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Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence | [Rick Hanson]

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of feeling loved? Your brain was wired in such a way when it evolved, primed to learn quickly from bad experiences, but not so much from the good ones. It's an ancient survival mechanism that turned the brain into Velcro for the negative, but Teflon for the positive.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, October 2013 - It's hard to know what to expect with a book titled Hardwiring Happiness. Am I going to get a lighthearted self-help listen? Or am I going to be transferred back to my \"Biological Basis of Behavior\" course from college? Lucky for me, Hanson provides a delightful combination of both. Not only does he explain why people perceive similar events differently, he explains how. Hardwiring Happiness allows us to see what is really going on in our noggin, and to understand how our wiring pushes us to focus on some experiences over others. It's a quick listen, but Hanson packs in a lot of interesting information with very relatable examples. –Laura, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

See through the lies your brain tells you

Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of feeling loved? Your brain was wired in such a way when it evolved, primed to learn quickly from bad experiences, but not so much from the good ones. It's an ancient survival mechanism that turned the brain into Velcro for the negative, but Teflon for the positive.

©2013 Rick Hanson (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Rick Hanson is a master of his craft, showing us a wise path for daily living in this book. Based in the latest findings of neuroscience, this book reveals that if we understand the brain a little, we can take care of our lives a lot, and make a real difference to our well-being. Here is a book to savor, to practice, and to take to heart." (Mark Williams, PhD, Professor, University of Oxford, author of Mindfulness)

"The cultivation of happiness is one of the most important skills anyone can ever learn. Luckily, it’s not hard when we know the way to water and nourish these wholesome seeds, which are already there in our consciousness. This book offers simple, accessible, practical steps for touching the peace and joy that are every person’s birthright." (Thich Nhat Hanh, author of Being Peace and Understanding Our Mind)

"In this remarkable book, one of the world's leading authorities on mind training shows how to cultivate the helpful and good within us. In a beautifully written and accessible way, Rick Hanson offers us an inspiring gift of wise insights and compassionate and uplifting practices that will be of enormous benefit to all who read this book. A book of hope and joyfulness." (Paul Gilbert, PhD, OBE, Professor, University of Derby, author of The Compassionate Mind)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    julie AMES, IOWA, United States 12-09-13
    julie AMES, IOWA, United States 12-09-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Like a therapy session while I'm on the move."
    Would you listen to Hardwiring Happiness again? Why?

    Yes, I would and am listening to it again. I went through the book quickly the first time to get a feel for if this book could be helpful to me. Now, I am going back to more carefully take in the information. I can imagine going back over parts even a 3rd and 4th time in the future.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Hardwiring Happiness?

    The general concept of taking in positive experiences, although it sounds and is simple, in today's world, it does not come automatically. Knowing that taking in experiences can benefit my brain and my well being gives me incentive to make the effort.


    Any additional comments?

    I heard the auther speak on a Jillian Michaels podcast. I found his line of thinking interesting. It is what prompted me to sign up for audible.com. But, before purchasing this audio book, I read a few of the reviews which sounded quite negative. It gave me pause before ordering. I'm glad that I gave it a try despite the negative reviews. The information is valuable to me in my life at this time. -- Not ignoring the bad, but more fully appreciating the good. Taking just a few extra seconds in my day to take in the positive and make it a part of me.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 06-04-14
    Karen 06-04-14 Member Since 2004
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    "Creating & savoring positive experiences"

    In "Hardwiring Happiness," Rick Hanson, Ph.D. provides an easy and actionable "recipe" for giving positive experiences greater weight to enable an ongoing sense of peace and contentment. I'd learned of Dr. Hanson's books based on my interest in meditation and his articles about the benefits of using meditation in his psychology practice. I chose to listen to this book when I realized I'd become so focused on worries about loved ones' health issues that I wasn't appreciating happy events as much as I would normally.

    Dr. Hanson's approach focuses on identifying (or creating) positive experiences and then extending and reinforcing the good feelings those experiences evoke. Wait, isn't this just taking the time to smell the roses? Absolutely, but it's all too easy to overlook stopping to savor positive experiences when one is feeling especially busy or preoccupied with day to day concerns... and not taking the time to savor positive experiences actually reduces one's ability to cope with stresses as they arise. I listened to the audio version in order to benefit from the guided meditations included within, and also picked up the kindle ebook as a handy reference. The author narrated the audio version and I found listening to his observations helpful in reinforcing the concepts he shared.

    I recommend "Hardwiring Happiness" to anyone who feels they aren't appreciating life's gifts as much as they'd like, and wants to take effective steps to more fully savor the good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 01-13-14
    Amazon Customer TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 01-13-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Not as scientific as it sounds"

    Hardwiring Happiness is not about brain science. It has very little to do with that topic. It is mostly about self-hypnosis and guided meditation.

    I purchased this book thinking that I would find scientific explanations about our sensation of happiness as it relates to exercise, nutrition, habits, experience, the weather, etc. What I found was a long, drawn-out version of the theory of positive thinking interspersed with eastern meditation. Do not misunderstand; I actually agree with the idea of positive thinking to some degree. I certainly understand that it matters what you choose to focus on - and this is the author's point. I take issue with the marketing of this book as "the new brain science." I didn't find much science.

    There is some science (very little, but some) scattered throughout, but the meditation mysticism takes over everything and was not adequately addressed in the description of the book. The author is leading readers into guided meditation without admitting that he is doing so. I would not have purchased this book had I known that to be the case.

    The only good thing that I can say is that the author is right that, at least to some degree, we choose our thoughts and we choose how to focus our thoughts. However, I choose not to be drawn into eastern meditation, and the author's real intent should have been disclosed.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arken 11-04-13
    Arken 11-04-13
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    "A little science, a lot of fluff"

    I am interested in the way the brain is wired and how that affects things like happiness or self-control or behavior modification. This book sounded like it was right up my alley. And there was a bit about how the brain has evolved to react to threats and rewards, etc. But then it is all couched in godawful new age claptrap. Lots of "be in the moment" kind of talk that just gets on my nerves. And, perhaps unfairly, this was exacerbated by the author/reader's wimpy therapist voice. I didn't make it even halfway. Maybe it gets a lot better in the second half, but I'll never know.

    7 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Texfiddler 07-02-14
    Texfiddler 07-02-14 Member Since 2012

    Photographer at large

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    "Great information but quite dry - hang in there..."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    This is geat info...but was more like a lecture.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Needs a re-write....


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Quite dry...


    Did Hardwiring Happiness inspire you to do anything?

    Sure I try to think a positive thought each day and focus on the positive...big help.


    Any additional comments?

    There is great info in this book...just hard to stick with it...it is worth the work...so stick with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gennie Indianapolis, India 10-18-13
    Gennie Indianapolis, India 10-18-13 Member Since 2003
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    "DON'T BOTHER"

    I thought this books sounded pretty good, but I was mistaken. I should have known when the author is the narrator of his own book, never a good sign, and starts by listing all of the people to whom he is thankful...it's downhill from there. There is nothing that captures the attention of the listener, not to which the listener can easily relate. The author lists three categories that he mentions over and over and over: the categories are purely subjective and none of it makes sense. All he winds up saying (albeit over and over) is remember the good things that happen to you, focus on those things for 20 seconds and your good brain parts will grow. Bad book, bad bad bad bad.

    7 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly STERLING HEIGHTS, MI, United States 10-23-13
    Kelly STERLING HEIGHTS, MI, United States 10-23-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Don't waste your time"
    What disappointed you about Hardwiring Happiness?

    The authors voice was so dull I found myself daydreaming 30seconds into the book. Granted I only made it about 10 minutes in, but it was so boring - almost torturous to listen to. I want to return it.


    3 of 10 people found this review helpful
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