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Monica

STOCKBRIDGE, GA, United States
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Perfect for the Happiness Newbie!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-16-13

Would you listen to Happiness as a Second Language again? Why?

I actually wish I’d had this book 7 years ago when a powerful, reflective look in my husband’s eyes let me know that I was indeed an unhappy person with lots of work to do. Since then I have a come a long way but Speak Happiness is one of those books that provides a great foundation for anyone who has realized that it is time to make a shift in their worldview . . . and quickly. The set-up of happiness as a language that we must learn worked quite well and can easily help others to reframe their perspectives about life and living.

What did you like best about this story?

My favorite parts? There were lots of golden nuggets strewn throughout this book. Among them were Alexander’s conversation about future happiness where she explains that the only way to happiness in the future is present happiness and her words about “future uncertain happiness”. I also enjoyed Alexander’s commentary on things like learning to receive graciously in order to fuel one’s own personal happiness and the happiness of others who are choosing to give.

What about Valerie Alexander’s performance did you like?

Valerie's delivery and tone were perfect for the content in the book. Her emotions seemed authentic and you felt like you were just having a great conversation with her.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I loved hearing Valerie discuss her personal triumphs and ah-ha moments. As the listener, you almost felt like you were growing with her.

Any additional comments?

Initially, I felt that the conversation was too simple but I was rewarded for my perseverance once the book hit mid-stream. Those who are on a true spiritual quest may be challenged at various points by things like Alexander’s commentary on forgiveness where she explains that release is only necessary for happiness, not true forgiveness. Other challenges were the seeming contradictions presented by things like encouraging readers to move towards achieving happiness as a permanent state but then also acknowledging that sometimes you’re just, “unhappy”. Although I totally got what Alexander was trying to achieve, I found myself wanting to replace the word “happy” with joy or contentment, which I do believe to be sustainable, even when we’re challenged by things like sadness, anger and “unhappiness”.

And perhaps this presented the greatest dilemma for me as in my own personal bias, while I do believe that we can reprogram ourselves to be happier, I think it is still an emotion, which is fleeting and cannot be overvalued in the face of more lasting states such as joy, presence, peace and contentment.

Nevertheless, Alexander packs a punch for those who are in need of a true boost in the happiness department. I particularly enjoyed the openness and candor of her personal stories about her own challenges and the ways that she has learned to reframe her own experiences as well as other wisdom stories about those in her circle that she shared along the way.