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The How of Happiness: A New Approach to…

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want (edition 2007)

by Sonja Lyubomirsky

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Title:The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want
Authors:Sonja Lyubomirsky
Info:Penguin (2007), Kindle Edition, 396 pages
Collections:Your library

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The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky




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Unlike many happiness and self-help books, The How of Happiness is very solidly based in scientific research. The author, Sonja Lyubomirsky, is a psychology professor at UC Riverside with a degree from Stanford who does a great job pulling together current happiness research. The main premise of the book is that 50% of our happiness is inherited, only 10% is determined by circumstance, and 40% of our happiness is determined by our own thoughts and behavior. Activities presented here are intended to affect the proportion of happiness under our control.

I loved the empirical approach the author has taken to determining ways for people to become happier. A dozen happiness increasing actions are described, proceeded by a quiz to help determine the actions most helpful to you. Previous research studies have even been done to show that the activities are more helpful for people if they do those selected by the quiz! The reasons behind all the suggested actions are also explained and nearly every factual statement made is backed up by a citation.

This is one of the very few books I’ve reviewed that I’ve then gone out and purchased. The boy and I are both trying some of the activities and I think having it around as a reference could be helpful. There’s even an evaluation with which to check in periodically to measure whether the exercises are really helping. I have high hopes for it, but I’ll post some updates later once I know how it going.

This review first published on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Nov 6, 2012 |
There are some helpful nuggets in this user-friendly guide to a universal theme: attaining happiness. One of the sub-titles in some editions positions the book as a "scientific approach" to the topic. Indeed, Lyubomirsky skillfully weaves in a number of relevant studies to bolster her assertions. It gets a bit dense and even repetitive in spots. But in general, "The How of Happiness" serves up some practical tips aimed at boosting people's happiness quotients. The first mission involves finding out what makes each of us tick. The author provides an easy-to-administer assessment test. Once the assessment is made, she presents a laundry list of activities that could help people to gain more satisfaction out of daily life. A couple examples: setting up a system that makes it easy to "savor" positive memories as a regular routine, and focusing on accomplishing intrinsic goals. I doubt that many would label this book a ground-breaking work, but I do think it's well worth reading. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Sep 28, 2012 |
I have read 3 books thus far on Positive Psychology and this one offers the best activities and ways to incorporate them into your life, hands down! I strongly recommend this book for every person on the planet. ( )
  amilynnhoward | Feb 29, 2012 |
This book was appealing to me because many times I do feel like I'm not as happy as I could be. I found the topic really interesting, and the book was pretty well written overall. The basic idea is that we have a happiness "set point", and the reason why some people are happier than others is just because they are naturally, genetically born that way. However, you can raise your set point by being conscious of certain activities. Apparently 40% of your happiness can be controlled and changed.

It was an interesting combination of self help book and scientific study. There's a lot of research and evidence to back up the claims, and all of the suggestions are ones that come from Lyubomirsky's research. One thing that needs to be emphasized is that these are not easy, magic cures. It takes dedication to actually make yourself happier. I'm going to try several of them and see if they work - we'll see if I'm any happier!

My biggest complaint is that the book got pretty repetitive. In each section she talked about a different technique or activity, but needed to assert every time that research proves you can become happier and give the same examples of studies she's already mentioned. It was interesting the first time I read it, but after that it was just monotonous.

I think the biggest motivator here is just accepting the idea that you can change your own happiness. Once you accept that, it will be a lot easier to actually do. And at least some of the scientific evidence is very useful in reaching that conclusion. ( )
  beckykolacki | Mar 7, 2011 |
Didn't like this one; typical academia, too sterile, boring, and not at all helpful. The book Happier was 100x better than this. Not recommended. ( )
  greenotter | Oct 16, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159420148X, Hardcover)

You can change your personal capacity for happiness. Research psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky's pioneering concept of the 40% solution shows you how.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Drawing on her own research with thousands of people, psychologist Lyubomirsky has pioneered a detailed yet easy-to-follow plan to increase happiness in our day-to-day lives--in the short and long term. This book that offers a guide to understanding what happiness is, and isn't, and what can be done to bring us all closer to the happy life we envision. Using more than a dozen happiness-increasing strategies, it offers a new way to understand our innate potential for joy and happiness as well as our ability to sustain it in our lives. Lyubomirsky's "happiness strategies" introduce readers to the concept of intentional activities that they can use to achieve a happier life, including exercises in optimism and how best to savor life's pleasures in the here and now. She also helps readers understand the obstacles to happiness as well as how to harness individual strengths to overcome them.--From publisher description.… (more)

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