be givers.
Hewitt then moves on to the Greatest Giver--God. A right relationship with, or understanding of God will move people to love and serve others: "Today's Christianity, the right and proper understanding of the gospel of peace, is no threat to anyone. Its most certain practitioners are spread out across the world doing good...regardless of the faiths of those who receive that good." Hewitt says the same of those of many other faiths as well.
I didn't plan to read the Happiest Life in one day; my attention span doesn't allow that. But I did. The book itself is a gift of the type that Hewitt encourages us to give. And the writing is relaxed and enjoyable. While it is serious, it is also fun. I laughed out loud at one point, which I rarely do.
Hewitt strays down many paths, and often strays off the path. You almost forget where you are going before he comes back, but he does, and makes his point. Perhaps his attention span is like mine, which is understandable, but I've forgotten what we were talking about... If not for this, I would give the book a near perfect review.
I'm convinced that this book has to do with the most important topics in life. It is, after all, based upon those commandments that Jesus said were the greatest--Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.
"It is all about the giving: that which you have received from God and that which you give in His name. And if you have forgotten that, recall it. If you have failed, start again. If you are happy, be thankful. And if you aren't, you can be."
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The first part of the book focuses on the “Seven Gifts” that you can give to promote happiness in your life and the lives of others – Encouragement, Energy, Enthusiasm, Good Humor, Graciousness, Gratitude, and Patience. These chapters are so woefully short and educationally void that I quipped a couple of times while reading out loud to my husband, “If he finishes the seven gifts so quickly, what is the other half of the book going to be about??” I mean, the information was trivial and common sense mixed with a lot of name dropping that was rather off-putting. What else could he go on about for another 100+ pages that hadn’t already briefly been covered?
Now it was in the second part of the book that my 3 star “meh” rating plummeted to a “this book sucks” 2 star rating. In the second half of the book, Hewitt discusses the “Seven Givers”, which could more accurately be described as the, “Seven Types of Famous and Important People Hugh Hewitt Has Rubbed Elbows With”. While Hewitt doesn’t come across as haughty or arrogant, the entire second half of the book seemed far more self-serving and self-absorbed than helpful or useful to the reader.
Don’t get me wrong, while I have never listened in on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, from what I could tell, he seems like a pretty awesome guy. Even with his “me-centered” book, I’m pretty sure I’d like Hugh Hewitt. But I was extremely disappointed with this book.
The actual advice to the “people I know and have interviewed” ratio was pretty frikkin’ off kilter. Roughly two thirds of the book reads like a giant, rambling, eyes-glazing-over Acknowledgments chapter. What’s sad is that I am not exaggerating in the least. It’s just packed full with a ton of name dropping and autobiographical reminiscing about people and places and events that are only interesting if you are overly familiar with – or absolutely idolize the author. But even if you find Hugh Hewitt’s personal life fascinating, there’s still no real substance to this book, it is all fluff and filler.
I am inclined to agree with another Amazon.com reviewer who stated, “It should be titled: “The Happy, Happy Life of the Highly Successful Hugh Hewitt”. I found very little content or “food for thought”.”
To summarize, I can’t say that I garnered anything useful from this book, which was really just a giant name dropping fest and retirement party shout out to Hugh Hewitt’s friends, family and coworkers. Unless I knew someone who has a binder with “Heart Hugh Hewitt” scribbled all over it, I don’t think I could recommend this book to others.
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]