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The How Of Happiness: A Practical Guide to Getting The Life You Want Paperback – 4 Feb 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (4 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749952466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749952464
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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"

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book out of curiosity - not because I felt particularly unhappy, but because I wondered how I could be even happier. After reading the introduction I was hooked and expected the book to be truly interesting as it was written by an academic researcher specialised in positive psychology.

As someone with a scientific background myself, I was pleased to read in the introduction that "The How of Happiness is different from many self-help books as it represents a distillation of what researchers of the science of happiness, including myself, have uncovered in their empirical investigations. Every suggestion that I offer is supported by scientific research; if evidence is mixed or lacking on a particular subject, I plainly say so." (p.3). The author then goes on to explain that only double-blind experiments with participants chosen at random can determine whether a claim is true, which are often missing in other books and magazines providing advice on how to become happier. Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to these expectations. Mrs Lyubomirsky often resorts to unscientific anecdotes and personal stories (isolated cases) to illustrate her methods. There is hardly anything scientific past the introduction. It's just another book of advice like any other one. It may be based on serious research, but unless you decide to check all the references in the notes section, very little is explained. You just have to trust her. That's not a very convincing approach.

Overall I found the book annoyingly repetitive, with lots of empty sentences stating the obvious or things that are common sense.
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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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