I really enjoyed Howard Cutler’s “The Art of Happiness”. The gist of this book is that US psychiatrist Howard Cutler interviews the Dalai Lama over a period of years. The beauty is that he asks many questions that a regular person would ask. He asks the “newbie” questions that few rarely ask. (ie me ) It makes for a great introduction to the Dalai Lama and Buddhism. I found it to fill in many of the gaps in my model of what the Dalai Lama is about.
Overall the book has 4 simple points ( this is comes from the Cutlers “At Work”)
- The purpose of life is happiness.
- Happiness is determined more by the state of one’s mind than by one’s external conditions, circumstances, or events — at least once one’s basic survival needs are met.
- Happiness can be achieved through the systematic training of our hearts and minds, through reshaping our attitudes and outlook.
- The key to happiness is in our own hands.
The reviews on Amazon are very interesting. There are 238 Five Stars reviews out of a total 413 reviews. The 1 Star Reviews ( 41 of 413 today, about 10% ) are mainly disappointed that this book is written by Howard Cutler and not by the Dalai Lama. The other common disappointment is that this book is an attempt to translate the Dalai Lama’s words for a Western audience.
- Maria Popova has a good list of Happiness Books on the brain pickings blog. 7 Must-Read Books on the Art & Science of Happiness
by Maria Popova
- My next read on this subject is going to be Matthieu Ricard’s Happiness