Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I'll admit it, I have a weakness for self-help books. I have convinced myself that the path to lasting love, professional success, and true happiness, or at the very least, an organized closet, is just a page away. As I'm busy discovering the Secret, following my own North Star, awakening my Emotional Intelligence, and contemplating What Color is my Parachute, I occasionally come across a real gem. Harvard professor and psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar's enjoyable new book Happier is one of these lucky finds. Based on a class he has taught to literally thousands of Harvard undergraduates, Happier combines an academic study of Positive Psychology, a favorite topic of mine, with suggestions for applying these principles in our own lives. Ben-Shahar is influenced by Freud, who studied the pursuit of pleasure, and Frankl, who contemplated the search for meaning. Happiness is found in a combination of enjoying pleasure in the present moment along with the pursuit of meaning, purpose, and contribution as a future goal. Our goals keep us on the right track and grant us the freedom to enjoy the journey along the way. Hard work and achievement are paths to happiness, along with the simple joy of the fulfillment of the present moment. Ben-Shahar guides us to applying these guidelines to our education, our workplace, and our relationships. This book is a very entertaining and enjoyable read with valuable lessons to enhance our own happiness.


At 9:17 AM, Blogger Tess said...

This made me laugh - I have all the four books you mention. In fact I think I've bought about three successive annual editions of Parachute without ever working through the entire book...
This one that you've reviewed sounds good, I think I'll get it. I like the bit about "meaning, purpose and contribution" as well as the present moment. It's those characteristics that, personally, I found really lacking in The Secret, for example.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Anne said...

Thanks Tess, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yes, Happier seems to have a little more depth to it. Hope you enjoy it!


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