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. This is a common theme in some of the more recent happiness book, such as Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World
, simply because it makes the most sense and there has been a surge of research on intentional activities to increase one's happiness.
-you get a slew of activities to increase your happiness such as expressing gratitude, practicing acts of kindness, or increasing flow experiences (readers liking this strategy should be sure to check out the authoritative book on flow aptly titled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
So I think the above represents the major "goodies" in the book, and the info that a typical reader would buy this book to get. However if its more you want, there's also plenty of that. For instance there are plenty of happiness facts cited and even a section on depression.
All-in-all, as you can tell, I really liked this book a lot. If I had to pick one thing I DIDN'T like about it though, it would be it's length. The book is well-over 300 pages and readers of my reviews know that I personally prefer short, to-the-point, practical books. But, when all is said and done, if you want some great happiness info and some practical happiness strategies, check it out. Happy trails!