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10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My…

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without… (2014)

by Dan Harris

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Interesting story of his life experience and his process of getting involved in meditation. There is a lot of humor and his move into meditation is very down to earth. The book is not designed to teach meditation, but there is an appendix with good information on technique for a beginner. ( )
  ajlewis2 | Jul 11, 2018 |
My sister told me about the 10% happier podcasts and I had listened to a few of them and enjoyed them but somehow the new podcasts never updated and this book slipped from my mind. I took a mindfulness course and was thinking more about it when I suddenly saw this book in a Little Free Library and grabbed it. I must say that it is compulsively readable. Harris tells a story well and his personal story before finding his way to meditation is an interesting look inside network news and reporting, as well as him and his own character. I like the way he remains a skeptic even as he urges us all to meditate. Despite his attempts at a summings up at the end, I think he is still on a journey and it has made me want to listen to more podcasts and see where he continues to go with it. It is certainly inspiring me to return to my own mindfulness practice and overall to examine my inner life. Now to see where some happy serendipity will next take this book.
  amyem58 | May 25, 2018 |
Admittedly, when I picked up this book, I had no idea what I was in for. The book was good. At least 10% better than I thought it would be. ;) Like another reviewer stated previously, as soon as I read the author state "The voice in my head is an asshole" I knew this was the sort of book that I could enjoy. My inner critic tends to the realm of jerkish also. What I really didn't expect, was a not-quite-apologetic but down to earth and unassuming vote for meditation as a truly valid tool to make you appreciate and enjoy your life more: in the real world. And yes, maybe even end up 10% happier. I could recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about meditation from a somewhat unlikely modern source. ( )
  Ainevethe | May 19, 2018 |
A great story. I loved the way he described the experiences which I could relate to - specifically about being on retreat - having a mouthful of saliva! But better, the way he describes his journey into meditation practice, his skepticism, and how he benefitted nevertheless, I found to be insightful and inspiring. He also includes no-nonsense how-to at the back of the book, and also a really clear explanation as to what meditation actual is. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in this stuff - and it gets a rare five stars from me. ( )
1 vote jvgravy | Mar 16, 2018 |
Best for: People who find meditation interesting but maybe aren’t ready to jump into reading the Dalai Lama’s works just yet.

In a nutshell: TV journalist has panic attack on air; tries to do something about it.

Worth quoting:
“Make the present moment your friend rather than your enemy.”
“Acceptance is not passivity. Sometimes we are justifiably displeased. What mindfulness does is create some space in your head so you can, as the Buddhists say, ‘respond’ rather than simply ‘react.’
“Perhaps ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this useful?’”

Why I chose it: Over the holidays I was visiting my parents, and they often have morning news on. Mr. Harris was on promoting his newest book. I was about to move across the world, so decided that maybe a thick hardcover wasn’t the best purchase; then I saw this one (which is a few years old) and picked it up instead.

Review: I’ve meditated before. I’ve read books on Buddhism and mindfulness and meditation. I even have a little meditation timer. My partner meditates. I haven’t done it in awhile, so this seemed like a good idea for what has ended up being some of the most stressful weeks of my life.

Mr. Harris has worked for ABC news for years, hosting at times the weekend edition of Good Morning America, as well as reporting segments for the national evening news. He also had a panic attack on TV one time, which led him to reevaluate how he was living his life.

Turns out that part of that panic attack was related to cocaine use (hello!), but also by his constant need to be in his thoughts. So he took the opportunities alloted to him as a journalist to research more about meditation and mindfulness, interviewing folks like Eckard Tolle, Depak Chopra, and even the Dalai Lama himself. This book is the story both of how he overcame his skepticism as well as how meditation has helped him in his life.

I appreciated how Mr. Harris was upfront about his faults and flaws, and didn’t act as though meditation fixed all the things in his life immediately, or even ever. In fact, his overall premise is that it can help you be about 10% happier. That seems reasonable. I also appreciated that he did look at the religious aspect of it, but there were definitely some moments where I wondered if this was the equivalent of the 20-something white woman who decides to teach yoga without really investigating the history behind it. Is this another example of white westerners picking and choosing things from other cultures without properly respecting them? I’m not sure.

That said, I’ve meditated a bit since I moved 7000 miles from home last week. It’s been exhausting, stressful, and at times a bit scary (I mean turning my cats over to cargo at 3AM, knowing we wouldn’t see them again for at least 24 hours was horrible), but as we’ve faced unforeseen challenges (who knew that it’s extraordinarily difficult to internationally wire money from credit unions ?) I’ve mostly been able to sort of keep my shit kind of together by taking to heart some ideas from this book. Especially the “is this useful” concept. Yes, I can be worried about a lot of things, but once I’ve done what I can do, that worry is only giving me a headache and/or stomachache. It was useful in helping me to be careful in the steps I took, but now it’s just a literal pain.

So am I going to meditate every day? Maaaaaybe. Maybe not. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jan 19, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062265423, Hardcover)

Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.

10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:58 -0400)

"A spiritual book written for--and by--someone who would otherwise never read a spiritual book, 10% HAPPIER is both a deadly serious and seriously funny look at mindfulness and meditation as the next big public health revolution"--

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