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How We Choose to Be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People--Their Secrets, Their Stories Paperback – February 1, 2000
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From Library Journal
Foster and Hicks conduct workshops internationally in the development of interpersonal skills. For this book, they interviewed happy people from all walks of life, from the United States to Eastern Europe. The resulting personal stories, writing exercises, and quotes together inform and instruct the reader in the nine principles discovered by the authors in their travels. Foster and Hicks use their nine choices to teach leadership development in the corporate world and also as a diagnostic tool for medical doctors. These choices include the active intention to be happy, accountability, identifying needs and desires, and centralizing goals by creating a dream list. These are followed by recasting (looking at experiences in positive ways), exploring options, appreciating every day, the art of giving, and, finally, exploring truthfulness. Similar to Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance (Warner, 1995) and the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, this is recommended for public libraries and consumer health collections.?Lisa S. Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"How do I help my patients learn to be happy? I prescribe this book." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Now, this may all sound very coincidental, but it was EERY. I'm still wondering how widespread this phenomenon is. I went back and read the book to understand what it could have mentioned that could have pushed people that were unhappy to take a leap and do things that were, although meant to make their own lives better, basically screwing over people that were relying upon them. You could argue that maybe these were bad marriages/jobs anyway, but there is something about timing changing things so that they cause as little pain as possible to others that doesn't really factor in.
I think if you look at it objectively, there are flaws. First, if someone is unhappy and looking for an excuse to abandon their current circumstances, it does provide some rationale for it. The storyline that continues throughout the book is one that begins with a woman suddenly divorcing her husband and leaving her job. Although she has a lot of bad experiences on the road to finding happiness, one way of looking at the story is that she can overcome whatever comes of the problems that come into her life because of her decisions. Second, someone who decides to jump responsibility based on "finding happiness" just has to take a minor step of making sure they don't wind up in as devastating circumstances as the woman depicted in the story and they will be fine sooner. But it does leave the possibility that there are other people who are casualties of her decisions. I realize that later in the book they discuss taking care of other people too, but the people I've heard about kind of pick and choose whose lives they care about. They start convincing themselves that the people they left are better off by their harsh treatment and the people they had affairs with or whatever are better off with them taking care of them...in other words, totally perverted, self-serving reasoning.
I think it's worth pointing out that the "study" that took place is not really a scientific one, nor are the authors trained professionally in studying human emotions. The study was basically a personal quest these two souls took to figure out for themselves what makes one a stand-out happy person. A hole in their study is that they find out what these happy people did to become happier, but they don't really question how the families or partners of these people feel about them. Maybe there are just some people out there that can become happier by doing things for themselves, by only being accountable to people they want to be accountable to (i.e., not the people that aren't aligned with their goals), and by basically ignoring any other people's suffering?
Anyway, creepy stuff surrounds this book. If someone is really unhappy about work and relationships, go see a therapist too, and read some other books, maybe even take up a spiritual practice so you get a good dose of compassion and perspective along with this quest for your own personal happiness.
First, it is VERY poorly written. I got the feeling that the only reason they interviewed the people in these various places, was to write their travel expenses off as a business expense for writing this trivial book.
Terminal, painful illness? Well, you can CHOOSE to suffer or you can choose to be HAPPY about the things you have left. High paying job leaving you stressed and unhappy? Quit, go do the thing you love, like finger painting, you'll find a way to make a living at it somehow. Great that will really help pay the mortgage, put food on the table and pay for your families health care needs.
These two clowns, I mean "writers" ought to be ashamed of themselves for writing this piece of tripe and peddling it off on unsuspecting folks.
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Now I have all the tool I need to change my way of living