Our most commonly held formula for success is broken.
Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG - to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.
Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential.
©2010 Shawn Achor (P)2010 Random House Audio
"Shawn Achor is funny, self-deprecating, and devastating to my notions of what his field is all about…. I'm butter to his knife." (The Boston Globe)
"Achor bases his training on a burgeoning body of research on the positive psychology movement, which emphasizes instilling resiliency and positive attitudes." (The Wall Street Journal)
Shawn's humour definitely keeps the book alive. I like that he did not simply preach positivity as a fix to everything, but explained how we can practically bring the happiness advantage into our lives, even when our lives are problematic.
The book summed itself up best... Knowing that the principles are common sense doesn't mean we act common sensibly. The body of work complied a host of psychological studies that framed the way we can get the most from ourselves and those around us. And be happier people in the end. I enjoyed it and felt great passing it forward. The workplace would be better if practiced the principles.
Well written, full of specific advice, useful information and relevant study results. Quite possibly the most useful biik I have ever read!
Shawn is such a dynamic and entertaining speaker. I was very disappointed that this audio book did not allow that to shine through. He reads the words eithout any humorous inflection during parts of the book that would otherwise be funny. This leads to a very dry presentation that is harder to get through than it should be.
This book is amazing. It is filled with empirical scientific data, but also very basic break downs and easy to understand examples. This is definitely a book that I will listen to again!
"Practical positivity that lasts"
The practical exercises in this book, particularly the daily What Went Well exercise, are deceptively simple yet so powerful. I have listened to the book several times, applied the exercises and introduced them to my workplace and the courses we teach with remarkable impact. For anyone looking to apply the techniques the I Journal app and daily reminder to do the What Went Well exercises also help.
The stories are so well told by the engaging and often humorous author it's easy to get enthused by the material. The practical, evidence based and easy to apply techniques make this book stand out.
While it might have just been a case of the right book at the right time, this book genuinely *has* changed my life, largely thanks to the passages on 'activation energy' - which were both revelatory and laugh out loud funny. Achor is an understated, self-deprecating author/narrator who avoids the 'fluff' and focuses on the scientifically supportable and (more importantly) actionable aspects of positive psychology.
Ignore the bit that says 'at work' - this book applies to all areas of your life.
The author explains with great clarity and supporting scientific information the importance of positive thought. I found the advice on implementing positive and lasting change to be incredibly insightful and practical. I enjoyed this book so much that I've given it as a gift to quite a few people.
In a nutshell, Shawn Achor is a Harvard Graduate/Professor who specialises in psychology of the link between happiness and performance (or vice versa). He manages to successfully outline that link and gives you an easy-to-understand guide into how to become happier and optimistic so that you can go out and start achieving greater success. A very easy to listen and the results, for me at least, has been very rewarding.
"Good Content But Boring Style"
I am over half way through this book and I am struggling to pay attention!
The content in general is quite good but the monotonous style of the narrative is a bit mind numbing. I keep finding myself drifting off and thinking about something completely different and then phasing back in to the realisation that the narrator is still talking! This is unlike me as I have a good attention span, especially for things I find interesting. This is a subject I normally would enjoy.
The author / Narrator has also tried to inject comedy into the content, this in itself is a good thing, but the delivery is so flat and monotone that you don't even realise it was supposed to be a joke!
A final criticism is the intense amount of statistics being quoted. Its like the author expects the listener not to believe what he is saying so he feels the need to bombard you with far too many statistics. Key statistics are helpful and re-assuring but this many is just annoying!
"Best Business Book I Have Read/Heard This Year"
Direct, applicable, useful
Taking time out of each day to reflect on the things that have gone well, rather than the usual remembering the things that have been painful.
This is a fabulous bringing together and ordering of a lot of the principles findings and research in the field of Positive Psychology. Like all the best business books you get to the end of a chapter and thinkl "but that is so obvious." Then you reflect and realise if it is so obvious why are you not doing it. The autor also gives some nice little tools to assist the reader in adopting the lessons learnt.
For my money a must read for all business leaders and managers.
Go on Punk Make My Happy
"Informative whilst easy to understand"
I am a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist and bought this book to add to my library of similar titles. Some of the previous reviews almost put me off but I am SO glad that they didn't. The Happiness Advantage is well written, informative and pitched at a level that we can all get our heads around. The advice given is sound, evidence based and laced with personal examples and experiences. This is ideal for individuals looking for development, but I am also convinced that no matter what my line of business, or size of company, if I was the CEO I would ensure that EVERY manager within my organisation got a copy in their Christmas stocking. Get this book - get happy and get successful as a result!
"So far, so OK, but sticking with it"
Good stuff: lots of evidence, from diverse sources. Plenty of anecdotes and examples.
Not so good stuff: agree about the narrator, he just sounds as though he's 'phoning it in'. Shame, if Mr Achor speaks and does presentations, that he couldn't do his own reading, as I'm sure it would be a better listen. If you've read/listened to books by Martin Seligman, Jon Kabatt-Zin, Barbara Frederickson and Carol Dwek, then there's not much here that will be new to you. If you haven't this audio will serve as a useful intro.
"Self help/popular psychology book not to be missed"
One of the self help books with bang up to date theories that make sense and easily digestable. What can be more important than being happy. Narrator is a bit monotone and you can find your mind wanders unless you concentrate. Besides that I can -happily- recommend this audiobook.
A great book, really genuinely very interesting. have recommended it to everyone i've spoken to over the last week or so. would benefit from summarizing core principles every so often, as unlike with a real book, skimming backward or folding pages to remind yourself is not such an potion :)
will listen again though to try and gleen as much of this happy wisdom as i can.
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