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Publisher's Summary

  • Don't worry about family dinner.
  • Let your kids pick their punishments.
  • Ditch the sex talk.
  • Cancel date night.

These are just a few of the surprising innovations in this bold first-of-its-kind playbook for today's families. Best-selling author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler found himself squeezed between caring for aging parents and raising his children. So he set out on a three-year journey to find the smartest solutions and the most cutting-edge research about families. Instead of the usual family "experts", he sought out the most creative minds - from Silicon Valley to the set of Modern Family, from the country's top negotiators to the Green Berets - and asked them what team-building exercises and problem-solving techniques they use with their families. Feiler then tested these ideas with his wife and kids. The result is a fun, original look at how families can draw closer together, complete with 200 never-before-seen best practices.

Feiler's life-changing discoveries include a radical plan to reshape your family in 20 minutes a week, Warren Buffett's guide for setting an allowance, and the Harvard handbook for resolving conflict. The Secrets of Happy Families is a timely, counterintuitive book that answers the questions countless parents are asking: How do we manage the chaos of our lives? How do we teach our kids values? How do we make our family happier?

Written in a charming, accessible style, The Secrets of Happy Families is smart, funny, and fresh, and will forever change how your family lives every day.

©2013 Bruce Feiler (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Well worth reading, even if you can't do it all!

Any additional comments?

This is a practical guide to things that work for families. It is not a 'therapist' type guide, where research has been done...kind of book. Just what works for real people, in real & imperfect lives. I liked that, because that describes the kind of families I know.

I think he does a nice job discussing what makes these methods work, and how the families benefit. Also, he does point out how his wife is not impressed by his 'ideas' and often is not a willing participant, but then finds the methods draw the couple, as well as the family, together. Really, it is all about doing things together, making everyone feel they are an important part of a team, that really matters.

It is an easy listen as an audio, nice & simple pdf comes with it, and if you just put a few of the ideas into place, as I have done so far, you will likely see instant success. And what could matter more than greater happiness at home!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin
  • United States
  • 05-31-13

Very Enjoyable

I looked up the author's previous books before spending a credit on this one. I must say, I was worried that this book would be too preachy because some of Feiler's other publications had strong religious themes. It was not preachy at all. Listening to this book was more like having a casual conversation with a friend about family life. The author pulled ideas from various sources, including business men, military leaders, coaches, and his own family experiences and presented them as short stories and lessons. Every lesson won't apply to every family but I think the book was well written and researched and it was worth listening to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shilo
  • Lehi, UT, United States
  • 03-18-13

Definitely kept me intrigued and listening !

Would you listen to The Secrets of Happy Families again? Why?

Yes. I'm not a frequent REPEATER ... dont watch movies or listen to books more than once very often... but I will definitely with this one simply because the information was so vast, there was no way to soak it all in with just 1 listen. The 2nd time through I'm guessing I will gain more because it wont be as much information overload/

What did you like best about this story?

The way the author took such a personal interest in his own family and wanting to improve himself. This wasnt about telling everyone else what they should do .. but more conveying what he found worked for him/them .. then lets the reader decide what they liked and didnt like.

Which scene was your favorite?

When the author discussed working out the daily routines / rituals to bring each other together and cut down on the chaos that occurs day to day in the home and among the family members.

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

When the author talked about throwing out some of the standard relationship / family advice, and some of the common mundane practices, like Date Night, and a set dinner time, etc .... it opens your mind to other possibilities and makes you excited to try some yourself.

Any additional comments?

Great book... well written. Well read .... just all around entertaining and light... yet in depth enough to make you want more.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • towers
  • middle america
  • 03-18-13

great resource, jammed packed with useful ideas

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

while at times, this work seemed like a mash up of what could be ten different books, it does a great job of highlighting the work of many other creative types and writers- pointing to lots of research, but not letting that bog down the message. Feiler does a nice job of boiling down the essence of many other sources to manageable highlights and how they play into his overarching goal for this book. highly recommended not only for families wanting to move toward happy, healthy, enriching life together, but to those looking for help with finances, team building at work, rising above the microscopic level of daily life and hearing the call to more fulfilling, rewarding experiences in general.

Any additional comments?

love it! will buy the print copy to have as a quick reference back to the many many great ideas and will also relisten to the audio version as well!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Finally!!!!!

What did you love best about The Secrets of Happy Families?

The book is straight forward and littered with practical activities. Refreshingly fantastic.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I love the idea about a family mission statement.

Any additional comments?

After listening to it, I listened to it again with my wife. She loved it too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Couldn't get past author's performance

What did you like best about The Secrets of Happy Families? What did you like least?

some good advice from a variety of experts as related by Mr. Feller

Has The Secrets of Happy Families turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Would you be willing to try another one of Bruce Feiler’s performances?

No. This probably would work better for me in written format. From the "Hey Mom" on I found his read grating. He's probably very good at what he does, but most of these authors - with a few notable exceptions like Ken Robinson and David McCollugh (sp), should leave it to the pros.

Was The Secrets of Happy Families worth the listening time?

At times, but too many personal stories (the food in the fridg) that left me fast forwarding...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very good book, I am happy I listen to it!

I loved this book, there are many suggestions to improve family life and that is improving overall life. I highly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabeth
  • Cave Creek, AZ, United States
  • 04-30-13

Really fun read!

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

Yes because it looks at the "family" unit in a way we haven't before.

What did you like best about this story?

The different approach Bruce Feiler took to research how functional families work.

What does Bruce Feiler bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Hear this read by Bruce Feiler makes it feel more like a discussion with the listener than just reading the book.

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

Realizing that we are moving into unchartered territory in our technology driven world and that we need to rethink how to connect with our children and one another as a family.

Any additional comments?

This book was not just informative, it was fun to listen to and I am going to try many of the suggestions!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Meena
  • Piscataway
  • 03-19-13

Good title

Very good good. I enjoyed listening to it. Thanks to Audible for having this in store! I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Fresh insights on ways to nurture a happy family

Good reminder that one needs to be continuously intentional about creating a happy family.

The book draws ideas from management techniques and applies them to family. Managing and leading a family is more difficult than managing a team, because, you cannot fire your children.

It is important to nurture the positive moments, and be resilient.

A must read for new parents!