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Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill Paperback – 11 Jan 2007


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Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill + The Art of Meditation + The Monk and the Philosopher: A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life
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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: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`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

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 69 people found the following review helpful By C. G. Harding on 14 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback
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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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Veronique on 8 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
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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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By David Harris on 12 July 2009
Format: Paperback
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 By G. A. Catney on 3 April 2009
Format: Paperback
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

Regards,

Gerard
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Keith Beasley on 21 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
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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