12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Happy for No Reason,
This review is from: Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out (Paperback)
Written by the author of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Hearts and Rekindle the Spirits of Women (Chicken Soup for the Soul), this is one of the most popular happiness books around. While the author isn't a bona fide positive psychology researcher, that's not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to happiness books- although opinions vary.
Some people think that the best happiness books are written by the positive psychology researchers themselves- because they know the info the best. On the other hand, there are excellent happiness books around written by non-happiness researchers, such as Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World -penned by a physical therapist who began studying happiness after wondering how some of his patients in the hospital could be so happy- despite being so sick or faced with a grave prognosis. Sometimes its nice to get a non-happiness researcher's point of view- to avoid the inherent biases that people have when they discuss and write about their own research. You be the judge- on to the book.
The idea presented is to get the reader to become "Happy for No Reason"- which the book defines as true happiness that isn't dependent on external circumstances. You can then take a questionnaire to see how close you are to being "Happy for No Reason."
So if you're not quite there yet, how does the book intend to get you there? By several ways:
-you'll learn three guiding principles that will help you get past the common blocks to happiness
-you'll learn how to apply the "Law of Attraction" to being happier (the author was featured in the mega-bestseller The Secret which focuses on this law)
-you'll learn about a seven-step program to become "Happy for No Reason". Each step has three "Happiness Habits" with corresponding exercises.
-the author interviewed 100 happy people and shares 21 of their stories that define what it means to be "Happy for No Reason"- stories reminiscent of the "Chicken Soup" series.
A few comments. First, having read much happiness literature, readers should know that some of the things the book suggests you do to become happier ARE research based, such as focusing on gratitude (readers can check out Emmon's book Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier for more on expressing gratitude), while other advice, such as "trust life's unfolding" have NOT been shown to increase happiness levels in controlled trials.
Also, it should be obvious by my brief synopsis that the book has a lot of stuff for the reader to "do" in order to become happier. And, if readers "do" the exercises and become happier, the reason they're happier is because of the things they've done. This kinda goes against the whole point of the book- which is to show us how to become happier for NO reason. This confused me a bit.
Logic aside, there's plenty of value in this book. Happiness books written for the popular read seem to fall into one of two general categories. They're either mainly based on scientific evidence and give you research-tested techniques OR they primarily give you advice and things to think about to help you "reframe" your thinking. Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out seems to fit in the latter category- and for that I can recommend it to happiness searchers everywhere. Happy trails!