Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reading. Happily.

It's that wonderful time of year when anything can happen, a chance to begin again and try to be different. We boldly resolve that this year we will lose weight. This year we will find that right person. This year we will land that fabulous job. This year we will be happy

I have been studying happiness for the last five years. Watching the videos. Listening to the experts. Reading the books. How could I pass up Sonia Lyubomirsky’s new book, The Myths of Happiness? Of course I couldn’t.

And I am happy to report that reading The Myths of Happiness was four hours happily spent.

Lyubomirsky focuses on the truth of two quotes: 
Pasteur reminds us, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” and 
Socrates notes, “He who is not contented with what he has, 
Would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

Chapter by chapter, Lyubomirsky examines all the myths of happiness we Americans hide in our hearts---all the I’ll Be Happy When’s and all the I Can’t Be Happy If’s---and explodes them, using a lovely combination of scientific research and case studies.

Turns out, we are much more resilient than we think we are. It's important to know that we will keep walking through great good fortune with scarcely more than a few months’ rise in happiness. And it's eyeopening to learn that we will keep walking through great traumas with scarcely more than a few months’ dip in happiness.

Interesting. Unexpected. Good to know.

For more good books on happiness, I recommend:
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman 
Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Leyman
Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project and Happier at Home 
The Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness
Sonja Lyubomirsky’s earlier book, The How of Happiness.

For more info, take a look at a Today Show piece with Lyubomirsky and Gretchen Rubin:
‘The Myths of Happiness’: Do you know where to find it?

Here's the tour schedule

Wednesday, January 23rd: Positively Present
Thursday, January 24th: Build Your Soul Purpose
Monday, January 28th: Everyone Needs Therapy
Tuesday, January 29th: readerbuzz
Thursday, January 31st: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, February 4th: Balance In Me
Tuesday, February 5th: evenminds
Tuesday, February 5th: Midwife For Your Life
Wednesday, February 6th: A Daring Adventure
Friday, February 8th: The Watered Soul


  1. Seems like we're like-minded! What a great blog, too. I'll come by more often, check out the good reads.

  2. Happily reading about ways to be happier.

  3. Deb, thanks for commenting on my blog post - Myths coming up for me on Thursday. We have read many of the same books on happiness - oh those who love to read. You can read faster than I can - it took me 10 hours for myths.

    In the book, I was also remembered a story I use when counseling...It is about a newlywed couple and the husband comes into the kitchen while his wife is cutting the ends off a roast. Husband asks why? The wife does not know but thinks it makes the meat more tender - she offers to ask her mother who did the same practice.
    When asked her Mother stated basically the same thing so they decided to call Grandmother and find out what she knew.
    Grandmother laughed right out loud
    You silly goose she said - I never had a roasting pan big enough so I cut the meat to fit!

    When it comes to happiness we seem to readily believe what has been presented to us and not question. Questions are important for change.

  4. I have enjoyed Gretchen Rubin's books...and I like the look of The Myths of Happiness.

    I truly believe that we can decide to be happy with our lives as they are...or maybe that's just contentment. Either way, I'll take it!


  5. You make these sound wonderful. I know I am often attracted to books like this but sometimes I'm not so happy reading them.
    There's such a range of quality in whatever this genre is-- psychology, self-help, and sometimes I just find myself arguing or annoyed. The lay neuroscience stuff has the most appeal for me.
    How do you select the best? And stay so happy reading it?

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  7. Such good questions. How do we select the best books to read about happiness? And how do we stay so happy reading it?

    I focus on choosing books that (1) are based on scientifically tested ideas and (2) are relatively easy to put into practice. The best how-to books I have listed at the bottom of this post. This book is the best how-not book I've read.

  8. Sounds like a great book, and I appreciate the suggestions for other books on the same topic. I also had fun browsing through some of your other posts! Here's my Sunday Post/Sunday Salon.

  9. I'm glad you found this to be time well spent.

    Thanks for being on the tour!


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