To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
3.0 out of 5 starsNot so great
Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2019
Having read other books compiled from the Dalai Lama's teachings, I was happy to finally get this book--I was sorely disappointed (I almost gave it just two stars.) There are insights and nuggets of truth in here, but most of the book is Dr. Cutler's musings about his travels, his talking with the Dalai Lama, and far less of the teaching. It felt almost like an autobiography by Dr. Cutler, who happened to meet with the Dalai Lama, rather than a book BY the Dalai Lama. I was disappointed, and felt that it was a waste of my time and money. Not recommended.
This book changed my life when I first read it in 2009. I was depressed and negative from some difficult life events and stuck that way, losing all sense of self. Reading this was hard work. I focused on everything very hard, took notes, self-reflected, and was determined to practice compassion and understanding. I payed attention to my thought patterns and weeded out the negative thoughts and changed them to positive ones. I have always had a temper so when I feel myself giving into it, I read the chapter on anger and find my control again. It's amazing and I'd recommend it to anyone who is willing to dedicate themselves to change and read it with an open mind. Anyone from any religion can use and appreciate it, including atheists. It's a way of living every day.
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent Advice to Achieve True Happiness
Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2017
Having been a student of Mahayana Buddhism for the past couple years, I had been meaning to read a book by the fourteenth Dalai Lama, and was overjoyed to purchase this one after being alerted that the Kindle edition had gone on sale by the excellent ebook deal-alerting service Bookbub. Since it was the first book by the current Dalai Lama that I ever read, I wasn't sure what to expect but I did expect it to be of high quality—especially since it is his most well-known book. Fortunately, it did not disappoint me in the slightest!
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living was co-authored by psychiatrist Howard Cutler, who posed questions to the Dalai Lama over the series of many interviews. Cutler provides the setting and context for their meetings and also incorporates his own reflections on the issues raised in their discussions. In addition, transcriptions from several of the Dalai Lama's teachings are scattered throughout the book. It was first published in 1998, and I read the ten-year anniversary edition that was published in 2008 which includes a new preface and introduction.
The book delves into the concept of using various techniques to train the mind in order to achieve true happiness. In the preface, His Holiness the Dalai Lama states, "If you want others to be happy practice compassion; and if you want yourself to be happy practice compassion." This focus on developing compassion is consistent throughout the book and is a main focus in many of the answers that the Dalai Lama gives to Cutler's questions. It seems that this is a sort of prerequisite for cultivating happiness, a foundation upon which all of the other advice is based upon.
Another point that is made time and time again is that happiness comes down to one's state of mind more than by external events. There are a plethora of examples provided in the book, such as how lottery winners do not sustain their initial delight over a longterm period and instead return to the level of moment-to-moment happiness they were accustomed to prior to winning the lottery. Or how studies have shown that people who are struck by tragic events like cancer and blindness typically recover to their normal level of happiness after a reasonable adjustment period. Psychologists label this process "adaptation", which simply refers to the tendency of one's overall level of happiness to migrate back to a certain baseline.
From a Buddhist perspective, the root causes of all suffering are ignorance, craving, and hatred. The book fleshes out this idea and suggests methods for one to overcome them. For example, the Dalai Lama advises, "We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them. We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance."
Overall, I was very impressed by this book. When I first started reading it I wished that the Dalai Lama had been the sole author, however I eventually grew to appreciate Cutler's additions. That's mainly because I did not realize that the book was co-authored until after I started reading it, so I had unknowingly and unintentionally set an improper expectation for myself. However, by the end of the book I had overlooked the co-authoring aspect entirely and focused more on the book's content, which is excellent. I would advise this book to anyone who is interested in the Dalai Lama, Buddhism, mindfulness, or becoming truly happy.
Whether Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu etc, this book outlines many important elements to being a good human being and how to improve your life by choosing the positive, compassion, love, tolerance, acceptance of the others. Thoroughly enjoyed it
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2019
I was a little disappointed with the book by the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard Cutler. If the book was just by his holiness I would have been very happy. Unfortunately, I found the book to be on the dull side. I got as far as page 89 when I gave up. I will, when I have time just skim through it for what the Dalai Lama has to say. I believe there is another book by him without the doctor. That I will get.
5.0 out of 5 starsThis book will help you become happier!
Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2017
This book will forever be one of my favorites. The Dalai Lama's wisdom is clear, simple, and practical. He addresses many issues that we all face in daily life. Following his wisdom, you can eliminate any self-sabotage and self-created annoyances in life~ really! His wisdom also allows you to cope with the suffering that we all inevitably experience in life.
Thìs book is two books in one. We read things about and said by the Dalai Lama and things from the medical professional. Some of the latter in the beginning seemed long and boring, thus minus a star. It is an interesting book. The idea of patience and tolerance as a type of anecdote for anger and hatred is very appealing. I'm glad I read this book.
Absolutely beautiful, psychologically and spiritually helpful. I will be rereading this book after I read a few others just for a refresher, it brings to life things we already know but the beliefs and ideas are covered up by all the worldly baggage we learn along the way. It makes me feel like a better person putting things into practice in my daily life, addressed by this great read. I'd just like to thank the work put into this for the greater good. I just wish I could help.
Firstly I'd like to repeat what others have said... this isn't a book by the Dalai Lama, it is a book by Howard Cutler.
My main reason for giving such a low rating is the fact that this was passed off a self help book which it isn't. It may well give you a warm fuzzy feeling after reading it but it does not provide any of the tools necessary. There are nuggets of wisdom here and there I'm not denying that.
The Dalai Lama is a celibate monk from a particular tradition and culture, his specific branch of Buddhism employs some rather fancy philosophical arguments... why for example you shouldn't be angry with, but instead happy for, someone when they do you physical harm. It's all tied in to concepts of rebirth and karma etc... if you believe you are being reborn it doesn't really matter if you are stabbed to death, most of us would be better off getting pretty damn angry with an attacker. Having read a few books by the Dalai Lama (not this one) I'm convinced that he's not the person to turn to for advice on how to actually, concretely, change our lives.
5.0 out of 5 starsHugely powerful book that really is suitable for anyone with an open mind
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 10, 2017
This book is one that I can honestly say has had the most impact on me as a person and my life, even a long time after first reading it. It really puts things into perspective, encouraging you to take a step back and realise that life is not about wealth and material items and that the only thing we really have is the present so to embrace it every single second. This book helps you to stop holding grudges, be more empathetic and understand that we're all just humans at the end of the day. A great read and this book really is for anyone, you just need to be willing to open your mind.
For a religious leader the Dalai Lama is a very pragmatic way. It is this pragmatism along with the lead author's psychiatric training that makes this book more than a self help book, it is a guide that honestly reminds you that no change comes fast, it comes from training and perseverance but more importantly it comes through compassion, empathy, honesty and love. To anyone who things that is too hippy dippy this book is for you as it will give a different perspective and open a horizon that you currently have chosen to close yourself to. after all there is nothing more enlightening that being open minded and trying something different. The Brilliance of this book is that you don't have to like it, agree with it or take its advice, just read it and see what happens.
Apologies for the cliche, but this is a enlightening read. For someone like me who has a restless and negative mind, this “canter” through the concepts of happiness, universal positive thinking, control and a different way of thinking about yourself has really helped me to start on a path of happiness. Peppered with lots of practical advice, guidance and techniques, it’s a well structured and written guide to different methods of finding happiness.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 21, 2017
For anyone who is looking for more joy and happiness in their life. Spirituality is presented in a really accessible way, you don't need to be a deep thinker to understand it. You will realise that true happiness doesn't rest on wealth or how you look, how much stuff you have. True happiness is a state of peace, compassion and love.