Happiness – can you learn from a book?

Happiness – can you learn from a book?

I’m pleased to include the following short article: Learning to be happy – by Kim Pierce

Happiness, versus fleeting pleasure, can be learned and practiced. That’s a common thread Dr. Andrew Weil sees running through three books on the topic that he discusses in his December newsletter.

ê¢__‘Ô¢The Science of Happiness by German science journalist Stefan Klein, Ph.D. (Marlowe & Co., $15.95) “asserts that people are ‘programmed for positive feelings.’ ” It looks at the science of the circuitry for positive feelings.

ê¢__‘Ô¢Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by French-born Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard (Little, Brown, $23) holds that “achieving durable happiness requires sustained effort in training the mind and developing a set of human qualities, such as inner peace, mindfulness and altruistic love.”

ê¢__‘Ô¢Stumbling on Happiness by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert (Knopf, $25) isn’t so much about being happy, says Dr. Weil, as it is about people’s poor ability to predict what will make them truly happy. (Hint: It’s not a new car or a bigger house.)

If you’re looking for “how to,” go with Mr. Ricard’s volume. This is a guy who left a career in medical research to study Buddhism in the Himalayas, where he’s also working on studies about the effects of meditation in the brain. Maybe you can’t go to the Himalayas, but you can take away some of the wisdom and practical suggestions he has about cultivating inner peace.

At the risk of sounding self-indulgent I’d also like to add my own book, The Happiness Handbook (Finch) to this list, especially as a great “how to” book.

For more happiness resources (including books, workbooks, CDs and free tip sheets) check out the following page on our website: http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com/products.