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)
This book puts compelling data behind many of the tools taught in Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People", focusing on Positivity.
I could not get into this book. I tried, but had to abandon it about 1/3rd of the way through. This just isn't a very well written book, which is surprising because the author went to Harvard. For over a decade. And Harvard is for very smart people. I know this, because Anchor tells the listener this over and over again. The introduction to the book references Harvard dozens of times, each time highlighting what elite nature of the institution.
Besides the Harvard references, and associated snickers about lesser Ivy-League schools, Anchor spends far too much time telling me three things: (a) positive psychology is revolutionary, (b) people he expects will not respond to his talks love them, and (c) traditional measures of success do not make us happy. I listened to a third of this book, and that's all I got out of it. Notice what's missing? That's right: the content.
The author keeps selling the listener on his methods. He associates them with Harvard, home of the smartest smart men and women. He tells us how positive psychology has turned the field upside down. He tells us how Africans and bankers use his methods to increase productivity and lead more fulfilling lives. He tells us that the new job, pay raise, degree, or car will not really make us happy – instead being happy will get us a new job, a raise, better grades and a better car. But, like the proverbial fireworks factory, Anchor never tells us his principals.
That's not fair. I assume he does. Eventually. I'm trying to be fair; I understand the need for an introduction. But one that goes on for so long, and is so repetitive is just needless. And after the third or fourth time you hear about how he has traveled the world making people happy it starts to feel a lot like this book is really seven hours of Shawn Anchor bragging. So I bailed.
Finally, notice how this review is a little repetitive, just saying the same thing over and over again? If this bothers you – trust me – do not download this book.
Shawn Achor uses humor, data studies and experience to share 7 key actions we can take to increase our happiness. Fabulous book, easy to read and very insightful.
Not overwhelming in data, Shawn finds that perfect balance in using data to support key principles AND giving you tips and tricks early on in the book. So many books wait until the last 1/3 of the book to give you the "what to do about it!" Shawn spends 3/4 of the book telling you how to create happiness.
Shawn Achor reads his work exceptionally well. If you're on the fence about buying this book, I recommend watching Shawn Achor's TED Talk for an introduction to the author and his work. He gives practical steps to apply the best insights from the field of positive psychology. No self aggrandizement, just helpful tips and insights with a few interesting stories.
I did enjoy listening to this book. Achor pointed out a number of patterns that I see in my own world. I can see how certain habits lead to isolation and exhaustion. He seems somewhat of an odd bird but what do you expect from someone who can tolerate undergrads for more than a decade.
This is my first review on here. The real test of a book is being able to take the principles and it makes a difference. I've started to reframe my thinking inline with some of the principles discussed and it has already impacted my world view (and happiness and contentment as a result).
This is one of my favorite books I've ever listened to from audible. It has great science, interesting studies, AND practical suggestions for applying it to real life. I've already recommended this book to many people and listened to it three times. I am seriously happier after applying just a few of its most simple suggestions. Love it! Thanks Shawn!
A transplanted Englishman, I spend my time on biography, history and military books. I appreciate good English and good narration.
Oh dear, this is the biggest mistake I ever made buying an Audible book!
The author has read his own work and his delivery matches his narrative: he has a shrill voice; he reads as if he is scared of making a mistake; and he reads s l o w l y.
Shawn Anchor is to writing what painting by numbers is to art. He is repetitious; he follows the well worn formula "...think of an example...explain its implications 5 different ways...wait till the reader snores..." His findings are pedestrian; his target audience is elusive; he is verbose; his sense of humor is puerile; and his tendency to involve himself and his life as pristine examples of his contentions is tiring.
This is a term paper for an undergraduate business course...at best. Its 7 hours could have been cut to 30 minutes, but even such dramatic editing would leave little to justify intelligent attention for that period of time.
I'm convinced that before religion people must have looked inside themselves to give them confidence, motivation, and comfort. There is nothing soft about how the author attempts to get the point accross and I would urge anyone that is looking to understand more about the chemical reactions occuring in their bodies affect how they go about dealing with life to read/listen to this book. As someone that is interested in understanding how the intangible drives the tangible I was personally drawn in to the authors narratives and recommendations.
Although the research the author presents in this book is compelling and inspiring, the author’s repetitious reference to his personal accomplishments lost my interest at the mid-point.
"Complete evidence that happiness and positivity improve the quality of life"
It's all to easy for the idea of positivity to be brushed aside by those that don't naturally feel it themselves. You might say it is a choice but in this science and psychology based account of how happiness can improve your life you will find the keys to making yourself and those around genuinely more positive. It is nicely read and easy to follow. Highly enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone whether it was work or personal life that had you stop to read this review. It could (I'm hoping) do wonders for relationships.
"Well worth the listen"
We should all make the effort to improve our happiness - we can only bring benefits by doing so
"Great introduction to positive psychology"
Bought this after seeing the famous YouTube video. I was not disappointed. Read by the author with humour, the book outlines 7 principles for a happier more successful life. Certainly food for thought!
Really enjoyed this audiobook. Well written and narrated. Lots of interesting insights into the benefits of positivity and happiness in the workplace. Keep smiling!
"Business focused, not wishy washy"
Shawn's delivery is engaging, once he got over the initial awkwardness. His principles are clear, research based and already loaded with comebacks for the ney sayers. Clearly this subject is a real passion for him and it shows in the content and insights he provides.
Yes, I found myself sitting in the car in the carpark listening to it because I couldn't stop. I also found myself listening to it twice in a row because i enjoyed it so much
"Great content, but not best performance"
From a content point of view this is top notch, you should have worries here.
Being critical the performance is pretty flat. It's far from bad and listenable easily, but if you've washed him do his TED talk you'll see how good he can be. I guess he wanted to be consistent and rained it in. Having said that it doesn't stop me recommending it.
"What have I missed?!"
Like most "self help" and motivation/productivity books I buy I out a lot of trust in past reviews.
With this I thought it's gonna be great!
To date I'm just over an hour in and struggling to see where the "magic" is coming from. For a book "happiness advantage" you'd think the narrator would instil some energy?! No- very monotonous and hard to take anything in.
So far just lots of studies and no real world info.
To me time is expensive and irreplaceable - I don't think I'll be rushing back to this to finish it
"Not so common sense..."
It would be easy for someone to look at the title and immediately label this book as one of those hippie-s... propaganda with some woo-woo self affirmation pep-talk. Not at all.
The book strikes me as an amazingly researched and put together piece of scientific summary on the topic of happiness in action. This previously overlooked side of psychology - the positive psychology - will be coming up now more than ever. This book is a fantastic start (and not only) in the subject. One of the audiobooks I will be coming back to in the near future. 5 stars.
I listen to it several times. I come back to it every month or so. Fantastic book. Mind opening. Would recommend to anyone who wants to take control of their life.
A must read for anyone looking for steps to become happier, and some great evidence based coaching too. A great read
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