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What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better Paperback – January 19, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Baker, a psychologist and director of the Life Enhancement Program at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, offers a new way to look at unhappiness. He believes that people can teach themselves to be happy instead of remaining trapped in a vicious cycle of stress from work and family: "If you adopt management of your life as a primary goal, you'll be able to participate in your own destiny. But if you squander your energy struggling for complete control, you'll lose the reins of management and become just another leaf in the wind." It's essential for people to avoid such traps as trying to buy happiness or trying to find it through pleasure, Baker argues. Instead, people should use and take advantage of the six happiness tools-appreciation, choice, personal power, leading with strengths, language and stories, and multidimensional living. To demonstrate his strategy, the author offers various case studies. For example, one wealthy CEO comes for therapy, complaining about his children, wife and employees. Baker listens and offers just one piece of advice: he tells the man to visit a pediatric cancer ward; the visit allows the man to look beyond his self-centered complaints. Baker's advice is sound and his presentation engaging, but some readers, especially those coping with serious life crises, may find this approach too New Age or simplistic. He makes the transition from the traps to the tools of happiness sound easy, perhaps too much so.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Baker's advice is sound and his presentation engaging.” ―Publishers Weekly

“This wonderfully helpful book is sure to increase the number of happy people with its wisdom.” ―Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“Everyone wants to be happy. So much suffering and illness occur when we look for happiness in the wrong places. In What Happy People Know, Dan Baker distills the best of science and spirituality, sharing with deep and profound wisdom how we can learn to be happy and let go of suffering. Highly recommended.” ―Dean Ornish, M.D., founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; ad author of Love and Survival and Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease

“Dr. Dan Baker has created a book that we all have been waiting for. It is a significant, practical, insightful, easy-to-read book filled with nuggets that lead us to the road of happiness.” ―Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., author of Love is Letting Go of Fear

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (January 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312321597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312321598
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've read so many self help books over the years, and I can't say any of them have been very helpful. Interesting, definitely - but nothing that got me closer to feeling the way I've dreamed about for so long: happy, confident, & relaxed. I've gotten so skeptical. Thank God there was still enough of a spark of desperate hope buried in me to get me to pick up this wonderful book.
A thousand "Thank You!"'s to Dan Baker who has shown me the light and allowed me to embark upon a whole new journey as I actually begin to enjoy my life and succeed at everything I try the way I never thought I could. Everything in this book now seems so obvious to me, now that I have worked many of Mr. Baker's brilliantly simple ideas into my thinking and my daily life and things are becoming 2nd nature. I wonder why so many of us drag ourselves through our miserable lives for so long, never coming to the conclusions represented in this book.
Some of the key ideas in this book include understanding the relationship between fear and appreciation, taking power over our emotions, finding good in everything, and seeing the pitfalls of money and possesions. The terrible VERB's (victimization, Entitlement, Rescue, and Blame). Dan Baker spits liquor in the face of traditional psychotherapy with all its failings. (Ever been to a shrink who said, "How does that make you feel?," "and how does that make you feel?," "and how does that make you feel?...." - all a bunch of crap, just as you probably suspected.
There's no way for me to explain the content of this book, and there's no need to. This book is an easy and enjoyable read. Get this book! I wish I had found it 20 years ago.
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Format: Paperback
I have been in and out of counseling for 18 years and have read many self-help books. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out what was "wrong" with me, so that I could fix it.
Until about four years ago, my life was a story of three steps forward, two steps back, one forward, two or three steps back.
I then finally found the courage to make some difficult decisions that allowed the movement to be three steps forward, two back... three forward, one back. At least it was finally, consistently moving forward.
But, I still wasn't happy and was convinced it was because something was "wrong" with me that I needed to "fix."
About a year after my father passed away (an event that completely rocked my world) my mother entered grief therapy. After about a year of therapy, she was introduced to this book by her counselor.
My mother has NEVER been the self-help book type of person. She always lovingly said that I've always read more than enough for us both. So, I was stunned when I saw that she was not only reading this book, but was taking notes and I could see a noticible, positive difference. She finally was becoming happy!
I, of course said that I was grateful she finally realized what I had been trying to explain to her all these years and was glad that she had found a book that worded my "lessons" in a way that she could relate to and understand. I believed that my years of counseling, self-help books, introspection, and research had taught me everything I could know on the subject of how to be happy.
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Format: Hardcover
Dan Baker provides a guide to creating a meaningful life through tools for fulfillment, self-awareness, gratitude, and finding joy. Happiness, according to Baker, encompases a healthy outlook on life, physical and mental wellness, a sense of spirituality, and personal fulfillment through acts of altruism and kindness.
The book addressses the "new" psychology which, contrary to the standard medical model of emotional health - in which healing is based on "curing" one's past - instead focuses on building on individual strengths to help sustain people not only in times of crisis and but in making their lives meaningful overall. The book is not a sophistcated academic text and should not be approached as such. Rather, the book is written in the first person, in a very conversational style that is accessible to all readers. Although the title might lead some potential readers to think the book is the standard psychobabble self-help text that is ubiquitous today, the book is not psychobabble at all - it is clear guidance and tools that anyone can use to build a foundation of happiness on which to live one's life.
Dan Baker has a wealth of personal experience and vignettes drawn from his experience at Canyon Ranch and in other settings. These stories and the lessons drawn from them provide helpful guideposts for all of us as we continue our life journeys.
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By A Customer on January 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
dr. dan baker has written a book that everyone can read and understand with ease.. we've been taught that happiness is elusive when in fact it's a learned response to lifes experiences. Without any airy fairy explanations, dr. baker leads the way for us to find happiness when life perhaps has other plans for us. The examples given in this book are worth the price of the book alone.. We sometimes think there is a magic bullet that will make us happy.... lots of money will buy us happiness.. things will make us happy... when in fact, the only thing that can make us happy is how we respond to what happens in our life and dr. baker has captured the words for our feelings.. Bravo, dr. dan.
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