Jonathan Haidt skillfully combines two genres-philosophical wisdom and scientific research-delighting the reader with surprising insights. He explains, for example, why we have such difficulty controlling ourselves and sticking to our plans; why no achievement brings lasting happiness, yet a few changes in your life can have profound effects, and why even confirmed atheists experience spiritual elevation. In a stunning final chapter, Haidt addresses the grand question "How can I live a meaningful life?," offering an original answer that draws on the rich inspiration of both philosophy and science.
"The Happiness Hypothesis is a wonderful and nuanced book that provides deep insight into the some of the most important questions in life -- Why are we here? What kind of life should we lead? What paths lead to happiness? From the ancient philosophers to cutting edge scientists, Haidt weaves a tapestry of the best and the brightest. His highly original work on elevation and awe -- two long-neglected emotions -- adds a new weave to that tapestry. A truly inspiring book."-- David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating
"In this beautifully written book, Jonathan Haidt shows us the deep connection that exists between cutting-edge psychological research and the wisdom of the ancients. It is inspiring to see how much modern psychology informs life's most central and persistent questions" -- Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
"In our quest for happiness, we must find a balance between modern science and ancient wisdom, between East and West, and between "left brain" and "right brain" risquÃ©on Haidt has struck that balance perfectly, and in doing so has given us the most brilliant and lucid analysis ofvirtue and well-being in the entire literature of positive psychology. For the reader who seeks to understand happiness, my advice is: Begin with Haidt." -- Martin E.P. Seligman, Director, Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Authentic Happiness
"Haidt is a fine guide on this journey between past and present, discussing the current complexities of psychological theory with clarity and humor. . . Haidt's is an open-minded, robust look at philosophy, psychological fact and spiritual mystery, of scientific rationalism and the unknowable ephemeral -- an honest inquiry that concludes that the best life is, perhaps, one lived in the balance of opposites." -- Bookpage
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, lamented St. Paul, and this engrossing scientific interpretation of traditional lore backs him up with hard data. Citing Plato, Buddha and modern brain science, psychologist Haidt notes the mind is like an "elephant" of automatic desires and impulses atop which conscious intention is an ineffectual "rider." Haidt sifts Eastern and Western religious and philosophical traditions for other nuggets of wisdom to substantiate and sometimes critique with the findings of neurology and cognitive psychology. The Buddhist-Stoic injunction to cast off worldly attachments in pursuit of happiness, for example, is backed up by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's studies into pleasure. And Nietzsche's contention that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger is considered against research into post-traumatic growth. An exponent of the "positive psychology" movement, Haidt also offers practical advice on finding happiness and meaning. Riches don't matter much, he observes, but close relationships, quiet surroundings and short commutes help a lot, while meditation, cognitive psychotherapy and Prozac are equally valid remedies for constitutional unhappiness. Haidt sometimes seems reductionist, but his is an erudite, fluently written, stimulating reassessment of age-old issues.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This was an amazing read to say the least. The author is extremely knowledgeable on the topic and adds great sources for his reasoning. I definitely encourage anyone reading my review to read this book. It is informational and will help you achieve that happiness you are searching for.
In the light
In a large but on a small way. A Great Book. It’s a nice book worth your time