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

76 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; New edition edition (11 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: German
  • ISBN-10: 1843545586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843545583
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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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

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 85 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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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Veronique on 8 Sept. 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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28 of 28 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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19 of 19 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Austin on 2 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. It needs a bit of self-discipline to work through it - it isn't a casual read - but it is well worth making the effort.

The author, Matthieu Ricard, is a Buddhist monk with an academic background in genetics. More recently, he has conducted research into the neurological effects of meditation. Meditation is, indeed, very much commended in this book, and the author draws on both the natural sciences and Buddhist tradition to present an approach for increasing your 'happiness skills'. It's probably worth mentioning that Mattheiw Ricard has been described by The Independent newspaper as 'the happiest man in the world' (a claim prompted by results of an MRI scan of his left pre-frontal cortex).

Some readers of a resolutely secular persuasion may find the idea of some Buddhist content off-putting, as may those of other religious traditions. In fact, the Buddhist content, though definitely present, isn't overly emphasised. The author does not attempt to indoctrinate the reader; essentially, he is offering a methodology - and a frequently effective one at that.

This book is not a miracle cure for unhappiness, but it is a beneficial 'prescription' for improving emotional well-being.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Hadrian Hugh on 10 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Despite my deeply ingrained skeptical outlook, this book just made sense to me and was truly practical and resultful, if one were to practically take and manipulate its advice.

It covers the main poisons to happiness and how to tackle, giving a wide range of evidence to prove its credibility and at every point you are likely to relate to what is being said. Without a fascistic, prompting style it makes you WANT to change.

One of the main ideas that persists in the book is the fact that happiness is acquired and is NOT pleasure - there is a distinct and fine line. Pleasure is a basic human desire based on entertaining the senses, which with overload leads to apathy or even sickness. Happiness is the basic, transcending well-being that is for the most part independent of what is around; it is based on altruism and virtouous will.

A much recommended, engrossing read for such a small price.
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