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Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  374 ratings  ·  58 reviews
How can we stay engaged with life day after day? How can we continue to love–to keep our minds in a happy mood–when life is complex, difficult, and, often, disappointing? Bestselling author and beloved teacher Sylvia Boorstein asked herself these questions when she started to write this inspiring new book. The result is her best work to date, offering warm, wise, and helpf ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 4th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2007)
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The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIVThe Happiness Project by Gretchen RubinThe Happiness Animal by Will JelbertStumbling on Happiness by Daniel GilbertHappy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff
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137th out of 152 books — 247 voters
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Community Reviews

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so far i like her even better then pema chodran! definitely a book i needed RIGHT NOW!

liked her so well, I've ordered one of her other books. this book seemed just the right amount of deep understanding, insightful teaching, in-the-trenches feel with enough fluff to make it readable and relatable. I got the feeling she is very much living in this world with us, just trying to get by. I'm speaking feeling and meditatively if not monitarily. other readers did not relate due to stories that reveal
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audiobook. There were a lot of good ideas that stopped me in my tracts, for instance the idea of us having "scripts" which we try to rewrite after a situation is over and nothing can be done to change how it happened, some people will still try and relive it over and over in their mind about what they could have said, why did that person say that, should haves, etc. I do that and it's a horrible waste of time. She also talked about the five hindrances which ...more
Rose Moore
Happiness is an Inside Job is a very sweet and simple introduction to how meditation practices and Zen Buddhism can impact your life to make it better.

The chapters range through various practices, with each one covering the fundamentals along with explanation and anecdote from Boorstein's own practice. It's very pleasant to read - nothing is over complicated or oversimplified, and the authors voice is very clear throughout. There is a real sense of being able to connect to the kind of woman that
Maughn Gregory
I was put off every now and then by Boorstein's life stories, which reveal her to lead a pretty pampered life - buying antique furniture in Paris, ski trips to the Pyrenees, teaching at retreats on Hawaiian islands, lap tops, hands-free car phones, etc. - and none of her insights into compassion seem to have taken her very far beyond that life, e.g., into a refugee camp or soup kitchen. But I learned some good lessons on Buddhist psychology from her clear analysis and good writing.
Sylvia Boorstein helps you understand the Buddhist paths of wise effort, wise mindfulness, and wise concentration using practical experiences and examples. This book keeps you focused on learning how to pay attention to difficulties that startle you and get you back into a balanced state. I am very interested in reading Dr. Boorstein other books!
Larry James
I enjoyed reading the book, which gave me the feeling of having a wise master speak with me,But,I am still thinking about what she said, and maybe that is the point.
In this book, Sylvia Boorstein, an insight meditation teacher/practitioner and psychotherapist, gently helps the reader to a more peaceful and accepting view of him or herself. Like speaking with a wise and kind friend, her exhortations to herself (calling herself "Sweetheart" when she wants to correct a misperception or unhelpful thought pattern) are illustrated by events from her own life as well as from Buddhist stories or examples of others' experiences. This is a book to read and reread. Sy ...more
Janet C.
I enjoyed this book. This is not a book you read once or without a pad of paper handy. This is not a fast read. This book explores Buddhism concepts for a contented mind. "Challenges in life are inevitable and that suffering, the mind is in contentious mode with its experience, is the instinctive response of the untrained mind. Equanimity, wisdom and kindness. Three topics are discussed...wise effort, wise mindfulness,wise concentration.

Remember you may not always be pleased with life but you ca
**Happiness seekers: apply within**
Buddhism for the rest of us. That’s how I’d describe this little gem. The author does an impressive job in presenting an overview of Buddhist principles, and then making salient some of the core nuggets. In particular, she conveys how the trio of effort, concentration, and mindfulness can be used to help us move from internal confusion and struggle to inner wisdom and happiness. With clear and concise explanations of otherwise hefty concepts—and personal experi
Dec 31, 2007 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People with anxiety
Shelves: 2008, non-fiction
I am probably rating this so highly because this is the first time I have ever read a "self-help" book, however, I do think I picked a good one. I just liked the title, and was unsure what the book was about. I really enjoyed it and it has helped me tremendously. I like(d) to dwell on things a little too much, especially things I have no control over, sometimes constantly relieving the past, or imagining the future, anything but living in the present.Sylvia teaches you why and how to avoid this ...more
Barbara Ahlquist
Esteemed teacher of Buddhism and Mindfulness Meditation, Sylvia Boorstein, tells wonderful stories in the style of the Jewish grandmother that she is, and in doing so engages us in thoughtful consideration of how we, and not our circumstances, make our personal happiness. This was my second reading of the book, and it is one worth referring to regularly.
Wendy Ellis
Without any better way to explain it, I must borrow from the quoted authors who praise this book:
"...value to anyone who seeks to live in this world with greater self-awareness, sensitivity, and kindness"
-S. Batchelor
"...demonstrates that all of us have the ability to become aware of our thought patterns, habits, and tendencies without being held hostage..." -S. Susanka

***"...should be required reading for all human beings." -S. Cope***

More that a self-help "How to be Happy" book...I truthfully
Barbara Rhine
Simply put, the author, a Jewish Buddhist practitioner, is intelligent, honest, warm and wise. This mature woman serves as a wonderful example of a fully-developed human being with much to say about bringing mindfulness into every moment.
I'm not usually one for self-help books, but this one was great. Down-to-earth interpretations of Buddhist teachings with the author's real world experiences given as reference, with no new-agey sparklies.
Feb 06, 2015 Eva marked it as abandoned
True story -- I skimmed a few pages of this book and decided that my TBR list is too long to waste time. So.

Become unconfused and restore connection ~ the best way to live

Sadness is when the mind feels bereaved or bereft. It realizes the shape of the future has changed forever. All losses are sad. The end of an important relationship is a death. When people fall out of love with each other, or when what seemed like a solid friendship falls into ruin, the hope for a shared future -- a hope that provided a context and a purpose to life -- is gone. The survivors of a broken relationship find themselves i
Barbara Newhall
It's nice to know that happiness is actually achievable. Well, sorta.
Easy to read and wise tips for making the most of life!!
Everyone should read this book. At least once.
A little gem of a book...focusing on the three middle paths - Wise Effort, Wise Mindfulness and Wise Concentration - of the Eightfold Paths of Buddhism, the book is littered with many of the author's personal stories and experiences of how to restore balance to the mind after disruptive events in life. Such hindrances are unavoidable due to the ever changing nature of life, however, by practicing Wise Effort, Wise Mindfulness and Wise Concentration we can through kindness and compassion achieve ...more
Powerful insight into the simple pleasures of caring. Good quote "I love it that what my heart wants most is to console or appreciate or encourage. It feels better in relationship". Although many of us read books about happiness and maintaining, it's not often you find a book about someone who teaches that when the mind falls into the trap of self pity, ignorance, hate, and selfishness, it's fallen into a state of confusion and it forgets until you straighten. Relax, Breathe, and pay attention t ...more
It didn't do me any harm to read this - but I'd hoped for something more after listening to interviews with Boorstein recently. She's a delightful, warm-hearted conversationalist - but this book was sort of repetitive and lack-luster. Though after reading it I suppose there is something not very mindful in me about criticizing it! I'll admit I'm not Buddhist and lean toward a bit of cynicism - but I don't think that's what was operating here. Still, I got one or two good points to ponder out of ...more
Another wonderful wisdom filled book by Boorstein.
An excellent book on the subject of keeping emotional balance. This one I will probably have to own at some point.
This is a book you will come back to many times. To create equanimity in oneself is what this book teaches in a gentle way thru stories and examples. I finished it today and will begin again a re-reading as soon as my copy arrives in the mail. I need to move my post-it notes from the library copy to my own copy. Thanks Sylvia for this little treasure.
Thought this was an interesting book, but it's not for people new to the subject of Buddhism, meditation or spirituality- I found it a little confusing at times but the overall premise was good. I will definitely be using some of the techniques in this book to help remain calm, positive and happy in the future.
Laura Siegel
I love Sylvia Boorstein. Her writing is simple, honest, compassionate, nurturing, and a joy to read. I love the way she uses personal stories to tell a deeper truth. I believe that anything written about the Buddhist practice should come across as simple as breathing. And this is always true for Boorstein's writing.
This book did not appeal to me as much as other Buddhist texts I have read. While I can't fault Boorstein for urging folks to find contentment in daily life (so important!), many of her examples demonstrated the relatively privileged life she lives. I prefer the texts of Pema Chodren, Thich Nhat Hanh, and some others.
Sylvia tells excellent stories and teaches wonderful techniques for mindfulness and compassion. I especially like a mindful blessing called 'One Breath, One Name'. I've been using it since I first read about it for the people of Japan- and for my family, friends, colleagues, and everyone I know and see.
If there was a possibility for four and a half stars, I would give this four and a half. This is a marvelous book. The blurbs praise Boorstein's ability to tell stories, but I liked the book for its precise definitions of Buddhist practices and understandings. Highly recommended.
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Sylvia Boorstein (born 1936) is an American writer and Buddhist spiritualist.
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“All losses are sad. The end of an important relationship is also a death. When people fall out of love with each other, or when what seemed like a solid friendship falls into ruin, the hope for a shared future--a hope that provided a context and a purpose to life--is gone. [p. 149]” 11 likes
May I feel contented and safe.
May I feel protected and pleased.
May my physical body support me with strength.
May my life unfold smoothly with ease.
[p. 71]”
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