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The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive Paperback – January 11, 2013
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About the Author
Henry S. Miller is an internationally-known author, trainer, speaker, and transformation consultant. Miller’s new book, The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive, is a relentlessly prescriptive self improvement book dedicated to helping people actually flourish and thrive - instead of just existing - so that they can live the happiest and most fulfilling lives possible for them as a result. As President of The Henry Miller Group LLC, Miller specializes in helping companies and organizations of all types “do well by doing good” – helping them to improve overall performance and productivity specifically by increasing their employees’ levels of overall well being. Miller's work offers a holistic antidote to today’s stress and time pressures and an opportunity for people to dramatically improve the quality of their lives – beginning immediately and lasting forever – IF they are serious about flourishing and thriving. This fourth career marks Miller’s transition from organization-level transformation work to focusing directly at a personal level on individual well being and its positive effect on individual performance and productivity among many other benefits. His work not only increases the overall level of well-being for individuals, but, as a result, also improves the bottom-line of the companies and organizations where the individuals contribute. Miller’s background includes 20 years as an organization transformation consultant where he personally helped guide the successful transformation “journeys” of private and public sector organizations to become 21st century “world class” organizations. He was also a Senior Consultant with the Tom Peters Group where he was privileged to have conducted leadership training, speaking, and consulting for thousands of managers at all levels. His first career spanned over 20 years in corporate America at the IBM Corporation. In addition to his current membership in the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), over the years Miller has been a member of various professional organizations including ODN, BAODN, ASTD and has been published in the San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal. He is a Cornell University graduate with an economics, psychology, and engineering background.
Top customer reviews
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If you are interested in getting happier - and who isn't? - there is a wealth of wisdom and actionable ideas in this book written in fresh and clear language. This is a how-to manual on happiness. The author, Henry S. Miller, is a consultant, speaker and trainer on transformation and well-being. He clearly is passionate about his subject. He would be a great happiness coach, and I hope he speaks to many groups about the ideas in his book. The ideas are life-transforming and practical.
The author articulates a paradox regarding happiness which I've thought about but never seen articulated so well. He writes: "We each must come to terms with the paradox that life seems at once critically urgent and yet ultimately pointless. And, even though many of life's chapters begin as mysteries without many clues, the life we are living today is not just a trial run. We need to make the most of our time on the planet while we can."
One way to make the most of our time here is to multiply and spread happiness - your own happiness as well as others. This book shows you how.
Happiness is not some mystery, this book shows. It is not elusive and ephemeral. There has been enough research on happiness that you can get a degree in the topic or in the field of positive psychology. Some might ask: isn't pursuing happiness selfish? As Miller points out, would you rather associate with happy friends or glum friends? Happy parents or sad parents? Our happiness is a gift we give to others and is socially contagious. One happy person can infect a group with happiness.
The author groups what researchers agree on that increases our happiness under six imperatives. Then he suggests you implement ideas from each and design your own happiness plan that is tailored to you. So what are the six imperatives that increase short-term and long-term happiness?
1. Seek pleasure within limits
2. Intentionally THINK happy
3. Intentionally ACT happy
4. Become a better person
5. Embrace loving connections
6. Make meaningful contributions
The author then suggests actions which support these imperatives. Some of my favorite actions I want to try - and you will enjoy finding your own - are:
* Choose experiences instead of purchases - doing instead of owning.
* Spend 20-30 minutes writing what a snapshot of your ideal life could look like in 5 to 10 years - and then list the long-term goals you need to achieve to make that vision a reality
* Always keep your ultimate goal in mind - there are usually multiple routes through the forest
* Write a gratitude letter to a specific person who has exerted a positive influence on your life - but whom you've never personally thanked.
* Set your own goals within your job to challenge yourself.
* Consider creative ways to engage others; most significant goals are not achieved alone.
* Humility: try to go an entire day without talking about yourself.
* Identify your special abilities - everyone has some. Choose an endeavor that fits your abilities. Find a mentor to support you.
* Challenge yourself to try one new proven action each week.
I love the concept that by doing one thing different every week, you can change your life. (I once loaned a guy a quarter at Starbucks and got a trip to Paris out of it, so you never know!) We each get 168 hours a week - the author suggests we get a calendar and schedule happiness activities in them.
Using a 7-step process outlined in this book, the author coaches you into designing your own happiness plan. He reminds there is no one "secret" to happiness, not one single factor so there are multiple ways to increase it which is positive.
This book looks at happiness through many different prisms and deals with deep subjects in simple language. Happiness is a tad complex, but he simplifies it for you touching on its many aspects. If you are looking to increase the happiness of yourself and those you come in contact with, this book will get you started with some practical ideas. I'm going to write my former gym teacher a gratitude letter for driving me home so I could attend after-school volley ball in middle school when I was a latch-key kid and my single mother was working until 6 p.m. I was the worst athlete in my gym class, and she had three daughters of her own, but she took the time to drop me off. I've tried to pay that kind action forward many times when I was a principal of a private school, and a volunteer at my sons' high school.
That's the wonderful thing about kindness and acts which promote happiness - they create ripple effects and double the probability that recipients of a kind act will do something altruistic that makes someone else happy. Just reading this book increased my happiness. It's a great place to start on the serious pursuit of happiness.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
According to Miller’s research, 60% of your level of happiness may be predestined, but the remaining 40% is up to you to determine, which is good news if you worry you aren’t programmed for happiness.
The Serious Pursuit of Happiness presents a thorough evaluation of happiness: what it is, what it isn’t, to what extent we can change it in ourselves, and precisely how.
Much of this book is based on thorough research including results of happiness studies and psychology, as well as biology, genetics, and neuroscience as they relate to one’s ability to be happy. That means the theories Miller presents are just nice ideas, they are proven tactics.
One thing that sets this book apart from some other happiness books is his exploration of “What Happiness Is Not.” For example, happiness is not about escaping all pain and suffering. That’s not possible anyway.
Another unique concept is Miller’s phased approach. He breaks down his book into three phases with phase one being Preparation, phase two being Proven Paths, and phase 3 being to Plan and Act.
The best part is that Miller provides plenty of advice you can practice right away like “think happy” or “fight the ‘worst case scenario’ mindset,” and when things get tough, he suggests distracting yourself with exercise- a notion that we at Simply Happy Me can get behind! In fact, he has included a section on embracing fitness and health as a method of increasing happiness.
The Serious Pursuit of Happiness is a good read for anyone looking to boost their happiness. With lots of great tips and plenty of research to back them up, Henry S. Miller has written a book with valuable information in an easy-to-read format.