The How of Happiness

May 17, 2012 Uncategorized 1

Title: The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want
Author: Sonja Lyubomirsky
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Really awesome self-help book, solidly grounded in research and with specific, actionable suggestions for becoming happier.

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.

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