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Publisher's Summary

Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

We all have a voice in our head. It's what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we're not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we're stuck with this voice that there's nothing we can do to rein it in but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It's a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it's something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.

10% Happier takes listeners on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America's spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2014 Daniel Benjamin Harris (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inspired me to restart my meditation practice

I really enjoyed this book, for several reasons.

1. The author, a journalist with ABC who currently anchors Nightline and weekend Good Morning America, clearly knows how to tell a story. He spent years reporting on the war in Afghanistan and other hot spots around the world, and he takes the reader along as he negotiates the dog-eat-dog world of network television news. I found his behind-the-scenes tales of his love-hate relationship with Peter Jennings, rivalries between journalists and revelations about how anchors do their jobs worthwhile in and of themselves.

2. Beginning with his nationally-televised panic attack, Harris does not shirk from showing his “dark side.” Unlike most memoirists, he freely admits to being something of a jerk, and gives multiple examples of his jerky behavior. I found his candor refreshing and relatable
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3. To get his increasingly out-of-control life back under control, Harris did what lots of people do, he read a self-help book. In fact, he read lots of self-help books. But unlike most people, he had access to the authors. So he went about interviewing gurus of the self-help movement like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. He managed to keep on his journalist hat during these meetings and, unlike many others, is willing to say that the emperor has no clothes on. I have always felt vaguely uncomfortable about many of these gurus, and so having a nationally known journalist call them out for their completely unrealistic claims of never having an unhappy thought and all that bull about the law of attraction was terrifically validating. His self-deprecating stories of his first forays into meditation are some of the funniest parts of the book.

4. That someone as skeptical as Harris finds meditation helpful and eventually comes out of the closet to his coworkers about being “a meditator” made me reassess my own feeble attempts to meditate. Harris quotes some compelling evidence of the effectiveness of meditation and then shows how it has helped him in concrete ways. He does not claim to have had some amazing conversion, but rather says he continues to have negative thoughts and sometimes struggles to quiet the “jerk” inside his head. In other words, he’s a regular guy like you and me, and that is ultimately what makes this a five-star read.

[I listened to this as an audio book read by the author. His anchor voice serves the material well and I would highly recommend this version of the book.]

66 of 66 people found this review helpful

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  • Russell
  • Keswick, ON, Canada
  • 05-11-15

You mean that voice can be tamed - Sign me up!

I really liked this book. While listening to Dan Harris contend with that irksome voice in his own head as he navigated his career and relationships, it gave me some strength in dealing with my inner nagging critic. To be really effective in gaining more happiness though, Dan has convinced me to try meditation.

Self help gurus like Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle may have touched upon the power of meditation but they have so much other mystical baggage that ultimately I'm turned off following what they have to say. Dan's deeply skeptical mind mirrors my own and his wry witty observations makes for a very entertaining journey as he tries to figure out what is important and what is not of value with all the ideas that have flowed from an eastern Buddhist philosophy.

Dan actually does not get to trying meditation until the book is almost half over and that is fine. His life's voyage to this spot is entertaining and sets the stage for why he needs to do this and gives him a vehicle to explain how it makes a positive difference in his life.

The book closes with how science has embraced and backed up the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and a helpful list to follow. I have just downloaded the accompanying PDF that comes with the book and will follow the meditation instructions. Dan suggests I start with five minutes a day. Not a bad investment of time if we can get ourselves 10% happier.



146 of 151 people found this review helpful

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Mandatory read before trying any self-help books

I've been around the block with the self-help books. From Chopra to countless others and wish this book was around years ago. It's basically a long news segment on an industry that can prey on people in their most vulnerable state of mind.

Harris gives fair assessment to the big names of the industry that he interviews and makes the reader think that he's finally found something that works, then he slams it by cutting through the BS. He's highly skeptical and doesn't get fooled easily, which I like. Out of the many books I've gotten here on Audible, this is one of the few that I can say was actually beneficial. I'm not saying I won't venture back into the realm of self-help topics, but I'll be more cautious and analytical next time.

I highly recommend as a pre-read before trying the works of Chopra or Tolle.

If this review helped you please click the button below...thanks.

646 of 675 people found this review helpful

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  • Lela
  • Edmonton, AB, Canada
  • 03-13-14

insightful, deep and highly entertaining

Where does 10% Happier rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This books ranks at the top of my list of self-help memoirs.

What did you like best about this story?

I bought this audiobook by mistake. I thought I was buying a book by Sam Harris, who has had a way of shaking my reality just enough to make some small but important changes. As I embarked on listening to my new purchase, I was most disappointed when Sam Harris', by now familiar voice, all or a sudden sounded like television reporter. At first I thought there was something wrong with the recording. Then I realized that I was listening to a Dan Harris not Sam Harris. Reluctantly I surrendered to my mistake and decided to give this Dan a chance. After my initial disappointment, I began to appreciate this unexpected author. Dan Harris, whom, I, as non-television watcher, had never heard of before, was taking me on an interesting journey of the inner life of a successful, striding for ever more success, ABC News reporter in New York. At first he struck me as an arrogant, extremely driven and cut-throat person. Yet at the same time he was intriguingly honest and surprisingly self-aware, a very unusual combination, I thought. He tells his stories of being at the forefront of many history making events all over the world, with the professionalism of a great reporter. With that same hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude, he goes about discovering the world of self-inquiry and comes across mindfulness and meditation. He interviews Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Joe Vitale, among others, with all of whom he is heart-wrenchingly but also refreshingly critical. The most critical though he is with himself. As he leads us, with an accuracy and bluntness that is admirable, through his own pitfalls and discoveries in his attempts to master meditation, he manages to shed a fresh light on this path, a light that is both entertaining and highly informative. He is able to describe his own difficulties and slowly but surely finds the gold nuggets of mediation with the drive and intuitiveness of a no-bullshit reporter. Listening to how mercilessly he "destroys" anybody he considers vague or spiritually fluffy, I cringe at the thought of how he would treat me, a seasoned meditator at the fringe of society. By the end of the book though, I have to admit to myself, that I had been as critical with television news reporters, and people in the cut-throat professional world, as he had been with the people in the spiritual world. It was time for me to shed this, up to this point unnoticed, arrogance of mine. This was an insight that immediately made me at least 10% happier!
I believe that with this book Dan Harris succeeds to not only build an important bridge between two worlds that have seemed far apart and somewhat incompatible, the professional world and spiritual world, but he also brings a unprecedented freshness and clarity to the latter. Nobody, in my 30 years of studying mindfulness, has been able to bring as bright a light to the conundrum of meditation versus ambition, as Dan has in this book.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene where he describes his first ten-day meditation retreat is hilarious, heart-wrenchingly honest and brilliantly informative.

What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

Learning to care and not to care. T.S. Elliot

232 of 244 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • Connecticut, U.S.
  • 03-23-14

Not really a self-help book, but a great listen

Initially, I felt put off by this book's "self-help" label because it seems most books in that genre simply repackage stuff your mom told you for free. What changed my mind were reviews on Goodreads and audible.com where readers tend to be a tough crowd and a book generally has to be very, very good to rate a 4 or 5-star rating. So, I figured why not, and picked up the audio version. As I began listening, I found the author (who also narrates the story) to be funny in a self-deprecating way and disarmingly honest -- I also realized this isn't really a self-help book.

The author describes what contributed to his on-air panic attack on "Good Morning America" and the details of his subsequent journey of self-discovery. He describes interviewing self-help authors like Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra and others... and rather than revering them as gurus, is skeptical about the uniqueness of their insights and approach. He decides the "voice in my head is an a--hole" and seeks actionable ways to cultivate a more effective coping mechanism. He ultimately tries meditation and finds it to be a useful way to cope with stress and cultivate compassion. This book has something for everyone:
- For folks who meditate, this story is a nice reminder of the benefits of meditation.
- For those not into meditation, it feels like listening an old friend tell his story of moving beyond a life altering event by "upping his game and becoming a leading man."
This is one of those books that would be good read on a Kindle or paperback, but is an absolutely great audiobook. Highly recommended.

204 of 221 people found this review helpful

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  • Natasha
  • AUCKLAND, New Zealand
  • 03-25-14

Spoke to the cynic in me

What did you love best about 10% Happier?

I loved that it got a cynic like me to actually try meditation and get past my previous belief that there was no way I could ever do it. I really recommend this for anyone who thinks they wouldn't be able to 'clear' their mind or thoughts enough - that is what I thought and it turns out what the author started off thinking too. This book took me on a journey - one that I ultimately enjoyed. I felt like it was taking a while to get to the punchline but I'm glad I stuck it out - because this is the first book to explain mindfulness to me in a way I could understand.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I liked Dan Harris's refreshing honesty about himself and his own ego and mistakes. It made for some funny and also very touching moments, but it also gave me inspiration to be as honest with myself.

What about Dan Harris’s performance did you like?

It's great to hear the author of a memoir telling their own story, and his professional experience obviously helps make his performance as good as it is.

What did you learn from 10% Happier that you would use in your daily life?

Dan uses some great analogies throughout the book that sat really well with me - my favourite was of your thoughts being like water going over a waterfall and that the trick is not just to flow over with them but to try and sit behind the water and watch it. That really clicked for me for some reason.

Any additional comments?

Some people have said this isn't a self-help book but it has really helped me - even tho my meditation practice is slow going, I've just become more mindful of my thoughts and reactions since reading it. I think it will sit well with you if you are interested in meditation as a concept but not keen on the airy fairy incense burning reputation - I like that Dan investigates how to be calmer while not losing your ambition and competitive edge.

83 of 90 people found this review helpful

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Took to long to get to the point

What disappointed you about 10% Happier?

The narrator did a good job with the story but the point of the whole book could have been written in a blog post.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful

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It's all about Dan Harris not spirituality

If you love Dan Harris then you'll love this book; it's all about Dan, and how the universe effects Dan. If you want to learn about spirituality, listen to Mindfulness in the Great Courses Series.

45 of 51 people found this review helpful

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I can’t believe I spent the time to listen to this

The TL;DR/L (listen): Dan Harris wanted to be a successful news anchor, put a ton of pressure on himself and was in stressful situations like war zones, started doing cocaine, had a panic attack on air (go figure), interviewed someone who piqued his interest in Buddhism and meditation, learned to meditate. It helped, as did stopping using cocaine. The end.

Listening to this drawn out to over 7 hours was painful. I should have quit listening earlier. He made a few funny jokes which made me think it would get better. It didn’t.

43 of 49 people found this review helpful

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Interesting Story About One's Man Meditation

What made the experience of listening to 10% Happier the most enjoyable?

All of the honest first hand accounts of the celebrity guros we've all wondered about.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Deepak Chopra is depicted quite amusingly. I don't know if that makes him a favorite, but one of the more memorable at least, besides the iconic references to Sam Harris.

What about Dan Harris’s performance did you like?

The most stand out moment in the book was Harris' recounting of the large "Does God have a Place in the World" debate ( I might be misremembering the name), but you can find the debate between Sam Harris, Deepak Chopra, Micheal Shurmin (spelling) and a couple others on Youtube. The debate is stimulating and hysterical because of Deepak's antics and Dan Harris' first hand account of the event had me laugh out loud several times.

What did you learn from 10% Happier that you would use in your daily life?

Nothing ground breaking here. This is an introductory text to draw the mainstream into meditation. If you've studied mediation yourself or read Alan Watts, you probably already have the insights, but it's an entertaining book none the less.

Any additional comments?

Dan Harris was the host of Nightline, so he knows the big names in the media - spiritual guros are no exception. It was great hearing Harris' behind the scenes account of those we have only see with their best face forward. Nothing necessarily scandalous is revealed, but Harris provides a seemingly fair perspective.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. L. Chalkley
  • 01-07-15

Mindfulness against a backdrop of a world gone mad

What an enjoyable book. I am enjoying work written and read by people who work in performing media. I found the style humorous and engaging, as you'd hope from a professional story teller. I didn't know Dan Harris by his work, but it was easy to get the gist his career in the US TV news machine. Able to tell a tale against himself, it's honest enough to provide insight into Dan's psychological troubles but the wider picture stops it becoming too Woody Allen. You have the large world events and the micro-politics of the media. Dan's work reporting on the religious right and the peculiarities of Deepak Chopra is fascinating and funny.

He asks a lot of the questions that came up for me, in trying to practice mindfulness in a secular way, purely for psychological health, when the science showing the effectiveness became overwhelmingly positive. I think he's the first non-Buddhist white western guy that I've come across who's written an account of having a crack at mindfulness for his mental health. Unlike us regular joes, it's pretty amazing that when he had a question, he was able to use his reporter status to go and question Tolle or Goldstein. That makes for a pretty unique book to.

It's interesting to see what happens when one skeptical guy tries mindfulness for 4 years. It's a humorous, informative and heart-warming journey.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • IR
  • 10-21-14

A great story. Funny, profound and compelling.

Where does 10% Happier Unabridged rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This audiobook now takes over as my favourite of all time. I don't normally get round to writing reviews but I did it for Danny Baker's "Going to Sea in a Sieve", because it was so good, and this one is even better. It is just as entertaining but you learn something too.

What did you like best about this story?

As you would expect, an audiobook by this author is very well read. He does that kind of thing for a living. Hearing this story in the author's own voice adds so much to the experience.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I loved the description of the ten day meditation retreat. He really nails how the garlic muesli, robes and sandals hippy-dippy stuff can be a turn off, but he's also open minded enough to see it through to the end.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Dan is very honest about his journey, which really makes for a better story. Whilst the book is very, very funny, and on a regular basis, the humour doesn't undermine the message, and you are right there with him as he takes risks with his career and his relationships. It's a serious book but hugely entertaining.

Any additional comments?

If you have thought about mindfulness meditation but were put off by all of the trappings and the 1960's associations, this is definitely for you. It might be the book that finally convinces you to give meditation a try.

No hesitation, no doubt - a five star audiobook.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 01-09-15

Good lessons wrapped in an autobiography

I listened to this book as it was suggested by Ed Dale in his books of 2014 . I had enjoyed some of his other choices so gave it a go . At first I was fustrated in the early chapters as I thought I was getting a book on mindfulness and it appeared to be just and biography of a large ego News Man . This makes sense as the story unfolds so bare with it ... You need to know the man for the book to do its thing . Worth a listen , and yes this book could make you 10% happier

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • P A WRIGHT
  • 04-26-15

A entertaining biography of Dan's meditation life

If you could sum up 10% Happier Unabridged in three words, what would they be?

Thoughtful, funny, inspiring

What did you like best about this story?

He was honest about how he felt, and his observations of the people and ideas where so incisive and funny. They reflected what I had often felt in those times, and were very human and spot on.

What does Dan Harris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His personal voice which adds to the text

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me laugh in places. I respected his honesty too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen Vinter
  • 04-14-15

Very entertaining and witty

This was one of my favourite ever downloads from audible.

Normally I avoid books where the author is also the narrator. I've found in the past that a talent for writing and a pleasant, emotive speaking voice rarely go hand-in-hand. However, Dan has a wonderfully rich newsreader's voice, which is a pleasure to listen to. My boyfriend overheard the recording and declared it to be "The most American voice I've ever heard!" - we are in the UK.

I am no stranger to the lands of self-help, and I have also tried several meditation classes in the past. Dan's witty insights into his inner journey made me laugh out loud on several occasions, particularly one memorable phrase uttered in desperation to a statue of the Buddha.

I really hope Dan writes a sequel - he has a knack for taking this complex ideas and translating them into everyday language and ideas. Thanks for the inspiration to restart meditating.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andyjn
  • 03-04-18

A good listen

This book is a good listen. It certainly gives you a lot to thing about.

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  • Surbhi
  • 12-03-17

awesome!

I don't know why I didn't get this one before... it so good.. you don't want to leave listening to it!! it is so interestingly put together... I love Dan's story and this one has surely started me on the journey to meditation!

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  • Adam Mitchell
  • 08-31-17

A realistic view on the benefits of meditation

This book approaches the topic of meditation in a balanced way. A very good read with lots to learn from.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-04-17

Really great listening - especially for cynics!

I found Dan Harris really interesting and funny, I really enjoyed his matter of fact approach to mindfulness. I tend to be of a cynical nature so really identified with his constant questioning! A really good listen and I'd definitely recommend.

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  • Mr. N. Cartwright
  • 04-13-17

Brilliant book

Loved everything about this book. Made me laugh out loud at points. Great narrator (author) some amazing revelations and life lessons in a compelling narrative. Read this book it is outstanding.

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  • Kieran
  • 06-03-17

The exact book I didn't know I needed

I'd been on and off with meditation for a few years - knowing that it greatly benefited me but at the same time struggling to engrain it into my regular routine. This book absolutely changed that however, as Harris's skeptical, secular approach to explaining meditation was a refreshing and welcomed change to the usual airy fairy explanations I'd come across before.

I was slightly bogged down at first by the biographical nature of the beginning of the book, which I didn't expect when I bought it, but in hindsight I think it was very important and necessary so Harris could establish himself as a real person to me, making the message he ultimately conveyed carry much more weight.

I powered through this book a few months ago, and upon completion, I was happily meditating every single day, which I still am doing now. I would strongly recommend to try out the 10% Happier subscription guided meditation service as well, which I'm now also subscribed to, as it has been a great help to guide me through daily meditations.

If you have any interest in meditation, I would highly recommend this book. Whether you have no idea at all about it, or you were like me and you'd delved into it before but had struggled to maintain a routine, this is for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Saddler
  • 05-21-17

I really liked it, and got a lot out of it (which makes me happier)

Certainly one of the better books I've read lately, and possibly one of the best on mindfulness.
Dan's language, of course, is excellent. Laugh out loud funny in parts.
I found the first quarter a little slow/dry, but if you stick with it, it's really a very worthwhile read.
Thanks for the insights Dan!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • 05-08-17

Awesome book.

A great listen. A story of self discovery and very relatable and funny. Recommended for anyone really but mostly those wanting change and a direction to try.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica
  • 09-26-16

On my third reading in as many weeks

A great introduction to mindfulness, and meditation from a pragmatic, non-religious perspective. Particularly suited for people who like a narrative format.

I found it really helpful that Dan describes the situations in his life the lead to him needing and finding mindfulness and meditation. As I identified with a lot of the problems he had in his life before meditation, I found the story of his journey to be a great comfort and source of hope.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-09-16

Best anti self help self help book I've read.

This is the skeptic and cynics guide to meditation and worded so well that it's actually got me thinking I need to give it a shot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • darryl
  • 02-02-16

Loved it

Interesting personal story combined with a real believable perspective on the value and experience of meditating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • LEISA
  • 01-20-16

Great listen

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Very easy to listen to, I never wanted to stop. Worth the read for sure !!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 08-09-18

Meditation for those who don't think they can

loved it
dan's story really resonated with me
great for those wanting to meditate but not sure how

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  • Rafael M Hart
  • 02-14-18

Can't recommend this enough

Thoughtful, informative and funny. If you are interested in meditation, there isn't a better introduction.

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  • jo
  • 11-13-17

Inspiring

This book was so refreshing. Mindfulness without the woo woo, incense and floral scarves. It has inspired me to give meditation a go, so thanks Dan! By the way, as I live outside of the US, I had not heard of or seen Dan on TV - my first introduction was through the Netflix documentary, minimalism.