The Myths of Happiness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Myths of Happiness

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  716 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research-based lessons in how to find opportunity in life’s thorniest moments

In The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky isolates the major turning points of adult life, looking to both achievements (marriage, children, professional satisfaction, wealth) and failures (singlehood, divorce, financial ruin, illness) to reveal that our mi...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 3rd 2013 by The Penguin Press HC (first published January 1st 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Lucille Zimmerman
I'm about to have my first book published. The idea of seeing boxes of books on my front doorstep feels both surreal and monumental. It's a huge accomplishment that I will celebrate with a party, in a red barn, with twinkly lights. There will be music, friends, food, and revelry. But I know that a published book won't bring me happiness.

A few days ago I was talking to a friend who has authored over 40 books. I told her I knew that having a published book would not make me happy. She seemed surpr...more
Jan 05, 2013 Mel marked it as to-read
Shelves: life-help
I heard about this book on the Diane Rehm show and now want to read it immediately!

I give this four stars not so much for the writing, but for the wisdom. Sonja Lyumomirsky has been a leader in the positive psychology movement, which looks more for what makes us whole and healthy than what makes us disjointed and sick.

In this book, she distills the results from scores of studies to try to offer evidence-based advice for how to achieve real happiness and get rid of the delusions about happiness that often rule our lives.

Just a few examples: One great fly in the ointment of most...more
NOTE: Although I am not familiar with the author's finances, I am relatively sure that she is rather wealthy judging from the examples taken from her own life (e.g. moving to a new house where the shower has six shower heads, husband is a securities lawyer, etc.). To her credit, she does acknowledge the limitations that wealth (or a relative lack thereof) places on her research.

1. Pursue an appropriate goal

The crisis point at the heart of this section concerns our anxiety about not having yet...more
I found this book's topic refreshing. The author takes a series of "I can't be happy if/when... (fill in the blank)" fallacies and lays them to rest. Using the theory of hedonic adaptation - our tendency to get used to almost anything positive that happens to us - she argues that certain adult achievements (marriage, kids, job, wealth), while initially satisfying, will not make us intensely happy (or for as long) as we expect they will.

Conversely, on the negative side of things, she highlights t...more
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

DNFing at page 50.

I was thinking this book would be a bit more generic, more about how the mind reacted to happiness and unhappiness. Instead, this looks at specific events (I'll be happy when I meet Mr. Right, I can't be happy now that I have cancer, etc.) and how we react and can counteract.

Problem is - I don't need any of that. I love my life. I'm not in a many years long committed relationship, bored and repetitive. I'm not single and whining for a spouse. I'm not desperate for...more
Mike Walker
“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.”

This was a quote that Sonja Lyubomirsky mentioned in the Introduction. She credited it to a fortune-cookie, but for me this quote set the tone for the whole book.

Sonja makes well thought out points about happiness. How we see, comprehend and relate to it. Unlike most of the self-help books I have read, "The Myth of Happiness" has a very simple process - Change your viewpoint. I for one liked it and plan to make...more
The basic message is this: Humans adapt. We get used to really good things in time (and take them for granted) and we get used to really bad things in time too. So fearing the really bad stuff doesn't really help anything, and fearing a life without the really good stuff doesn't make sense either. I came away from this book with the reassuring notion that one's life experience, once basic needs are met, is mostly in what you think about it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I read children’s picture books and travel narratives and creative nonfiction and literary fiction and Books About Happiness.

Yes, Books About Happiness. It’s one of my favorite genres.

I’ve read Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman and Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Leyman and Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project and Happier at Home and the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Sonja Lyubomirsky’s earlier book, The How of Happiness.

How could I pass up Lyubomirsky’s new book, The M...more
This book was my book club's April pick. The title intrigued me, particularly after reading pieces by Tim Kreider:

However, I don't think that I'm the right audience for this book, first and foremost because philosophically, I don't look at life as a search for happiness, but rather a journey for meaning and contentedness with "now." That, in itself, is a lifetime's worth of work.

Nevertheless, I could see that readers with outlooks or circumstances differ...more
Martina B..
In a nutshell: hedonic adaptation is about how we adapt to all the good things in our life, how they make us happy at the beginning and how they inevitably cease to make us happy. How we still continue to take them for granted. The myths like "I'll be happy when_____ (fill in the blank)", or even "I can't be happy when_______ (fill in the blank)"

Čítať knihy o psychológii, nech sa aj akokoľvek snažia operovať vedeckým výskumom, je ako prísť nakupovať do second-handu. Neprehľadná spleť oblečenia n...more
This book was such a waste of time. I expected an interesting evaluation of what happiness means to people, and got a preachy self-help book that read like a textbook. The bland writing made it easy to skim over what did not apply to me, which was the first hundred pages as well as the last hundred.
I'll admit, the middle section was interesting. It dealt primarily with money and job insecurities, which was the closest thing to anything relatable to me in the entire book. But even though debt an...more
Wanda (The Watered Soul)
For me this book was a slow read but I like the concept of the book and I believe that society as a whole would do better, if we had more people teaching these truths. Perhaps if people knew it was normal to have these ebbs and flows of happiness in their relationships, there would be lower rates of divorce.

The key things I took away from the book was the importance of gratitude and remembering (how things use to be) plays into us having fulfilling lives. In the end, I was reminded of a saying...more
Although I was already aware of many of the ideas in this book, in terms of what really makes people happy and strategies for maximizing happiness and minimizing unhappiness, I imagine that this might be a really good book for someone who is not as aware. I did find it helpful myself, particularly the second to last chapter on coping with large life disappointments and failed pursuits. In addition to this one, there are chapters on almost all major aspects of human existence such as marriage/sin...more
This title was at best misleading and at worst totally deceptive. I thought it was more of the science/data behind happiness; turns out, it was self-help tips for ways to achieve happiness in certain situations: when your marriage isn't the best; when you're single; when you're older; when you can't have kids; when you do have kids, etc. By its design, even if you enjoy this type of book, at least part of it won't be relevant to you: if your kids aren't making you as happy as you thoughts they s...more
Betsy Hover
I was so excited to received this book in a Giveaway. This book was absolutely awesome. The author has completely nailed it, in reference to taking the crisis points in our life and looking at them in a completely different way.

"Instead of being frightening or depressing, your crisis points can be opportunities for renewal, growth, or meaningful change. However, how you greet then really matters."

I always tell my children:
**It's not the trail in your life that matters, but how you react to it**

I really liked this book. It is tiny doses of good therapy. The book breaks up happiness "myths" into chapters and then discusses each of them (e.g. I'll only be happy in a relationship, I can't be happy without kids, etc.). You can read straight through or pick the topics that apply to you. I started by picking and choosing, but then ended up reading all of them. Even if the myth didn't particularly apply to me, some of the suggested exercises were interesting and thought provoking. I got this...more
**Happiness within**

Reading Sonja’s first book _The How of Happiness_ made me very happy. [ ☺] And, her current gem of _The Myths of Happiness_ made me very, very happy. [☺ ☺ ]

Beautifully weaving together scores of scientific research (we’re talking over 700 journal articles!) into blissfully readable prose, Sonja dispels the myths related to what does—and doesn’t—make us happy. As she describes:
“The goal of _The Myths of Happiness_ is to draw on the latest scientific research to expand reader...more
This book far exceeded my expectations on every level: appealing writing style, amount of scientific research, and degree of direct helpfulness to my own life. Now that I've said that, it may not exceed your own expectations, which are now quite high, but read it and find out why not (it's called hedonic adaptation)!
Laurie Thurston
Absolutely affirming....Always knew I was a glass-half-full kind of gal, but now I see the research behind it. VERY needed during a decidedly 'unhappy' time of my life, reminding me that I'm in far more control than I sometimes think. Hope for me yet :)
"The Myths of Happiness " is a follow up book after ,"Sonja Lyubomirsky's " book,"The How of Happiness".
I have a collection of 8 books on Happiness. I have read half of them-two two by Ms Lyubomirsky. .
I was very impressed by the message in her first book. It took me about the first third of the book to warm up to this second book.
She deals primarily about the states of being as a parent, part of a couple and being a single person. She does not hesitate to share
the research surrounding each...more
i don't generally read self help books...but this one was actually...helpful! i needed a pick-me-up and this was it. really liked it.
I really don't like self help books and The Myths of Happiness wobbles oh-so-slightly between being a soft science book and self help book. the tone comes off as self-helpish occasionally but Lyubomirsky backs up her recommendations for "happiness" with plenty of psychological and sociological studies.

the book itself is broken down into several categories and how to "be happy" in each:

---Being married
---Being single
---Fixing a broken marriage
---Deciding to divorce
---Life after divo...more
This book gives a fresh perspective on all the happiness myths western society believes should or should not make us happy such as "I will be happy when I get that promotion" or "I can't be happy when I am alone." Based on the author's own research on happiness, she expertly delves into happiness myths concerning our connections with others, our careers, and our retirement years. Not only does the author examine each myth from every point of view, she also makes it intrinsically clear that there...more
KJ Lipkey
Very interesting. Long story short - everything you assume either by your personal assumptions or by society standards of happiness are NOT what will make you happy. If you do experience happiness it's short lived and ultimately unsatisfying as you expect so much more joy from it. There were parts of the book that I wish I would have made a note-to-self to re-read or really make sure I absorb as I think they will need to be revisited again and again to break habits of assumption that we all have...more
Alexa Price
This book was perfect for me. It was just what I needed to hear. I always look forward to the next milestone in life and tell myself that I'll be happy when I get there, however the milestone comes and goes I'm never satisfied. I learned that we need to appreciate our spouses, our jobs etc more, so that we don't get burnt out with them. We need to make sure we're having more positive than negative emotions in a day. We need to forgive, and notice when we're being neglectful or mean. A lot of the...more
Vika Ryabova
Книга разбита на три части, каждая содержит рассказ об определенных «мифах»: связанных с межличностными отношениями, с работой и зарплатой, с прошлым (с сожалениями, упущенными возможностями). Всего автор рассматривает 10 мифов. Типа: Я буду счастлива, когда выйду замуж за «правильного» человека; Я буду счастлива, когда буду богатой; Я не могу быть счастливой, ведь мои лучшие годы – позади.

Развенчивание мифов из первой (и частично – второй) группы в целом основывается на понятии «гедонистическа...more
This books summarizes social science research about happiness to offer the layperson potentially useful findings about what does and doesn't make us happy. The author is a competent writer and probably most people could learn something from her book, but I found it a bit of a slog. She discusses how because we adapt to "upgrades" in our lives (bigger house, career milestone, nicer car, loving boyfriend) ("hedonic adaptation"), nothing gives lasting happiness unless it's, say, an activity that ch...more
Kater Cheek
This isn't the first book I've read about happiness, so at best I was hoping for a refresher course. It is a good refresher course, and a good supplemental, as Lybormirsky has a lot of new information that I haven't read in other books.

Lybormirsky's information comes from first hand and second hand research (always a plus) and yet has a readable writing style. She breaks down the chapters with headers "I can't be happy when ..." and "I wil be happy when I ..." subjects, relating to accomplishmen...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become
  • Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are
  • Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick
  • Archetypes: Who Are You?
  • Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions
  • Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You: Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear, Make Better Decisions, and Thrive in the 21st Century
  • The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing . . . and Love
  • Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment
  • How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed
  • What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement
  • Hijacked by Your Brain: How to Free Yourself When Stress Takes Over
  • You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life
  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People
  • Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave
  • Happiness: Lessons from a New Science
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
  • Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile
  • Cheaper, Better, Faster: Over 2,000 Tips and Tricks to Save You Time and Money Every Day
The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want Positively Happy: Routes to Sustainable Happiness (The Positive Psychology Workbook Series) How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want Sådan bliver du lykkelig

Share This Book

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.” 9 likes
“people who regularly practice appreciation or gratitude—who, for example, “count their blessings” once a week over the course of one to twelve consecutive weeks or pen appreciation letters to people who’ve been kind and meaningful—become reliably happier and healthier, and remain happier for as long as six months after the experiment is over.” 0 likes
More quotes…