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The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want Paperback – December 30, 2008
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"Finally we have a self-help book from a reputable scientist whose advice is based on the best experimental data... The How of Happiness is smart, fun, and interesting - and unlike almost every other book on the same shelf, it also happens to be true."
-Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University professor of psychology and author of Stumbling on Happiness
"A guide to sustaining your newfound contentment."
"Lyubomirsky's central point is clear: a significant portion of what is called happiness . . . is up for grabs. Taking some pages out of the positive psychology playbook, she coaches readers on how to snag it."
-The New York Review of Books
"Is lasting happiness attainable or a pipe dream? For the last eighteen years, University of California-Riverside professor of psychology Sonja Lyubomirsky has studied this question, and what she reports might even sway pessimists."
-U.S. News & World Report
"The right place to look for science-based advice on how to become happier."
-Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism
About the Author
SONJA LYUBOMIRSKY is professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in social psychology from Stanford University. Lyubomirsky and her research have been the recipients of many honors, including the 2002 Templeton Positive Psychology Prize and a multiyear grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her family. Her next book, The Myths of Happiness, will be published by The Penguin Press in January 2013.
Top customer reviews
As Lyubomirsky explains in the chapter "The Fifth How: Habit," the successful practice of Positive Psychology requires establishing positive habits. Because of our internal resistance, however, habits aren't easy to create. Not included in Lyubomirsky's book are two exciting discoveries in psychology that can help us overcome this resistance: The first technique is to commit ourselves to only a *tiny step* toward the desired behavior, which surprisingly often dissolves our resistance and leads us to spontaneously continue performing the positive action. Harvard instructor Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., said that this approach is the single most important technique to emerge from research on procrastination.
The second technique is to track the "chain" or "streak" of days on which we complete the desired habit (or at least the tiny step toward that habit). Our reluctance to break the chain forms a second level of motivation to help us establish the habit.
To help busy people create happiness habits, and to translate happiness theory into practice, I created a free iPhone app called "Mini Steps: End Procrastination, Build Good Habits" ( tinyurl.com/GoodHabitApp ). I think the app is a great companion to Lyubomirsky's book, and I'd love to get your feedback on it.
~ Sonja Lyubomirsky from The How of Happiness
People often ask me what ONE book I would recommend they read that I think best captures how to create an ideal life. I’ve never given an answer as nothing’s ever really met that standard. Now I can: The How of Happiness.
This is the 87th Note I’ve worked on and it’s been fascinating to see the same Big Ideas repeated by philosophers, mystics and modern-day self-help gurus. It’s even more exciting, in fact, EXHILARATING (!!!), to see so many of these Ideas SCIENTIFICALLY TESTED and *PROVEN* to be effective.
(Pardon the yelling. This book gets me a little excited. :)
And that’s what this book is all about. As a research psychologist and University of California professor of psychology, for the last 18+ years Sonja Lyubomirsky has been testing various ways we can increase our level of happiness as she’s played a leading role in the nascent positive psychology movement that’s creating a science of optimal living.
SUPER COOL stuff.
I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you get the book. It’s packed with happiness assessments and scientifically proven strategies for boosting your level of happiness that I think you’ll really dig.
Let’s explore some of the Big Ideas:
1. Why Be Happy? - Compelling reasons.
2. The 40% Solution - Focus here!
3. The Work of Happiness - It takes consistent effort.
4. 12 Happiness Activities - What’s your favorite?
5. Happiness Activity #1: - Expressing gratitude.
So bust out your journal and imagine your ideal self as we move to embody the hows of happiness, will ya?!? :)
More goodness— including PhilosophersNotes on 300+ books in our *OPTIMIZE* membership program. Find out more at brianjohnson . me.
It gives very practical and do-able exercises, supported by science, to help the reader create happiness in her/his life. Even better, it gives so many methods that the reader can pick and choose the kinds (s)he feels will work best for him/her. There is even a quiz to help give insight into which methods will work best for you.
What is interesting, is that it also warns against adaptation. Have you ever noticed that you get really happy about something, and then later it doesn't make you happy any more? The book includes advice on how to avoid adapting to things that create happiness.
The only weakness of the book is this: It makes you feel like the 50% of happiness that depends on genetics is totally out of our control. This is not true! What we eat influences our genetic "destiny"! Our diet feeds our genes. So that part of our control of happiness was overlooked in this book. Nonetheless, it is so packed with info, I felt it deserved 5 stars.
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