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Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill Paperback – 1 Jan 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews

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  • Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill
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  • The Art of Meditation
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  • Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (1 Jan. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782394818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782394815
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

A remarkable book... It exudes inspiration and intelligence Independent on Sunday Matthieu Ricard exhorts us to realize the toxic, self-harming nature of anger and envy, get off the roller coaster of alternating happiness and unhappiness, and instead experience the pleasure of being calmly alive and aware. Sunday Times Matthieu Ricard combines the talents of a philosopher and scientist -- George Soros If you want to be happier and better, this is the book you should read -- Richard Layard, author of Happiness: Lessons from New Science

Book Description

This step-by-step guide to achieving happiness is the most significant book of its kind since Daniel Goleman's runaway bestseller, Emotional Intelligence.

'A remarkable book. It is hard to imagine a more convincing guide to that elusive thing: happiness' Pankaj Mishra.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Single most memorable passage(a little bit long, people, so skip to the review if you wish)

“The self obviously cannot be outside the body and the consciousness. If it were an autonomous entity independent of one and the other, it could not be of their essence. Is it simply the sum of their parts, their structure and their continuity? Is the concept of the self simply associated with the body and the consciousness in their entirety?
… The only way out of this dilemma is to consider the self as a mental or verbal designation linked to a dynamic process, to a series of changing relations that incorporate the perception of the outer world, sensation, mental images, emotions, and concepts. The self is merely an idea.
… Buddhism therefore concludes that the self is just a name we give to a continuum, just as we name a river the Ganges or the Mississippi. Such a continuum certainly exists, but only as a convention based upon the interdependence of the consciousness, the body, and the environment. It is entirely without autonomous existence. ”
“How can I expect this understanding of the illusory nature of the ego to change my relationships with my family and the world around me? Wouldn’t such a U-turn be unsettling? Experience shows that it will do you nothing but good. … With no expectation of gain and no fear of loss, we are free to give and to receive. We no longer have the need to think, speak, or act in an affected and selfish way.
In clinging to the cramped universe of the ego, we have a tendency to be concerned exclusively with ourselves. The least setback upsets and discourages us. We are obsessed with our success, our failure, our hopes, and our anxieties, and thereby give happiness every opportunity to elude us.
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As a parent trying to raise two children in London, with a full-on job in IT, I feel challenged regarding finding time to learn how to meditate, though I want to. I think I believe in the cognitive psychology discussed in this book, there is evidence to support it. CBT has helped me somewhat over the years.
I do wonder though how 'natural' it is for humans to be able to follow Buddhist beliefs around interdependence, compassion and altruism, and removing ones ego.
But I think Buddhism with these and other concepts is, when examined in the cold light of day, the best 'religion' out there in terms of sowing the least, or no destruction, and of developing one's best self, even though personally I am going to throw my lot in with the Humanists : let's face it, deep down, everybody today must sense the reality that supernatural beings did not exist on the Earth performing miracles and our Gods exist only in our minds. Perhaps out there, there might be an extremely powerful creator of everything, but that creator, possibly of countless other alien worlds, is not going to favour one set of homo sapiens over another.

Two questions :

1 - Why is Buddhism, with its message of tolerance and compassion to all sentient things, not nearly as successful in its take-up as say one of the rampaging big three monotheistic religions ? It should be vastly more successful. If everybody followed Buddhist principles, the world would be transformed into a beautiful and peaceful place overnight for all sentient creatures. My answer is, that it's too much hard work to follow, to be constantly vigilant around your random thoughts, to keep your emotions of selfishness, anger, envy, revenge etc, at bay.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book....
I thought its gonna be something to make me move and once I finish it Ill see this light path and Ill be happy to take it.
Its not about the people it helped. Its about people it didnt help you need to think about.
I wish it did it for me but unfortunatly didnt.
Im glad if it does it for you but I couldnt find any hapiness after reading the whole book and finishing it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the best books I've ever read. Honestly, this book makes you assess your life, way of thinking, and way of being. I can't just read this the once. This is something I'll be revisiting many times in the future.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this book after the passing of my dearest friend.
Having reached late middle age I want to feel I am certain of my goals, no longer drifting, questioning what is right and what is wrong.
This book is a great tool to achieve certainty of purpose, a daily practice that reiterates what we all know in our hearts to be true.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Superb book, wonderful writing and wisdom...just buy it!
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By A Customer on 19 Mar. 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author shares his experiences with regard to an innermost and altruistic way of being happy. A Very thought provoking read
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a very Soulful CD
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