Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Spontaneous Happiness” as Want to Read:
Spontaneous Happiness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Spontaneous Happiness

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,061 ratings  ·  169 reviews
Everyone wants to be happy. But what does that really mean? Increasingly, scientific evidence shows us that true satisfaction and well-being come only from within.

Dr. Andrew Weil has proven that the best way to maintain optimum physical health is to draw on both conventional and alternative medicine. Now, in Spontaneous Happiness, he gives us the foundation for attaining a
ebook, 0 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Spontaneous Happiness, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Spontaneous Happiness

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,654)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I picked up this book at my in-laws home and decided that I needed to finish it. The title makes the book sound like some cheesy pop-psychology book about chasing butterflies of happiness, but it was not that way at all. I was riveted right from the introduction where he writes about a "set point of emotional variability" or "emotional sea level" which is not happiness per se but rather peace and contentment. This is not a book obsessed with the idea that we must all be happy all the time. He su ...more
Roni Blanche
For any of you that fall into the black funks -- what I call my dips into depression -- like I do, "Spontaneous Happiness" is a godsend. In fact, the book is as much about fighting off depression as it is about courting happiness. I will admit at times it's a tough read, with lots of psychological lingo, and I've been plowing away for several weeks to finish it, but the results I'm getting in feeling less funk and more happy make the effort well worthwhile.
First, let me say that none of the inf
Dec 03, 2011 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone with a beating heart
Tremendous book. Written by a medical doctor and an integrative medicine specialist, this is a book about tending mind, body and spirit. It includes information such as the best foods to eat, how to incorporate exercise, supplements you need to take because your diet won't include them, I could go on and on. The audio book, read by the author, also highly recommended.

Dr. Weil has a very positive, not preachy, not dictatorial, just open way of explaining things and making suggestions. He is an o
Tony G.
Dec 26, 2011 Tony G. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to be happy.
Recommended to Tony by: No one.
I have followed Dr. Andrew Weil's work since reading "The Natural Mind," recommended to me by a friend during my hippy-dippy college days. His later books, "Spontaneous Healing" and "Eight Weeks to Optimum Health," in which he advocates an "integrative" approach to health, were a big influence - although I admit not fully adhering to the guidelines and recommendations contained therein.

Something about Weil's methodical and exacting approach to health and diet, juxtaposed with his openness to ne
I listened to the audiobook version, which was impressively narrated by Dr. Weil himself. I particularly enjoyed the first and last sections of the book. The first section discussed the notion of happiness in the West and how a solely biomedical model may be insufficient in addressing the rise in depression rates we face in the West. The latter section suggested some simple, straightforward techniques that can be used in conjunction with Western methods to produce a greater sense of "comfort, se ...more
I found the first section of this book extremely helpful. Many other books on happiness that I've read have left me feelling deficient because I haven't found the discipline to be happier all the time. His discussion of contentment vs. happiness and experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions and then coming back to "emotional sea-level" was very helpful for me. The rest of the book then was about ways to increase your own set point for emotional sea-level and make yourself more confident t ...more
Carolyn J. Rose
I seldom read what I think of as self-help books, but I heard an interview on NPR and was intrigued both by his thoughts on happiness, emotional well-being, our expectations, and the prevalence of pills to "solve" the problem - any problem. I was also interested in the anti-inflammatory diet.

I got what I hoped from the book, and more, but I have to admit that, no matter what Weil suggests, no way am I giving up that one cup of coffee I drink every morning.
Oct 26, 2014 Darlene rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want to be happier
Recommended to Darlene by: Yvensong
As someone on disability for depression and now fibromyalgia for over a decade, I felt I needed some new answers. I have always admired Dr. Andrew Weil so when my friend told me she liked it, I thought I ought to give it a try.

Kindle and their whispersynched Audible co-play helped me get through the techno-speak. Kindle's ability to fast forward Dr. Weil's slower speaking speed, helped this to be a fast and educational read. By the way, that was a hint my husband pointed out to me. That on smart
This is a great book for anyone wishing to improve their emotional well-being, increase their happiness set point, and learn simple tools to support their emotional health.

"Spontaneous Happiness" focuses on self-care for depression and anxiety using methods other than traditional Western medicine's prescription drug fixes, though it really can be applied to maintaining or improving emotional health in general. It's organized very simply and is well-structured to not be overwhelming. It provides
Mike W
In this book, Dr Weil offers some useful advice. He emphasizes the importance of exercise as well as omega-3 and vitamin D and recommends supplements for these. He also highlights recent advances in neuroscience concerning the plasticity of thinking and the ways in which our behavior and thinking can modify our brain structure and function, which can in turn affect our moods and well-being.

But some of its advice is hokey. For example, I doubt whether busy people will want to maintain a "gratitud
Rebecca Dosick bernzweig
This is an excellent book - sort of wish the title were different, as it makes you think he's spouting an easy solution. But if you know Dr. Weil you know that's not what he's about. The idea of emotional sea level is really thought-provoking and very down to earth. I love how he broke the chapters into physical, mental and spiritual well-being, as I am examining all three in my life right now. Great book for someone who struggles with relatively mild but sometimes intrusive depression. This tea ...more
Dec 21, 2011 Yvensong rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Darlene Milner
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

4 1/2 Stars

This book is not about a continuing state of happiness. It is about emotional balance and wellness, which consists of happiness, contentment, sadness and even periods of depression.

Dr. Weil cites several different branches of research, with referrals to different sources for further reading, regarding depression and some of the possible causes. He, then, discusses the many methods that someone could use to improve their chan
I'm glad book club "forced" me to read this. :) Dr. Weil's philosophy embraces integrative medicine to treat depression and unhappiness, rather than going straight for the throat and taking medication, which he believes should be reserved for the most severe cases. Integrative medicine is his "biopsychosocialspiritual" model - I know, biowhaaaat??? It makes sense though. Weil believes lots of factors add up to our mental state - exercise, relationships and touch, spiritual health, eating the rig ...more
Integrative health guy talks about how to fight depression through a whole-health integrated lifestyle instead of relying solely on pills. He addresses lifestyle, eating, negative thought patterns, meditation, exercise, and spirituality. He's in some senses adapting his entire anti-inflammatory diet and philosophy of health to mental health. He's very careful to define major depressive disorders versus dysthymia and does not advocate simply dropping treatment or antidepressants, but he makes a g ...more
Sam Torode
Re-reading portions of this. It's a good one...

"I wonder which changes in particular might account for the dramatic increase of depression in the past twenty years.... Not only do we suffer from nature deficit, but we are also experiencing information surfeit. Many people today spend much of their waking time surfing the Internet, texting and talking on mobile phones, attending to e-mail, watching television, and being stimulated by other new media--all experiences that were unavailable until r
Louise Silk
This is an in-depth look at everything we need to maintain happiness, diet, exercise, mood, lifestyle, emotion, and spirit. Disregard the title- it is not spontaneous. At the end of the book is a 6-week program to integrate all of the information- also not spontaneous.

If you have read any of Dr. Weil's books or any of the other health/diet books on the market today, you won't find anything new or exciting in this one.

If you are new to the idea of integrated healthy life style that includes body
As a lifelong sufferer of sporadic depression and anxiety, I really wish this book had been available to me in my teens or twenties. I agree with others that the title of the book is misleading. In reality it's a very practical, balanced, non-biased look at what we know about depression and anxiety, and what really works to combat these. He describes the end goal not as happiness all the time: in reality, there is and should be a natural fluctuation of moods. The practices in the book can help y ...more
Carrie Comfort
Great, simple tips for those who may have occasional bouts of depression or anxiety. The beginning of the book discusses ways to combat depression and the science/research about it along with personal testimonies.
The book finishes with a plan for you to follow and how to get started on your own journey to becoming happier.
What can I say, I am a sucker for Dr. Weil's self-help philosophy. I find 3/4 of it relevant and practical and the stuff I don't care for is easy to ignore. I always put down his books inspired to lead a healthier, happier life. I guess that's all I can ask for from them.
Jen Smith
I really enjoyed Andrews advice about being happy. So much good stuff in here I don't know where to start applying the stuff. I think I need to read it again, slowly this time. I like the scientific aspect as well as the personal experiences referenced.
Wilson Trivino
Spontaneous Happiness book title is a bit misleading in that it would seem you could discover happiness as quickly as you set a fire. But in reality Dr. Weil delves into the deeper causes of happiness. It is ok to be experiencing the ups and downs of life’s journey abut simply using pills will not make the blues go away.
He breaks down the topic into a simple manner and gives methods to work on a more balanced approach to life’s many shifting problems and challenges.
I am a big fan of Dr. Weil a
You can find lots of information on happiness in this book.

Happiness is a skill, so you need to make much efforts and spend long time to acquire it.

The two sections, "mental nutrition" and "forgiveness," in this book resonated with me.

Andrew Weil suggests that we need to limit the intake of news to nourish our mental nutrition. This is so true because my mind is quite calm and my thought is very clear since I stopped watching
TV seven month ago.

Forgiveness is "for yourself," not for others. Then
I was looking for a couple of audio books from the library for a trip I was taking and this one caught my eye. I have a friend going through some issues surrounding depression and will be recommending this book to her. In fact, I'd recommend it to anyone who suffers from depression in any of its many forms or knows others who do, b/c it gives so many varied and sound suggestions to both cope and resume one's life after struggling with depression.

Although I listened to this book in its audio for
Stephen Hull
Good, solid advice, presented in a reasonably concise fashion. Now to find the discipline to put it into practice...
قرأت النسخة العربية من الكتاب وعنوانه السعادة الفورية وما اعلم سبب عدم توفر صفحة للكتاب هنا..الكتاب متوفر بمكتبة جرير وقيمته 40 ريال

ما اميل ابدا لكتب التنمية الذاتية والتحفيز وانفر منها ومن عنوانينها الكاذبة والغبية:كيف تصبح غنيا في 10 ايام او كيف تزيد من ذاكرتك وقوة حفظك في اسبوع!!!

لذلك حصلت هذا الكتاب بالصدفة واشتريته فقط لاكمل مجموعة الكتب لكن مااجملها من صدفة..حبيت قرائته وكانه يملأ ثغرات وتساؤلات كثيرة في نفسي من وقت طويل

الكاتب يحاول عرض تجربته النفسية والعملية في الوصول للصحة العاطفية..صحة
This is a throuroughly researched and very interesting + useful book. Most of it is about mental health, but even if your own mental health is mostly in good standing, someone you know is probably struggling. It is also just great for understanding how habits can hold you back, what lifestyle choices are significant, and what happens in your brain when you choose to eat, say, do something. I just started the 8-week program in the end the book, and am finding it very insightful. The organization ...more
I received "Spontaneous Happiness" by Andrew Weil, MD for free from You would think this book is about happiness, but really it is about depression or rather, ridding oneself of depression. The first several chapters of the book are about emotional well being, depression, and psychological knowledge of emotions. It then goes into methods of becoming happy both with and without the use of prescribed drugs. The author connects physical health with emotional health and shows the ...more
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

4 stars

I think this is a great book for just about anyone to read--whether you suffer from depression or anxiety, or know someone who does. My favorite part about this book is that Dr. Weil mentions very early on that negative emotions are a normal part of life. It seems obvious, but how acceptable is it, really, to express negative emotions in public? Not very--you're supposed to keep those things to yourself. Sometimes it's completely
This is such a great book for anybody looking to improve their mood in some way. It's so easy to fall into society's vortex of anxious and depressing thoughts. Why is that? Maybe it's because there is a large group of people that financially benefit (pharmaceutical companies), so we are bombarded with depressing news reports and a plethora of commercials for mood altering medications. The statistics regarding the amount of people in the United States currently taking prescription medication for ...more
In concert with my first-ever three week elimination diet cleanse, I listened to the audiotape while taking long walks with my dogs. I've read Dr, Weil before and knew that his integrative medicine approach focused on whole food nutrition. Living on things like spinach, kale and black beans is not second nature to me so it was great to hear all the pros to eating non-processed foods and an anti-inflammatory diet, especially as it relates to mood, stress, anxiety and depression. I loved hearing a ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 88 89 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness
  • Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs
  • Over-diagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health
  • Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way
  • I Have Cancer. And I've Never Felt Better!
  • Unleash the Power of the Female Brain: Supercharging Yours for Better Health, Energy, Mood, Focus, and Sex
  • Change Comes to Dinner: How Vertical Farmers, Urban Growers, and Other Innovators Are Revolutionizing How America Eats
  • The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life
  • The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of "Enough"
  • Doctor Yourself: Natural Healing That Works
  • Developing Intuition: Practical Guidance for Daily Life
  • Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui
  • Moving On: Creating Your House of Belonging with Simple Abundance
  • The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics
  • The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn about Ourselves from Our Machines
  • Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth
  • Social Q's: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries and Quagmires of Today
  • The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time
Andrew Thomas Weil, MD, is the founder and program director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. He is the author of many bestselling books, including Spontaneous Healing, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, and others.

Learn More:
More about Andrew Weil...
Spontaneous Healing 8 Weeks to Optimum Health Eating Well for Optimum Health Healthy Aging Natural Health, Natural Medicine

Share This Book

“If you want to be in optimum emotional health, realize that social isolation stands between you and it. Reach out to others. Join groups—to drum, meditate, sing, sew, read, whatever. Find communities—to garden, do service work, travel, whatever. We humans are social animals. Spontaneous happiness is incompatible with social isolation. Period.” 1 likes
More quotes…