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The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom | [Jonathan Haidt]

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

This is a book about 10 "Great Ideas". Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations - to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives.
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Publisher's Summary

This is a book about 10 "Great Ideas". Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations - to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives.

©2006 Jonathan Haidt; (P)2007 Gildan Media

What the Critics Say

"I don't think I've ever read a book that laid out the comtemporary understanding of the human condition with such simple clarity and sense." (The Guardian, UK)
"A delightful book...by some margin the most intellectually substantial book to arise from the 'positive psychology' movement." (Nature)
"Fascinating stuff, accessibly expressed." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Mike Adams 06-20-11
    Mike Adams 06-20-11

    Natural News Forensic Food Lab Director

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Heavy emphasis on pharmaceuticals for happiness"

    The title of this book sounds promising, but inside the cover, The Happiness Hypothesis reads almost like an infomercial for SSRI drugs and mind-altering pharmaceuticals. In one section, the author claims that antidepressant drugs can allow you to "redeem yourself" as if these dangerous chemicals were somehow a pharmaceutical savior.

    The author also incorrectly claims that antidepressants have been proven to be more effective than placebo. The scientific research actually shows that SSRI drugs are no better than placebo whatsoever, and that in fact mind-body medicine is far stronger than brain-altering patented chemicals.

    This book proposes that the three pathways to happiness are: 1) Meditation, 2) Cognitive therapy and 3) SSRI antidepressant drugs. Nowhere in the book does the author mention the important fact that SSRI drugs have been scientifically linked to thoughts of suicide or violence against others, or that many of the school shootings in U.S. history were committed by children on prescription antidepressant drugs.

    If that's the Happiness Hypothesis, I'll take a different theory, thank you.

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Titusville, PA, United States 06-01-11
    Edward Titusville, PA, United States 06-01-11
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    "Started pretty good . . ."

    ...but soon degraded into politically biased incoherence. Listen to the first hour then delete it.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pearce Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada 10-11-10
    Pearce Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada 10-11-10
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    "Interesting but Wonder About the Accuracy"

    This listen was fairly interesting but I wonder about the accuracy. The author made errors in assumptions of Buddhism. This leads me to believe the possibility exists that he may have made similar errors in other assumptions of other ancient and not so ancient teachers in this book, say, Lao-tzu, etc. Basically, teachers that I know not much about. Which then casts doubt on this book's credibility. This is too bad because this book is orderly. I wonder if the proper experiential research was done in order to be accurate. I believe though, that the writer's intent was to be as correct as possible. Regarding Buddhism, of which I've studied, it seems to me that he misunderstands at least some of Buddha's teachings. The author says Buddha is wrong or only partially correct because Buddhism teaches that happiness comes only from within and that one must stop clinging to material things. I believe the author missed the intent of Shakyamuni's teachings. That is, if you wish to transcend suffering or get beyond some sort of unease or discomfort in your life you must teach yourself not to cling to these uncomfortable positions. Does this take effort? You bet. Buddha taught that there are ways that this can be done. One is the three fires -let go of greed, hatred, and delusion. There are other ways Buddha teaches to do this as well. What Buddha intended was much like what modern brain science today teaches -that you can change your life by changing your thoughts. Likely the Buddha didn't realize that brain neuronal pathways can be altered but in effect that is what's happening when we consistently change our thoughts until we are no longer bothered by the 'monkey mind' (or maybe he did know this). Meditation is a great way to do this. The other error is stating the mythological or embellished story of the birth and life of Siddhartha Gautama and using that as a reference to make a point shows the author's lack of experiential knowledge.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David East Palo Alto, CA, United States 09-12-10
    David East Palo Alto, CA, United States 09-12-10 Member Since 2011
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    "Gain a little wisdom"

    Great listen! Haidt contextualizes the sometimes obscure ancient ideologies behind pervasive societal tendencies using contemporary Psychology. Mostly on target, occasionally disappointing when jumping too far to reach his conclusions, but ultimately worth it for the build up and presentation of the final chapters on religion and spiritual elevation as components of a fulfilled life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Tucson, AZ, Virgin Islands, U.S. 06-03-10
    Glenn Tucson, AZ, Virgin Islands, U.S. 06-03-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Author should have quit while he was ahead"

    The first half of this book was quite intriguing. However, between his political correctness and tendency to illustrate his points ad naseum, I found myself restless, bored, and fast forwarding through the last 4 chapters.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heimo Frankfurt, Germany 03-27-10
    Heimo Frankfurt, Germany 03-27-10
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    "scary"

    it is hard to say which is more scary, that this book passes for intelligent psychiatric study, or that people seem to like it so much. imagine please a girl is raped. it is not actually the rape that is so bad, it is her reaction to it. if she can change her opinion of the rape, she may even get to know and like the rapist. also, she must accept her own blame in the rape. wrong place, wrong time, wrong dress? surely if a crime is committed, the victim had something to do with it. and when she walks into the downtown diner she has been frequenting for years, and everyone stops to look then whisper, this too is good, for gossip is good. gossip puts bad people in their place, only good people gossip apparently. oh, and it seems that gossip is always true.

    this book is so full of fallacy and immature thinking that the only conclusion i can draw from it is that the writer has no clue what it means to suffer. he even implies that people who commit atrocities can be understood in the light of their feeling of righteousness about their crimes. apparently he knows nothing about the way nazi concentration camp workers scrambled like lice at the end of world war 2 to hide themselves and their victims. so much for righteousness.

    as i said, what is scarier here? that such a book can even be written, or that so many people embrace it? he is like a six year old with a slide rule, making some very dangerous equations, none of which matter since everyone knows six year olds are not allowed to fly planes. And where exactly was the religion? In a few ideas he pounded over and over because they fit with his already preconceived ideas. ugh, slimey.

    32 of 80 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Summer ODESSA, MO, United States 04-01-11
    Summer ODESSA, MO, United States 04-01-11
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    ""missleading title""

    I was looking for more of a self help book. The author branches out on many unrelated topics throughout this book that aren't about happiness. I was surprized that this book was not what the intorduction claimed. I often don't give up on books but this one really did waste my time.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Heitsch Harrisonburg, VA, US 06-12-10
    Paul Heitsch Harrisonburg, VA, US 06-12-10 Member Since 2011
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    "What could have been..."

    ...an engaging and interesting text is rendered plodding, pedantic, and mind-numbingly boring by a completely dispassionate reading.

    The book hammers away at a central analogy of elephant and rider (instinct and intellect), and requires a lively, deft reader who can accentuate the many rhetorical flourishes, rather than the academic nature, of the text. Wilson's monotonous drone is a sure-fire cure for the stubbornest insomnia.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Henry Chatswood, Australia 07-14-13
    Henry Chatswood, Australia 07-14-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting perspective about happiness."
    What made the experience of listening to The Happiness Hypothesis the most enjoyable?

    The content is intrinsically interesting. Having read Buddhist and Zen texts about happiness, this book looks at various perspectives on the topic of happiness. I found the variety of angles on happiness most enjoyable and interesting.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The variety of perspectives about happiness was most interesting.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 05-23-13
    Eric 05-23-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great content and a great reading"
    If you could sum up The Happiness Hypothesis in three words, what would they be?

    "The Happiness Hypothesis," lol. Seriously though: Positive Psychology's Introduction


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There aren't characters, really...


    Which character – as performed by George K. Wilson – was your favorite?

    The narrator, as it's not a novel with multiple characters....


    What insight do you think you’ll apply from The Happiness Hypothesis?

    The whole book is filled with insights as derived from recent studies in the psychological (and related) literature.


    Any additional comments?

    Audible needs to do a better job categorizing its audiobooks' content for the purpose of reviews, apparently.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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