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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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  •  
    Guilherme Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 12-29-11
    Guilherme Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 12-29-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The narrator makes me sleep zzzz"

    The history seems good but the narrator didn't let me finish the book. I'll try some Redbull before listening this book again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Spring, Texas, United States 12-28-11
    David Spring, Texas, United States 12-28-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The book offers an interesting view into how we find happiness and gives you something to think about.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Orlando, FL, United States 12-25-11
    Helen Orlando, FL, United States 12-25-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting But Be Aware of the Bias"

    Haidt has done some really interesting research and the book has some real gems that, but be aware of the lens through which Haidt perceives the world. In the first half of the book he uses political examples that would have one thinking that all hypocrisy and demonization in the United States comes from the political right. Towards the end of the book he acknowledges that he is politically liberal and goes on to summarize that the politcal right in the U.S. is better at holding community together while the left is better at standing up for the individual. Haidt would benefit from getting out of his ivory tower and seeing that there is a world where the exact opposite argument could be made more cogently.

    His lens is shared by many of our academic institutions and one can only wonder what people will think of our age when they look back in 50 or 100 years and wonder how it was that we didn't use the knowledge at our fingertips more productively. Considering how much I otherwise enjoyed this book, it was disappointing that Haidt's bias and blind spots threw into question the book's broader credibility.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas Chewton, Australia 12-21-11
    Nicholas Chewton, Australia 12-21-11
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    "Brilliant. Wonderful. Intelligent"
    Would you listen to The Happiness Hypothesis again? Why?

    Yes and I do. Anyone who can call themselves a Jewish atheist is my kind of guy. But seriously, if you are tired of New Age invocations to find yourself as though you'd lost yourself somewhere, then this is for you. Grounded, solid, knowledgable, humorous, compassionate and he doesn't preach or invite you to feel part of a bigger anything. This is a book that should be read (or heard) by anyone, irrespective of whether they feel they have something to learn about the human condition, especially if they think they have nothing to learn about the human condition. And if your religious or ascribe to a force out there, don't read this, you might be tempted to finally accept that it is you.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Me


    What does George K. Wilson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Hmm, that's a little harder to comment on. I am Australian and he definitely sounds like the American equivalent of someone trying to speak with a plumb in their mouth. At first, I thought he was completely the wrong reader because one had the feeling that he didn't empathise with the content but I got over this and now quite like his voice. Not a big issue.


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

    To get on with it, stop fussing so much, stop blaming and tearing what little hair I have left out. To accept my humanity and I mean the fact that I am an animal who walks upright and has being telling himself that what goes on in my head is beyond me. It isn't.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes, get this into schools ASAP

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 12-14-11
    Victoria 12-14-11
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    "Really helped me"

    I have been a "spiritual seeker" for the past 30 years. Mostly, I have studied Eastern philosophy. Not so much Western thinking. In fact, I sort of "poo-poo'd" Western thought because "striving", "achieving", etc., all seemed like an anathema to my Eastern way of thinking. Psychology and science just all felt sort of "meh" to me.

    However, something has been missing for me and I have found myself increasingly anxious and agitated with "just being in the moment". In reading this wonderful book, I found out WHY. I now feel so much more balanced and feel like I am finally sailing out of the doldrums of my mind.

    This book has given me a greater understanding of my own mind and the mind of my fellow human beings. Strangely, understanding Western thinking has made me a more compassionate person. Understanding some of our basic drives and even (gasp) "brain function" has made me more open and kind. I always thought it would be Eastern thought that would accomplish this. However, it was a deeper understanding of SCIENCE which tempered me (a surprise!) But I do want to point out that this book, by no means, just concentrates on Western thought. It's just that FOR ME, there was a lot of missing information. I had a lot of "holy sh**!" moments while listening.

    This book has changed my life and the way I view the world. Not only that, but I feel like I've grown up a little. And wised up a LOT.

    Great book. Great reading of the book. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian PALO ALTO, CA, United States 10-13-11
    Brian PALO ALTO, CA, United States 10-13-11
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    "Really Interesting"

    A great blend of psychology and philosophy. Really thoughtfully put together. Narrator is a little robotic, but totally bearable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barker Seddon, New Zealand 09-12-11
    Barker Seddon, New Zealand 09-12-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Lost for words"

    I regret this review will be of little help for most but my heading says it all. I can't believe this was given such a high rating by so many people.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Adams 06-20-11
    Mike Adams 06-20-11

    Natural News Forensic Food Lab Director

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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

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