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The Happiness Advantage: The Seven…

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That… (edition 2010)

by Shawn Achor

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Title:The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work
Authors:Shawn Achor
Info:Crown Business (2010), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Currently reading

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The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor



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I am torn about this work. While I actually believe in the validity of the key principles listed in this work- I felt like the science is a little shaky. Mostly- I felt like Anchor took liberties with his applications of the specific studies to support his arguments. Beyond that, I guess I remain unconvinced of the true scientific foundation of positive psychology. I agree that we should explore the exceptionally well-adjusted, productive member of society--- as well as the dysfunctional. However, I feel like the field has not been able to lock down “happiness” in any measurable, scientifically verifiable way. It all seems a touch flaky. However, the field of psychology has been convincing people for years that they are ‘depressed, repressed, anxious, deviant, manic’ – Hell, maybe now they’ll be able to convince people they’re happy. :)
Overview of the 7 Principles:
Principle #1: The Happiness Advantage. By retraining our brains to focus on the positive and by employing other Positive Psychology principles (such as the importance of nurturing relationships and social support), we improve our productivity and performance. This statement is backed up by empirical studies conducted amongst student and professional populations.
Principle #2: The Fulcrum and the Lever. In this case, the fulcrum is our mindset – the way we perceive the world and events that take place in it. The lever represents our potential power and possibility we believe we have. By moving the fulcrum (our mindset) in the right direction we can exert a lot more power when moving the lever.
Principle #3: The Tetris Effect. By training our brains to look for positive patterns, rather than focusing on the negative, we train ourselves to observe and seize on opportunities. Happiness, gratitude and optimism all place us in a much better position to capitalize on opportunities as and when they arise.
Principle #4: Falling Up. Failure or extremely negative experiences can have two results: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Post-Traumatic Growth. The latter is achieved when the individual believes her behavior can still have a positive impact on her life and she takes small concrete steps to demonstrate accordingly; when she is supported by a strong set of relationships and when she changes the way she describes the trauma that occurred.
Principle #5: The Zorro Circle. When faced with crisis or threat we can control emotions by focusing on manageable, small goals and tasks that we can immediately handle. We can then move on to the bigger ones, without being immediately overwhelmed.
Principle #6: The 20-Second Rule. Smaller tasks that are easier to achieve are a great place to start when it comes to forming a habit. By focusing on removing barriers, however small, we can achieve significant changes in habits and overall behavior. The author cites the example of him removing the 20 seconds it took to get his guitar from his closet. By leaving the guitar out he managed to start practicing as he wanted to.
Principle #7: Social Investment. Social support networks are one of the most reliable predictors of future success. Making an investment to enhance those relationships, both in and out of the workplaces, reaps rewards that range from an extended lifespan to improved performance at work.
( )
  Alidawn | Jan 16, 2016 |
I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, which was read by the author. It has good information and great ideas on how people can apply its principles in the workplace. ( )
  writerfidora | Oct 26, 2015 |
I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, which was read by the author. It has good information and great ideas on how people can apply its principles in the workplace. ( )
  AdrienneJS | May 18, 2015 |
If you want a little more happiness in your life, this is the book for you. A perfect mix between academic statistics and Texan colloquialisms. Unpretentious and uplifting. This is a must read for all. ( )
  amylofgreen | Apr 1, 2015 |
If you believe that you'll finally achieve happiness in this life when you've ... (fill in the blank: found the right career, gone to the right college, married the right person, worked enough hours) ... you aren't alone. In fact, the vast majority of us believe that happiness follows ideal and idyllic circumstances.

Welcome psychologist Shawn Achor, author of THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE: THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY THAT FUEL SUCCESS AND PERFORMANCE AT WORK, to the stage. His book completely upends the aforementioned assumption. Instead, he posits that happiness, the focus of the relatively new field of positive psychology, precedes our achieving all the other goals and desires we have in life.

Just the premise of the work fascinated me when I picked it up to read. Indeed, Achor knows whereof he speaks, as a man with authority and expert knowledge on the topic. He moves swiftly through the seven principles he contends contribute to the attainment of our ideal life circumstances.

Each of those principles is well-researched and presented in everyday language in a conversational style that makes the information given seem that much more possible to understand and implement, regardless of your chosen career or interests.

Such principles include "The Tetris Effect," whereby the brain can be trained to look at situations from various angles and "capitalize on possibility" (87). Another is the "The 20-Second Rule," which has to do with the process of transforming bad habits into better, more productive or healthier habits by reducing and even eliminating the typical obstacles that stand in the way of making changes.

What is so intriguing about the premise of the book is that the field of positive psychology is still young and growing. The content of the book is revolutionary enough, and easily applicable enough, to warrant personal study and widespread use. I've found innumerable points to implement in my own life as means with which to tackle my work routines and processes, to get where I most want to go.

I can only recommend that you pick up the work and see its potential applicability in your life for yourself.

# # #

Author: Shawn Achor
ISBN: 978-0-307-59154-8
Purchase here: http://amzn.to/1By4U9D

Disclaimer: The opinions I have expressed are my own. ( )
  Eleanore_Trupkiewicz | Feb 18, 2015 |
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To my parents, both teachers,

who have dedicated their lives to the belief that we can all

shine brighter
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If you observe the people around you, you'll find most individuals follow a formula that has been subtly or not so subtly taught to them by their schools, their company, their parents, or society. (Introduction)
I applied to Harvard on a dare.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307591549, Hardcover)

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.
Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential. Among the principles he outlines:

   • The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see—and seize—opportunities wherever we look.
   • The Zorro Circle: how to channel our efforts on small, manageable goals, to gain the leverage to gradually conquer bigger and bigger ones.
   • Social Investment: how to reap the dividends of investing in one of the greatest predictors of success and happiness—our social support network

A must-read for everyone trying to excel in a world of increasing workloads, stress, and negativity, The Happiness Advantage isn’t only about how to become happier at work. It’s about how to reap the benefits of a happier and more positive mind-set to achieve the extraordinary in our work and in our lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:44 -0400)

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Recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Achor isolates seven practical, actionable principles that show how to capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve performance and maximize potential.… (more)

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