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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
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on June 24, 2016
 “In this book we will describe the new concept of psychological wealth, which extends beyond material riches and beyond popular concepts like emotional intelligence and social capital. Psychological wealth is your true total net worth, and includes your attitudes toward life, social support, spiritual development, material resources, health, and the activities in which you engage. In this book, we show how psychological wealth depends on happiness and life satisfaction, and the factors that lead to them. We will explain why monetary wealth is only one component of true wealth, and why other aspects are usually more important.”

“The former justice of the US Supreme Court Benjamin Cordozo expressed this well: “In the end the great truth will have been learned: that the quest is greater than what is sought, the effort finer than the prize (or, rather, that the effort *is* the prize), the victory cheap and hollow were it not for the rigor of the game.”

~ Ed Diener & Robert Biswas-Diener from Happiness

Ed Diener is the world’s leading researcher on the science of happiness and his son, Robert Biswas-Diener is know as the “Indiana Jones of psychology” because of his data collection adventures around the world. (Love that. :)

Together, they present a detailed and rigorous look at the science of happiness in their great book, Happiness.

Although the book is packed with practical wisdom and far from a textbook, it’s less warm and fuzzy than some of the other titles we cover as they explore the nuances of the sophisticated research into what makes us truly happy. If you enjoy the Note I think you’ll dig the book!

Let’s take a quick look at some of my favorite Big Ideas:

1. Psychological Wealth - Become a billionaire!
2. Giving Support - vs. Receiving support.
3. Affect Balance - How’s yours?
4. Loving & Caring Angels - We all need them!
5. Money - & It's subtle effects.

That’s a REALLY quick look at a great book *packed* with scientific wisdom on how we can live with more happiness and develop psychological wealth. Hope you enjoyed and here’s to becoming billionaires in what matters most! :)

More goodness— including PhilosophersNotes on 300+ books in our ​*OPTIMIZE*​ membership program. Find out more at brianjohnson . me.
5 people found this helpful
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"George Vaillant, in his decades-long study of Harvard graduates, found that happiness is having lots of people whom you love, and who love you in return." ~ pg. 58

Have you lost your happiness? Did you feel happy for months at a time and then feel completely depressed? I have always been a fairly happy person but I've also encountered debilitating depression. So I know the difference between the two extremes. I've also figured out what makes me unhappy and what makes me the happiest I've ever been. Being loved unconditionally is the happiest feeling for me.

I'm sure you have studied your life in a similar way. Perhaps when people are overly critical of you, you feel angry and that turns into depression. Or maybe like me this year, you remembered everyone on Feb 14 and no one sent you a card. I admit that I never really tried to remember "everyone" before so it was probably a surprise to most people when they got a card from me. Being forgotten can however be a little unnerving especially when the people I remembered do a good job of saying they love me at other times of the year.

But the real question is: "Will reading THIS book make you happy?" To be honest, there is a lot of analysis of pertinent data. There is however somewhat of a lack of practical suggestions that you might expect at the end of each chapter. Instead there is a summary of the points or at least a paragraph or two about conclusions reached after the analysis is presented. At the end of the book there is another section that summarizes the entire book.

Do you wish you felt less anger, sadness, guilt, fear, anxiety or jealousy? The authors of "Happiness" say that these feelings are normal even if you are a happy person. They claim they have a purpose. I personally feel that most people would rather be rid of them so they can feel the freedom of happiness. And yet, maybe we would all become bored if our life was too easy or happiness wasn't so elusive. The authors of this book claim that most people in the world are "mildly" happy. They also seriously caution against being hyper happy or euphoric. Apparently that has some dangers of its own that could cause you an earlier death.

If you think money can't bring you happiness then you may be surprised by some of the excellent research revealed in "Happiness." I had always thought that people in poor countries were actually happier but that has been disproved by the authors.

So should you buy yourself a pair of rose-colored glasses (as I did a few days ago) and think yourself into a state of happiness or is there some practical suggestion that will lead you to a much more pleasing life? Some of the ideas given in this book might help if you are willing to write down goals, improve intimate relationships, work on your spirituality and focus on wise choices.

Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener believe that real wealth is being happy so it is a very worthy goal. Together they have written a pleasantly creative work with a few moments of humor. They encourage the reader to try to feel love, compassion and gratitude. And if you still can't get happy they suggest you change your attitude slightly.

Well since happier people have stronger immune systems and depressed people are more likely to have a heart attack, this book may save your life. Of all the books I've recently read on happiness, I think I like this one the best.

~The Rebecca Review
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on July 15, 2012
Beginning in 1998, the study of positive psychology is a relatively new phenomenon in the annals of psychology. Ed Diener remains a leader in this field of study and specifically happiness, and his son Robert appears to be part of a happiness research succession plan! Ed and Robert explore the current happiness research, which at times contradicts earlier research in the field--which is why research is a constant pursuit. Their insights are powerful and instructive. For example, they posit their AIM theory (Attention-Interpretation-Memory), which provides a simple but powerful lesson in positivity and happiness augmentation. The authors present a simple recipe for happiness:

A life full of love--with others, friends and colleagues; with work, being engaged in what you love to do every day; and, with experiences, activities, and life in general.

Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener (Blackwell, 2008). Reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., July 2012 on Survival Leadership blog.
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on January 11, 2017
text book for my positive psy class. Very easy to read. fun little activities with in the chapters. Would recommend even not as a textbook
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on August 27, 2016
This book was a real disappointment. There is nothing in it that hasn't been said a hundred times before....or that can't be found in many online sources. Reading it was a waste of time.
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on February 23, 2009
(for anyone wondering where I'm coming from with this review, my Ph.D. is in marketing and psychology)

Usually I'm a bit skeptical of these sorts of books- even top notch researchers tend to "dumb down" the material for general audiences, and the research findings can get lost in the stories. Not here, however. Dr. Diener does an excellent job of describing the current state of psychological research on happiness, in a way that both laypeople and scientists can appreciate. Short on jargon, and interwoven with informative personal stories, the book makes for a great read. The one thing I disliked was the lack of references within the text; sometimes I had to guess what the cite referred to by scanning the references in the back of the book.

I won't get into all the specifics, as other reviewers have addressed the content of the book. However, it was really cool to see a balanced and nuanced treatment of controversial questions such as "does money buy happiness?", and how one can go about increasing his or her own happiness without buying into the latest fad. Of all the books I've looked at about "happiness", I'd strongly recommend this one both to laypeople interested in how they can improve their own happiness, as well as academic researchers looking for cool research ideas.
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on October 13, 2016
Authors credentials give much credence to the details. Very interesting perspectives on Happiness, where it comes from, what it is and why it's beneficial. Not as obvious as you may think.
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on August 27, 2011
The book is written in very accessible language yet deftly tackles an extremely complex issue. The authors do a great job of bring academic research to life and provide excellent guidelines about how to live a happier existence. I'm putting some of the concepts to work in my life and reaping wonderful benefits from very little effort. This book will very likely be my most valuable read in all of 2011. My thanks to the authors for truly great stuff!
2 people found this helpful
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on September 9, 2011
I would first like to provide a disclaimer: this was the first book that I picked up which had resonance of a "self-help" type of book. I'm not one that is fond of self-help material, but I decided to give this book a chance.

I managed to order this book in preparation for that class I was taking from Biswas-Diener. I figured it would have been positive insight into what I should expect from the class. After the first couple of chapters, I began to realize that this books focus is less on a "self-help" standard, but heavily on the scientific one. It produces information that is valuable and will definitely work if you apply it in your life.
I finished the book satisfied and ready to begin Roberts class. In the class I was able to learn more about the Psychology of Happiness, and I was also able to discover that Dr. Biswas-Diener is a very helpful and intelligent individual. He has had many experiences and a lot of his discoveries have stemmed from his passion for the research of happiness.

If you don't like self-help books and feel this one may be, it's not, give it a chance.
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on December 13, 2016
Great, well written book. Got it for a class, but ended up enjoying it so much that I read the entire thing.
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