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.
"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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