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Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill [Paperback]

Matthieu Ricard
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
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Book Description

11 Jan 2007
Although we are materially better off than ever before, surveys show that
we are depressed and listless. In his revolutionary book, Buddhist monk
Matthieu Ricard, shows that happiness is not just an emotion, but a skill
that can be developed. Free of mumbo jumbo, Happiness contains 20-minute
exercises to train the mind to recognise and pursue happiness by
concentrating on life's fundamentals.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; New edition edition (11 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843545586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843545583
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


`A remarkable book, untainted by the pretentious tone of many works that
offer life-enhancing advice.' -- Robert Chalmers, Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Mattieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk. He is also a translator, photographer and bestselling author. He lives in Tibet and Nepal.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sceptic won over by sincere good sense 14 Mar 2009
I'm a sceptic by nature and what I ended up loving about this book is the rare sincerity of the writing and the honest suggestion that the ideas on offer must be tried out in order for their truth and effectiveness to be judged. It is a profound 'explore for yourself' approach, free of the pressure, dogma, guilt, or emotional manipulation which sometimes characterize books in this area.

To get a flavour of what Ricard is saying (as well as a flavour of the man himself), you can watch a Google Techtalk he gave, entitled 'Change your Mind Change your Brain: The Inner Conditions for Authentic Happiness' (available free online, just type the title into Google).

What Ricard is suggesting involves training the mind over time, and is reassuringly tough to put into practice. Perhaps he could have included a chapter on how lethargic people like me can persuade ourselves to give this the every-day attention it needs! Yet Ricard's arguments in favour of at least trying such an approach are so overwhelming that they are a powerful spur in their own right. Give it a go!
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life saver! 8 Sep 2009
I have been interested in Buddhism for a while and did read few books on the subject. However as a lay, skeptical person I could never wholly embrace this religion/philosophy. I did reach a moment when I thought myself ridiculous reading this subject matter and handed over all my Buddhist books to the charity shop. However, quite recently I did have a small crisis in my life and, when visiting a local charity shop I found this book on the shelf and decided to give this philosophy "the last chance". And - oh my - I am infinitely grateful to the person that donated it! Ricard, who is a western scientist turned Buddhist monk, finally converted me! Not into a fully blown Buddhist, mind you, but into an active seeker of happiness... He has convinced me, without a shadow of a doubt, that happiness is possible. And it is right here, right now, within us. So if you feel unhappy, down and you feel you cannot cope anymore with what is called "reality" buy this book and read it with an open mind - I hope it will show you a path to happiness as it did for me. A true gem.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, and a Joy to Read 12 July 2009
This is a book that has much to offer intelligent, secular readers who are looking to find more happiness and meaning in their lives. I have re-read it several times now, and dip back in frequently. Each time is a joy. The author's own happiness shines through, and is wonderfully infectious.

It's clear from his other books that he has some buddhist beliefs that many westerners would view with some scepticism. However these metaphycis are (almost entirely) absent here. Happiness as a skill is the focus, and the approach is generally evidence based and empirical, although many of the arguments are expressed in metaphor.

Ultimately, he makes a very convincing case that happiness can be achieved through the kind of mind training he describes. For my own part, I can say that this book has improved my happiness, and that every time I open it I find something valuable.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would you like to be a happier person? 3 April 2009
Its all we really want isnt it? The key driver of all our motivation in life is usually the desire to be happier, more content, more fulfilled.. When we get what we want we may feel happier; for a while, then we move onto the next thing we want and so on, this is the "hedonistic treadmill". Get off the treadmill and realise that you already have everything you need :o)

Happiness is a state of mind, this book may help you to attain it


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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading 21 Oct 2007
I doubt any review could do this book justice. It is a rare thing: a book that is both powerful & deep . . . AND light and joyous; it is both well written, so that reading it is a pleasure, and thought-provoking and even challenging, such that we might need to allow many weeks if not months to allow it's messages to sink in.

Matthieu admits that he is a happy man and this shines through in every chapter. So too does both his knowledge and life experiences of both scientific and Buddhist thinking and practice. His ability to blend these two, often apparently contradictory schools, into a coherent and convincing approach to his subject is a special talent. Besides achieving all this in 'A guide to developing life's most important skill' (the sub-title) this true sage of an author also makes the topic accessible to anyone and everyone.

This book should be a standard text in all schools. It's message is not only profound but urgently needed in today's world: we CAN all be happy! OK, it might not be a quick fix, but after reading this book you'll be ready, and well prepared, for a journey to our natural, inner essence: of happiness through awareness and compassion.

Amongst the many positive qualities of this book are the regular exercises to help the reader understand his points through first-hand experience . . . and wonderful quotes from the many wise-men (from many different backgrounds and faiths) he's had the pleasure to share his path with.

There is perhaps one compliment that only another author can give to another: if I had to recommend a book to somebody and had to choose between one of my own and this one . . . I'd choose Matthieu's every time . . . and be happy to do so.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Art of Happiness is all in the commitment to practice what to practice...
I chose this book after the passing of my dearest friend.
Having reached late middle age I want to feel I am certain of my goals, no longer drifting, questioning what is right... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sitaram
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you
Published 2 months ago by Lana Germanova
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by joseph rigby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book in great condition
Published 2 months ago by Marcel Bird Wieteska
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book at least once in their lifetime!
Like: Book is quite an easy read. simple to understand.
Dislike: interview style not preferred. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jeff
4.0 out of 5 stars Has been helpful
I have been reading a lot of this kind of book recently and this one is one of the better ones. I haven't given it five stars as it wasn't life changing, but I will go back to it. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good & Worth Repeated Listening
I enjoyed this CD a lot. I also have the Kindle version of Matthieu Ricard's book, but found that fairly turgid. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gerard
5.0 out of 5 stars gift
My daughter loved this book I bought for her, she said it made her feel much happier! She loves the author.
Published 9 months ago by Rosy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I really like Matthieu Ricard as an author, I find his books easy to read and accessible. But that's just my opinion!
Published 9 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite an exciting book
I chose this book because I am not happy very often
I liked the examples and role playing
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know how to be more happy
Published 12 months ago by C E England
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