©2008 Sonja Lyubomirsky; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks
Being able to find the best even in the horrendous is a practice I carry through my life; but when a truly traumatic event occurs that has bearing over extended periods of time - the dismal can set in and the fact that you can, in fact, find the best in everything becomes blurry. This was a very helpful reminder during a time when I was enduring a majorly traumatic event.
Religious individuals will like this book particularly as it is a strong proponent of people possessing some level of faith. I would have liked the author to have compared the success of religious individuals to those who: have large and strong family support, those believing (unfalteringly) in fate (but not god related) and dependents (those possessing a caretaker).
This book is interactive – if you are listening you may have to pause in order to complete evaluations (which are more complicated than yes/no) therefore I would not recommend using this book while in a vehicle in which you would be frustrated to have to pause it.
I promote the reading/listening of this book although, even with the good research that has been done by Dr. Lyubomirsky, it looks like there is a lot that isn’t covered. I recommend reading “The Willpower Instinct” to supplement. Both books are strong proponents of goals (which makes sense) though “The Willpower Instinct” can assist further when it actually comes to pursuit of them. “The How of Happiness” focuses on happiness being derived from the pursuit of goals, not necessarily achieving them while “The Willpower Instinct” aims to assist in the achievement and evolution of goals. Although it isn’t distinctly covered in “The How of Happiness” – the pursuit of goals being better or just as good as achieving them or not probably varies depending on the type of goal. If the goal is to get to Paris, sure…but if the goal is to lose weight/be healthier you might not be deriving a tremendous amount of happiness if you aren’t actually succeeding regarding the steps to this achievement.
Coming from a scientific background and thinking in an analytical way I greatly appreciate all the statistical support for Sonja's work. I enjoy how she throws in personal accounts that further describe her findings by sharing her own doubts and stumblings. Sometimes I thought the 'hows' suggested were a little trite but I did participate in most of her questionnaires and tests with worthy positive results. Who knew?! I love the idea of a happiness set point and proof that 40% of one's happiness can be improved! Very encouraging! Many times I found myself saying "Hmmmm...there's an idea!"
Her narration was wonderful. She has a great voice for this subject matter!
This was really a great book that I advise every one to listen to. it is truly one of the best books I've ever read.
my only note is the narration, I believe it could've been done better.
still 10/10 book.
Well worth reading and doing. It's hard to say more. The science of positive emotions has been maturing over the years and we're starting to see a lot of great material coming out, like this book, which is helpful and grounded in good research. The research is what distinguishes this from so many self help books, since those are usually based on one's personal experience or maybe on a clinical practice. What we miss there is a clinical practice lacks is a control. That is, is what I'm doing any better than doing nothing at all. I've adopted some of the practices already and am adding them to my teaching.
For those who liked Barbara Frederickson's book, 'Positivity', you will enjoy 'The How of Happiness'. In addition, Sonja provides a short survey for determining important character strengths.
While the idea of a scientific approach to happiness was appealing, some of the facts seemed contradictory to the interpretation presented which left me feeling skeptical and unimpressed at some points. For example, i believe in one section the author was trying to make the point that we have some (40%) control over our own happiness. To support the point, she describes happiness studies done on siblings including identical twins. She states that the biggest determinant of whether one twin will be happy is if the other twin is happy. To me this supports heredity not our own control of our happiness.... things like this and the overall tone of the book (i know nothing about her, stumbled on this book, but she seems like a junior researcher and more frequently than I cared for references studies in her lab...). Three stars though for seemingly well thought out book that hits on what I thought are key points with author that seems to want to help others acheive happiness.
Yes, I already have! It gives a ton of great information about how to live a happier more fulfilling life. I'll be listening to it again.
I didn't like the voice reading the book! It made the read a bit boring....
I had read the original unabridged book and found this abridged version an improvement. It is still based on substantial research but its brevity has made it more to the point and action oriented. The writer and researcher Lyubomirsky narrates the book and it is an odd choice. Her voice is not musical or charming and there are tinges of a Russian accent, too. I imagine her narration might bother some people. However, she brings to the reading such commitment, intelligence, and sense of responsibility regarding her work, I became very attached to her reading despite its non-professional-narrator aspects.
I plan to re-listen to this book in another year or two, as a kind of refresher course. It is inspiring and helpful, not extravagant in its claims or overwhelming in its suggestions. It is very realistic, well researched, and understanding of its audience.
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