6 Feb 2013


Book 2 read for ....
- Emotion category
(For details click HERE)


Can you learn to be happier?

YES .... according to the teacher of Harvard University's most popular and life-changing course. One out of every five Harvard students has lined up to hear Tal Ben-Shahar's insightful and inspiring lectures on that ever elusive state: HAPPINESS.

Whether you are a stressed out 'rat racer', a pleasure-seeking 'hedonist' or a ready to give up 'nihilist', Happier gives you a complete crash course on the often-elusive subject of happiness to help you live the life you love - and love the life you live.
..... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE Chapter 1: The Question Of Happiness): I was sixteen years old when I won the Israeli national squash championship.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 36): To be happy, we have to feel that, on the whole, whatever sorrows, trials, and tribulations we may encounter, we still experience the joy of being alive.

MY THOUGHTS: A cynic as far as most 'self help' books go, having received this one free in a newspaper I admit curiosity got the better of me.

Amazed that there are any individuals out there who invest time and, even more surprisingly, money, trying to figure out if they are truly happy and, if not, what they, with the aid of this book (priced at almost £14), can do to rectify the situation, it would be all too easy to make fun of the message of 'Can You Learn To Be Happy? Happier' and so I'll stick to my opinions on the writing of the book.

According to one academic one of the most popular courses at Harvard university, though hardly what I'd describe as rocket science 'Happier' is a short, very readable book that, thankfully not overly scholarly, is written in such a way as to be accessible to all.

Set out in three parts ('What is happiness?' 'Happiness applied' and, 'Meditations on happiness') this is a concise largely 'sensible' read with easily 'doable' exercises which, if nothing else, got me thinking. 

Great as an introduction to the discipline of Positive psychology, I can't help but think this might not be taken as seriously as it might be due to the whole 'self help' feel to it.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Not one for the shelves.

Disclaimer #1: Removal of any part of this post without my express consent is considered copyright infringement. This post was created by and for Petty Witter @ Pen and Paper. If you are reading this post on any other site please contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

I tend to stay away from self-help books but I can see why this might be tempting to some readers.

Naida said...

This sounds like a good one Tracy, I like that momorable moment. Sometimes self-help books do surprise me.

Jean said...

Self help books always come off as arrogant to me. "If you could only be more like me, your life would be perfect like mine."

Kelly said...

I'm one who doesn't usually go for this kind of thing. It certainly fit your challenge category well.

fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I am in agreement with many of your previous commenters, in that I generally try to steer clear of self help books, although I know that many people benefit from them.

I am definitely in the nihilist camp, if the author is to be believed and I am generally considered to be an extreme pessimist, by all my family and friends.

My instinctive thought would be, "The only reason the book was free with the newspaper, was because no-one was prepared to pay good money for it!"

Just be thankful it was only a thin book and didn't take too long to read,


Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Hm... I donno... not one for these type of books. I like those that share their own experience better. Usually much more interesting and you can see it put into practice.

Betty Manousos said...

sometimes a good self-help book can play the role of a mentor or a friend- whether you're a teen or a grown-up..
we all get so engrossed with helpless feelings at times, and need that extra bit of inspiration to help us move along...
this sounds like a good one.


Suko said...

I'd actually be happy to read this book. And I love the Harvard connection. :)

I was listening to some talk about what makes people happy, on the radio. I'm not sure if it was in relation to this book or not, as I only listened to a few minutes of the show. What makes people happy? Seems that the "little things" are absolutely essential to happiness, including smiles and other small gestures of kindness. We all have our daily challenges, but we can also have "happy moments" and a general sense of happiness. :)

Jenners said...

I'm leery of these types of books too … but I would totally sign up for that course if I was Harvard student.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I haven't read many self help books. I am glad that they are able to help some people to feel better. Interesting review!