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The How Of Happiness: A Practical Guide to Getting The Life You Want [Paperback]

Sonja Lyubomirsky
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 20 Dec 2007 --  
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Book Description

20 Dec 2007
The key tenet of The How of Happiness is that every human being has a happiness 'set point' which, depending on how high or low it is, can determine how positive or negative they feel. The book offers a practical approach to help readers increase their set point, and so find a level of happiness above that which they would normally feel, and feel more satisfaction in life. Based on scientific research and trials, this is a groundbreaking book that offers a practical plan to enable readers to achieve a more positive outlook at home, at work and in their personal life. It will also be of enormous benefit to the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from depression in the UK - it provides the tools to feel better about life.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (20 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316733369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316733366
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,337,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Finally we have a self-help book from a reputable scientist whose advice is based on the best experimental data." -Daniel Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness" "Is lasting happiness attainable or a pipe dream? For the last eighteen years, University of California-Riverside professor of psychology Sonja Lyubomirsky has studied this question, and what she reports might even sway pessimists." -"U.S. News & World Report" "Lyubomirsky's central point is clear: a significant portion of what is called happiness . . . is up for grabs. Taking some pages out of the positive psychology playbook, she coaches readers on how to snag it."-"The New York Review of Books" "The right place to look for science-based advice on how to become happier." -Martin Seligman, author of "Learned Optimism" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

THE HOW OF HAPPINESS is about how to find lasting happiness. Based on scientific research and trials, this book charts new territory in popular psychology. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "How" of Happiness Indeed 10 Dec 2008
By Beth
Format:Paperback
This book is one of the more readable "do-it-yourself" happiness books out there. By that, I mean that your average person can sit down and read the book, understand what it is saying, and come away with some practical advice. This is even more of gem when you consider that it was written by someone who has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology. Many times writing can come across more technical than it needs to be when a Phd. writes for the popular read. Not the case here.

The first thing I liked about this book was the fact that it was written by someone who actually makes their living by studying happiness. Serious happiness readers like myself will be glad to know that the author is not only well-published in peer-reviewed journals, but is also an associate editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology- the field's academic journal. What more do you want?

So we're off to a good start with this one. Instead of giving you a blow-by-blow of each chapter, I think this particular book review lends itself better to telling potential buyers some of things they can expect from it:

-you will be able to determine your current level of happiness on a scale that the author has developed and validated. The good thing about this is that you can re-check you happiness levels after doing some of the suggested activities to see if they actually boosted your happiness levels (like you wouldn't know anyway, but being a researcher myself, I like to be able to quantify things)

-you will learn what determines your happiness. The book points out three major things: circumstances, your genetic set-point, and intentional activity. Since intentional activities is the area that offers the most potential to increase your happiness, the book's strategies come from this area.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I read this book when I was feeling mildly depressed and it has helped so much I have bought copies for several friends. We all understand that if you want to keep your body fit there are several kinds of exercises you can do: strength training, cardio, flexibility etc. So why do we take our mental health less seriously?

I have a science background and work with statistics every day, so I was impressed with the depth and breadth of the research covered in this book. The engaging anecdotes keep it interesting, some moments made me laugh and others reminded me how easy it is to feel dragged down by the weight of circumstances in life. It's a very practical book, there are questionnaires to fill in and activities to carry out, the activities suggested all work in lifting your mood but some will have a more long lasting effect than others - there is even a quick quiz that will help you find out which activities will suit you best, depending on your personality type, likes and dislikes.

The only thing I disliked about this edition was the subtitle 'A practical guide to getting the life you want' because as the book makes clear, happiness is not something you get. If it were you would get used to it and go back to being the way you were before. A happy life is something you can actively choose to live, by strengthening your friendships, expressing your gratitude properly, celebrating successes, taking time to savour the good things in life and giving generously of your time and gifts. It's not easy and it takes effort and application - but so does staying physically fit. So maybe it should be a guide to living the life you want, or being the person you want to be.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars happiness book 21 April 2010
Format:Paperback
Really, really good book. I wouldn't normally advocate self help books, but I found this one really useful. For me it acted more as a life skills book and is great for people you maybe didn't have the benefit of guidance and advice whilst growing up. The great thing about this book is that its all based on empirical evidence and studies and not just the experiences of a single individual. The only thing I would say though is that in my experience the reading of this book should become part of your daily routine as like any type of learning it requires consistency and patience.

I would also suggest the audio version as this can be listened to while carrying out other tasks.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on happiness. 11 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
0 A really excellant book on 'happines skills'.This really the best of the recent books on happiness and I think it would be invaluable for people with depression as well as everyone else.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awful cover - great book 28 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I very nearly didn't buy this book because of its awful cover and tired marketing slogan "Get the Life you Want". But it's one of the best books on happiness - first rate and well-written by a genuine research academic. Much better than Martin Seligman any day.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty useless 1 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book out of curiosity - not because I felt particularly unhappy, but because I wondered how I could be even happier. After reading the introduction I was hooked and expected the book to be truly interesting as it was written by an academic researcher specialised in positive psychology.

As someone with a scientific background myself, I was pleased to read in the introduction that "The How of Happiness is different from many self-help books as it represents a distillation of what researchers of the science of happiness, including myself, have uncovered in their empirical investigations. Every suggestion that I offer is supported by scientific research; if evidence is mixed or lacking on a particular subject, I plainly say so." (p.3). The author then goes on to explain that only double-blind experiments with participants chosen at random can determine whether a claim is true, which are often missing in other books and magazines providing advice on how to become happier. Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to these expectations. Mrs Lyubomirsky often resorts to unscientific anecdotes and personal stories (isolated cases) to illustrate her methods. There is hardly anything scientific past the introduction. It's just another book of advice like any other one. It may be based on serious research, but unless you decide to check all the references in the notes section, very little is explained. You just have to trust her. That's not a very convincing approach.

Overall I found the book annoyingly repetitive, with lots of empty sentences stating the obvious or things that are common sense.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The How of Happiness
Sorry but this is yet another self help book which says much the same as all the others, there is nothing original or inspiring about it
Published 18 days ago by Chloe Fox-Lambert
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but not gripping
This is interesting and underscores many of the researched suggestions, but not as interesting a read as some of the other books such as Richard Wiseman's 59 Seconds. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. Nancy H. Radford
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent practical help
Really enjoy reading this book, it make me happy! This is a book for life that I will pick up again and again to remind myself of the strategies. Read more
Published 12 months ago by HazelfromEssex
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm very HAPPY to have found such a good book!
An excellent book, that is easy to read and understand and that is based on proven scientific research. Quite simply - it works!! Read more
Published 15 months ago by Stuart of Nottingham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
It arrived quickly and was well wrapped/protected. The book itself is great, I'm only part way through it, but it's very informative. It is clear and easy to understand. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mell
4.0 out of 5 stars Happiness can be taught
This book what's a lot of practical ideas and exercises which you h hacan use to help change your life towards being more happy; happiness is not just a state of being, but rather... Read more
Published 16 months ago by A. Rawcliffe
5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward and informative.
I am not usually a reader of self help books because I dont think anyone can truly know what another person is going through. Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2011 by Ripley
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one I've read in genre
What I liked about this self-help book was that it was not based on anecdotal evidence but on empirical studies, in contrast to many of the genre. Read more
Published on 27 Aug 2011 by Pieter van Dillewijn
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read.......
I have read a number of the current texts about happiness, and this is by far and away the best. No other book that I have read on this subject sets out in such clear detail what... Read more
Published on 31 May 2011 by John
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book.
A blueprint of the most powerful happiness enhancing activities that we can proactively engage in. Also well laid out and easily digestible.
Published on 26 Oct 2010 by oliver stevens
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