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The How Of Happiness: A Practical Guide to Getting The Life You Want Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
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"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"
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.See all Product description
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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.
I would also suggest the audio version as this can be listened to while carrying out other tasks.
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!
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Simply put the author (which is apparently a professor of psychology) doesn't know what she is...Read more