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The How Of Happiness: A Practical Guide to Getting The Life You Want Paperback – 20 Dec 2007

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Paperback, 20 Dec 2007

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 (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,016,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Beth on 10 Dec. 2008
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By tod on 13 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book delivers a great introduction to the relatively new but increasingly familiar concepts of Positive Psychology. I got this book as part of an process trying to help my daughter who suffers from an eating disorder. I believe there is an underlying unhappiness behind her condition (I am not for a minute suggesting this book is any kind of suitable treatment programme for eating disorders - that would be very irresponsible. I am just providing a context).

I read it first to vet it and passed it on to her without hesitation. She uses it as a key tool in managing her illness and it has coincided with a period of marked improvement. It is not responsible for this improvement but it has definitely been a significant component as one of the many things that have contributed to it.

The point is, like many anorexics, my daughter has a very analytical mind. The approach of this book to happiness is so pragmatic and centred on facts, research and objectively recorded experience, that it chimed with her (and with me) in a way that books which are more vague on the subject do not. The joy of this book is that it systematically details and homes in on practices which are scientifically proven to improve mood, and suggests ways of adopting them. Most importantly, this information is all couched in a writing style and language that makes it accessible and enjoyable to read. It is neither a flowery self-help book, or a dry scientific tome. It is truly a revelation, I am still using it's methods today and so is my daughter - I have recommended the book to others and yes, cliche alert, but I genuinely believe it has changed lives. This is the first book review I have ever written and at 55, I have read a lot of books over the years! - that is how much I rate it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ripley on 3 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
I am not usually a reader of self help books because I dont think anyone can truly know what another person is going through. I get the impression that they are widely generalizing and pidgeon-holeing peoples issues from their writing desks.
This book, however, is actually a work of scientific findings that you can acknowledge and decide what that means to you, or not.
It is not a lovely fluffy floaty explanation of why you feel unhappy, it tells you what you can do about it in an infomal manner that makes it sound realistic that you can reach a happier state of mind.
It speaks of the many different types of unhappiness and gives a variety of options to follow to leave behind negativity. You can choose any number of the options to follow or start with one and increase the strategies as you feel happier.
You dont have to follow any strategy you do not want to try, so there is no feeling of failure that you couldnt even manage to follow apparently simple baby steps.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has never bought a self help book.It may surprise you!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sara Boltman on 20 Dec. 2010
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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