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The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work Hardcover – September 14, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 898 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Achor transports us to his virtual classroom, a journey along which we glean the seven secrets of happiness. The Happiness Advantage reveals the most important discoveries coming out of modern psychology.”
-Rom Brafman, bestselling co-author of Sway and Click


"Shawn Achor is funny, self-deprecating, and devastating to my notions of what his field is all about…. I'm butter to his knife."
-The Boston Globe           


" Achor bases his training on a burgeoning body of research on the positive psychology movement, which emphasizes instilling resiliency and positive attitudes…."
-Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Shawn Achor, a member of Oprah's SuperSoul 100, is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard. Shawn has become one of the world's leading expert on the connection between happiness and success. His research on happiness made the cover of Harvard Business Review, his TED talk is one of the most popular all time with over 4 million views, and his lecture airing on PBS has been seen by millions. Shawn teaches for the Advanced Management Program at Wharton Business School, and collaborates on research with Yale and Columbia University.
 
In 2007, Shawn founded Good Think to share his research with the world. Subsequently, Shawn has lectured or researched in 51 countries, speaking to CEOs in China, school children in South Africa, doctors in Dubai, and farmers in Zimbabwe. He has spoken to the Royal Family in Abu Dhabi, doctors at St. Jude Children's Hospital, and worked with the U.S. Department of Health to promote happiness. In 2012, Shawn helped lead the Everyday Matters campaign with the National MS Society and Genzyme to show how happiness remains a choice for those struggling with a chronic illness. 

Shawn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. For seven years, Shawn also served as an Officer of Harvard, living in Harvard Yard and counseling students through the stresses of their first year. Though he now travels extensively for his work, Shawn continues to conduct original psychology research on happiness and organizational achievement in collaboration with Yale University and the Institute for Applied Positive Research.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307591549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307591548
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (898 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a lot of business books. Most of them are filled with helpful information. Frankly, most of them are also a little on the dry. "The Happiness Advantage" is different. It is filled with fascinating research and great ideas, and it is also a hoot to read. I found myself laughing out loud as I read the book.

Shawn Achor explains the latest research he and his colleagues in the field of positive psychology have conducted. The results are fascinating:

1) Our brains work better when they are "happy."

2) There are concrete things we can do to make our brains "happier."

3) We can also overcome our inclination to procrastinate and put off these exercises. (I found this section to be particularly interesting since I am a procrastinator).

4) When our brains are at "happy" that positivity will ripple out to others and can raise the productivity.

Give this book a look. The research shows that we (and our colleagues at work) can be more productive. And, if we are "happier" our boss will also perceive us as more positive, trustworthy, sincere and successful. Wow! And who wouldn't want to be happier at work - and at home?
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Format: Hardcover
When I was invited to review this book, I must admit I was afraid it would be the standard "happiness" pitch. To my surprise and relief, this book turned out to be truly exceptional, beginning with the author's own story.

To be sure, much of the info in this book will be standard fare for anyone who's familiar with the life coaching industry. However, it's packaged in a way that appeals even to left-brained skeptics like me. The author cites research studies to back up each point. Some of the suggestions were totally new to me, and I thought I was deeply familiar with the field.

Just a few highlights that I enjoyed:

p.55 - Work with a signature strength. This recommendation makes lots of sense to me. The book includes a link to a long online survey; I took the survey and found it surprisingly accurate. I'm a little baffled by the authors suggestion to "use it in a new way each day for a week."

p. 67: I loved the discussion of Ellen Langer's research with "senior" men. Langer asked them to imagine themselves as they'd been 20 years earlier. They improved on physical as well as mental measures.

pp 72-73 - Great discussion of leisure. I really resonated to the notion that we tend to think any non-work activity is worthless. This belief becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

p. 121 - A startling experiment asks people to estimate how "fortunate" they would be if they were wounded in a bank robbery. Great comment about interpretations of Wall Streeters!

p. 139 - Solving small problems can lead to big wins.

p. 163: Add 20 seconds to your day and gain several hours.

Highly recommended. I'm glad I got this book to keep instead of borrowing from the library. I want to read it a few more times.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot of "happiness" books and frankly when I chose this book I was a little pessimistic about learning anything new. I couldn't have been more wrong. This book, while building on a lot of prior research, is full of new insights and presentation that is refreshingly insightful and helpful. I learned a lot and it was a compelling and convincing read. There is a wealth of useful and practical takeaways from the material. The author works in the real world and doesn't just write from a position in academia and thus has a lot more practical real-world experience than you often find in these types of books mostly written by psychology professors. I consider this one of the best I've read and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
I saw Shawn Anchor's presentation on PBS where he explained a simple 5 minute technique called 'The 3 Gratitudes'.

I was brought up in a culture of pessimism and had 50 years of experience that was so deeply entrenched that I decided that I would be the perfect candidate for experimentation with such a simple exercise.

I've never had much luck trying to change my 'default mode' of negative self-concept (no matter how much therapy I've had or how many self-help books I've read) so I was really on a mission to prove this man and his ideas wrong! I listened to the whole book on tape to make sure I was doing it as explained in the television presentation and this is what I did:

It takes exactly 21 days to create a new neural pathway so you have to do the exercise everyday for 3 weeks. If you skip or forget to do it, you just keep going until you've done the exercise 21 times. If you find you're missing a lot it's just your old self trying to maintain the status quo. Tell yourself that it's less than 5 minutes a day and that you're out to prove the experiment wrong! (if you really find that you're resistant).

You want to find the part of your routine in the morning where you have a moment (well, 5 minutes) (when you're having a cup of tea or coffee for instance). Keep a notebook in that spot (at your desk or kitchen table). You must write out the experiment.

1). THE THREE GRATITUDES: Write down 3 things you are grateful for (no matter how simple or small). At first I could only write about the cup of tea I was drinking! It can be any three things big or small...As you get into this you'll get more creative and become strangely exuberant about what you feel grateful for.

2).
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