It’s Sunday — Be Happy :-)


I now understand why Jonathan Haidt‘s The Happiness Hypothesis is the number #1 ranked book in “Brain Pickings Blog’s” Happiness Must Read List. In an nutshell it’s “Happiness 101”. It definitely put a good wrapper around the happiness and neuroscience books that I’ve recently read. Most of the negative reviews on Amazon are about lack of depth, and this book is not about depth. This is a very good survey of happiness writings.

My favorite quote is on “Wisdom”

Page 242 a good place to look for wisdom, therefore, is where you least expect to find it: in the minds of your opponents. You already know the ideas common to your side. If you can take off the blinders of the myth of pure evil, you might see some good ideas for the first time.

The Progress Principle – “things won are done; Joy’s soul lies in the doing”

Page 84 we call this the progress principle: pleasure comes more from making progress towards goals than from achieving them. Shakespeare captured it perfectly: things won are done; Joy’s soul lies in the doing.

Taking Pot Shots at Buddha & St Augustine – “do as we say, not as we did”

Page 132 do as we say, and not as we did. Buddha and St. Augustine for example, drank their fill of passionate love as young men and came out only much later as opponents of sexual attachments.

What can one change to be happy?

Page 100 so now you know where to shop. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, stop wasting your money on conspicuous consumption. As a first step, work less, earn less, accumulate less and consume more family time and other enjoyable activities.

I found Chapter 9 Divinity with or without God to be rather mind-blowing. Haidt argues that man is wired to perceive sacredness and divinity. His argument is rather good.

I first heard about this book in the Heath Brothers “Switch”. They take Haidt’s “Elephant and Rider” metaphor, introduced in Chapter 1 The Divided Self, and flesh it out for real world use.

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