©2008 Sonja Lyubomirsky; (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks
I received my B.S. in Biology at WPI and am now pursuing a phd at UVM. I am dedicated to self-improvement and sating my curiosity. :)
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!
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.
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