Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.
After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.
We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.
10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.
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Myself, skeptical at baseline, found welcome reassurance regarding Mr. Harris' transparency regarding his reservations at traditional interpretations of meditation (as well as all else comprising the human condition), and satisfying relief when Mr. Harris keyed sharply into questionable aspects of meditation and the phylosophy regarding the world-view of meditational luminaries. This book is for the skeptic, and is a litmus test of validitiy into the applicable use of practical application of meditation, conceptual constructs (beneficial and destructive) to empower a better life experience. Give it a try: whether you find it relevent or no, it will be illuminating. As a highly skeptical and near-compulsive fact-checker, I found this work deeply worthwhile as a 7+ hour listen/read. I started with Tolle, and this has led me to absolute feelings of hope and positive encouragement in my own life. I look forward to the evolution of the integration of mindfulness and meditation into commonsense activities of day-to-day life, much as the activity of physical activity has, recently, become commonsense activity for improved quality of life.
Love it but....
Love the podcast...good info and entertaining...but please take a look at the difference in the volume between the host and the guests. My husband and I listen often in the car and find ourselves turning the volume down when Dan speaks then having to turn it back up when the guest speaks.
This book was fantastic. Dan Harris is funny & down-to-earth, and his experience is completely relatable and realistic . He takes the woo-woo (his term) out of meditation & is straight forward and honest about all the issues he went through to get to where he is now.
This book, however, doesn’t teach you how to meditate. It’s more of an autobiography—his journey from anxious, war correspondent suffering panic attacks on air and self medicating with drugs, to clean, zen meditator who has still kept his edge.
I’m looking forward to the release of his next book, “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” this December, which looks like it will be an actual how-to. In the meantime, I’ve been convinced to use my Headspace meditation app more regularly.