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Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier Hardcover – August 6, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
This fine, succinct contribution to the relatively new field of positive psychology (which seeks to promote emotional wellness, rather than treat disorder) focuses on what a French saying calls the memory of the heart. Emmons (The Psychology of Gratitude), a leader in the field and professor at UC-Davis, looks at gratitude from an interdisciplinary perspective, including literature, psychology, religion and anthropology. He demonstrates how it contributes to emotional equanimity and pleasure, richer personal relationships and greater health. Perhaps Emmons's most interesting chapter is on ingratitude, which Kant called the essence of vileness and which Emmons sees as resulting from the grudging resentment of one's own dependence on others. Gratitude is more... than a tool for self-improvement. Gratitude is a way of life Emmons says, and he ends by offering 10 ways to cultivate gratitude, including keeping a gratitude journal and learning prayers on gratitude. Emmons introduces an important topic through deftly synthesizing scientific and popular inspirational literature. (Aug. 6)
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“Robert Emmons is the world’s leading expert on the psychology of gratitude. . . This is a morally elevating book.” --Jonathan Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis
"I am convinced Robert Emmons is right: increasing the national state of gratitude would change the world." --Jim Clifton, Chairman & CEO of The Gallup Organization
"Emmons presents clear and practical ways in which everyone can begin to immensely improve their quality of life." --Dallas Willard, Professor of Philosophy at USC as well as author of Renovation of the Heart
"Gratitude’s benefits should be enough to convince even the most cynical secularist that this emotion is essential for achieving happiness." -- Spirituality & Practice Magazine
"A serious, skillful exploration of a current arena of psychological research, by one of the leaders in that emerging field." --Steve Heilig The San Francisco Chronicle
Top Customer Reviews
First, many "positive psychology" books are written by therapists, counselors, teachers, journalists, and other people who read and summarize the writings of scientists. Their books often lack the enthusiasm, creativity, and wisdom that can only be found by those devoting their lives to a topic. Robert Emmons is the world's leading authority on gratitude. His research is responsible for much of what we know about gratitude. It becomes readily apparent that Robert Emmons has spent years thinking about gratitude, studying gratitude, talking to people about gratitude, and trying to understand how gratitude fits into the "big picture" of achieving lasting happiness in a world fraught with moments of pain, stress, and adversity. His passion and wisdom are evident on nearly every page. I could not imagine reading a book on gratitude written by anyone else.
Second, the information in this book is backed by scientific research. This is not a book based on the musings of one person or a few people who believe that gratitude is a good thing. It is also not based on a few studies conducted by one researcher. The information in this book is based on a careful summary of research conducted on thousands of people by a number of different researchers around the world. Taken together, these studies show that gratitude is one of the strongest contributors to happiness and meaning in life. But more than that, gratitude has been shown to strengthen people's social relationships, improve people's physical health, and motivate people to act in ways that enhances the quality of their moments, days, and lives. In addition to discussing his own research, Robert Emmons reviews and integrates the work of other researchers, philosophers, and literary minds. In a little more than 200 pages, "Thanks!" has quickly become the essential source of everything there is to know about gratitude (so far).
Third, it is spiritually uplifting. Emmons weaves in stories of real people sharing how gratitude played (or failed to play) a role in their lives. These stories add flesh, blood, and feeling to the wealth of science and wisdom in each chapter; they capture the true value of gratitude and the beauty of humanity. With these narratives and the easygoing writing style, it is easy to enjoy reading this book while outside in the grass on a lazy summer afternoon.
Whether your goal is intellectual stimulation, self-enhancement, or something in between, this book will make an immediate positive impact on your life.