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Hardwiring Happiness: A Simple Way to Permanently Reset Your Brain, Stockpile Inner Strength, and Appreciate Each Day's Gifts
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Hardwiring Happiness: A Simple Way to Permanently Reset Your Brain, Stockpile Inner Strength, and Appreciate Each Day's Gifts

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  1,517 Ratings  ·  207 Reviews
Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of being appreciated?
Because your brain evolved to learn quickly from bad experiences but slowly from the good ones.
You can change this.
Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, co
Audio CD
Published October 8th 2013 by Random House Audio
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Very few of us have a smooth, glorious childhood. Most of us have a slightly rocky one, sometimes perhaps a very rocky one. And even if we have plenty of good memories too, it’s the painful ones that tend to stand out the most. Rick Hanson has a powerful analogy for this: The brain is like Velcro for bad experiences but Teflon for good ones.
Our human brains have been wired to remember mistakes, simply because to our Stone Age Brains it was important to remember and learn from those mistakes. It
Hardwiring Happiness is a psychology/but actually mostly a self-help book. I obviously went into it with expectations that weren't met, but it's not all bad. I did get the psychological research that I wanted and more. I won't get into it here, but the ideas presented definitely went in line with what I've learned, and made a lot of sense. And it was thankfully backed up with pages and pages of legit references.

The methods outlined in the book are very easy to follow and even easier to try to u
Ryan Dejonghe
May 14, 2014 Ryan Dejonghe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book came at just the perfect time. I have been working through Jon Kabat-Zinn’s WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE and I had questions. Namely, I wanted to understand accepting happiness without the use positive thinking. If you’re like me, you grew up on positive thinkers like Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill, and W. Clement Stone. The problem is: there wasn’t a lot of science behind it. Without the understanding, there’s only so much a Pollyanna-like attitude will do for your true internal happines ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Specialk rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Did anyone else think this book was just adjectives matched together under categories?

While I appreciated the bare bones brain science of this, it really could have just been a couple page article. Maybe with an appendix of a bullet list with tips for achieving positive connections.

I did this on audio, so it's possible it doesn't come across as well when narrated...but I genuinely zoned out for minutes at a time, only to focus back on the audiobook and realize he is still just giving me a list
William Cline
Kudos for citing your sources, but there's some serious over-simplification of neuroscience going on here.

Summary: Get in the habit of noticing and appreciating good things, especially small ones, to offset your natural inclination to focus on the negative.

Elaine Benavidez
Nov 22, 2013 Elaine Benavidez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The science behind brain plasticity is one of the foundations of this book. It not merely a "think positive" book as it actually speaks to the issue of ongoing brain neuron development and processes that actually impact hardwiring.
Frank Pacosa
Aug 08, 2014 Frank Pacosa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Mindfulness has been a life changer for me, but I found a lot of chaff with the wheat. I am skeptical that regular mediation past a point and long retreats make a difference.

I wanted a way to bring mindfulness to life and not something left on the sit or at the retreat.
I knew current research on our minds and learning theory would be key.

Small repetitive behaviors are the most reinforcing for continuation of that behavior has been long know and Rick Hanson has amply demonstrated
This is basically Buddhism without saying it's Buddhism. Hanson gives little meditations and affirmations to hold in your mind. Exercises to imagine. He talks about desire, suffering, and impermanence. He talks about holding others in your mind and extending good will onto them. Seriously, this is just Buddhism and if you like that, great. I generally like that myself, but this wasn't what I wanted to go for.

I thought this was going to be about neuroscience. Looking at neuroscience, the way thin
Nov 15, 2013 Lucinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This fascinating, illuminating read is truly genius!

This scientifically based book presents an informative insight into achieving happiness in everyday life, instilling a sense of peace and calm contentment within our minds. Rick Hanson {author of bestselling ‘Buddha’s Brain’} is a masterful writer, who makes everything so clear and comprehendible so that anyone can gain a great deal from reading this book. Using simple methods can in practise change our brain so that we do not dwell on the neg
Jun 01, 2014 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In "Hardwiring Happiness," Rick Hanson, Ph.D. provides an easy and actionable "recipe" for giving positive experiences greater weight to enable an ongoing sense of peace and contentment. I'd learned of Dr. Hanson's books based on my interest in meditation and his articles about the benefits of using meditation in his psychology practice. I chose to listen to this book when I realized I'd become so focused on worries about loved ones' health issues that I wasn't appreciating happy events as much ...more
Pedro Ribeiro
May 22, 2014 Pedro Ribeiro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a original book. The ideia is very simple: our brain is like velcro for bad things, and like teflon for good ones. The reason is that our brain evolved to be like this to increase our chance to survive. But we can chance this by pratice and still be a very realistic person. We can be happier and still keep our feet on the ground. I highly recommend this book.
The book's technique for changing our baseline attitude/happiness seems plausible. I will try it.
Why only 2 stars? The book is guilty of a crime I cannot tolerate: too much filler. This book could have been just 10 pages, and single-sided at that!
Mar 10, 2014 Imibroccoli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clinical
The first thing I did when I finish this book was writing an email recommending it to all my students.

Personally, I would not have been attracted to anything with the word 'Happiness' in it or as 'positive'.., if it were not for how impressed I was with his previous book 'Buddha's Brain'.

I have been using mindfulness for some years, and this book is just what I needed whilst I felt I was hitting a bottle-neck in my own spiritual/ mindfulness practise.

I instantly fell in love with Hanson's ''
Eric Stamper
Dec 30, 2013 Eric Stamper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book... This book was basically about mindfulness and awareness, in particular of the good things in life. It discusses how our brains evolved to notice the negative things in our environments as a survival mechanism, and how our brains have become naturally biased towards the negative. The primary aim of the book was to present the idea that through certain practices, in particular the having of good experiences and the strengthening of them in our daily lives, we can re-wire our br ...more
Jason Fella
Nov 14, 2013 Jason Fella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read many books on mindfulness and re-training your brain, so I wasn't sure this would really have anything unique to offer. Surprisingly it did. It really approaches things from a different angle, and if what the author says is true, this could offer some real relief for a lot of people (including myself) who have depression, anxiety, and similar issues. The techniques he teaches are extremely simple and can be done quickly and conveniently and in so many different situations, a person wou ...more
Sep 28, 2015 Emaan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a balm. The audiobook is a balm with the fairy dust of Rick Hanson's soothing voice mixed in. I have become a de fact Rick Hanson fangirl. Whenever I encounter difficulty or find myself struggling to take in the good, I think, WWRHD (What Would Rick Hanson Do?) Lots of people prefer the meditations of Thich nhat hanh and Jon Kabat Zinn and while they are wonderful too, let me tell you, Rick Hanson, with his friendly old man ways and dashing charm, will change your life. I would reco ...more
Michael Harris
Oct 05, 2015 Michael Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Accessible (as self-help often is), scientifically accurate (as self-help often is not), and genuinely helpful. I liked the detail and larger scope of his previous book, Buddha's Brain, a bit more. But I'm a psych student, so Hardwiring Happiness might be a better fit for those less interested in the neurology/clinical applications of Hanson's work, and more interested in just building positive emotion into their brain... which he really does lay out how to do.
André Bueno
Not sure who the book wss targeting, whether it was the psychology or the self-help community. As a member of the latter my eyes glazed over the deep dives the author did on the research though I appreciate the relevant topics. I have become an extremely demanding reader, so others may not agree with my points, though I felt the book could have been written in a more concise manner with less jargon.
Leif Denti
Aug 19, 2014 Leif Denti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En slags semi-buddhistisk/västerländsk pop-psykologibok om hur man blir av med sitt negativitets-bias och uppnår en större contentment. Skriven av en psykolog utgår från sund forskning. Tyckte den var bra och lättläst. Tror den har insprängda meditationsövningar om man är intresserad av att verkligen följa bokens modell. Ska nog läsa igen.
Arabian Rihanna
This book is part neuropsychology, part self-help. I appreciated the scientific parts a lot more than where the four-step technique came in.

Perhaps this book would be better consumed in audio format given all the practical exercises.

An interesting read overall.

Jan 28, 2014 Wilderness rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great discussion about how to find the good in things; how to accentuate or bring the good into the forefront even amidst the negative.
Jun 24, 2015 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read Buddha's Brain and not this one....this is too oversimplified, and take a simple framework about focusing on positive experiences and draws it out into a whole book.
Katrina Sark

p.xxvi – The inner strengths we need for well-being, coping, and success are built from brain structure – but to help our ancestors survive, the brain evolved a negativity bias that makes it like Velcro for bad experiences but Teflon for good ones. To solve this problem and build inner strengths into your brain, you’ll learn which positive experiences can meet your three essential needs for safety, satisfaction, and connection. As you build up inner peace, contentment, and love, you
Sep 03, 2014 Antonia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-how-to
I only read half of the first page. That was enough.
Feb 02, 2017 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I listened to the Audible version of Hardwiring Happiness, which was narrated by the author, Rick Hanson. The book included a lot of familiar background material that provided new insights, as well as a good review of psychology 101. I have mixed feelings about listening to the audio version. Hanson’s narration was excellent and it was helpful to just be able to listen and do the meditations. His reading of the practice exercises made them very easy to follow. However, I did miss seeing the char ...more
Jan 21, 2017 Riche rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Huge fan of positive psychology. I heard about Rick Hanson in class. As a person who is really into neuroscience, I deeply appreciated how detailed the context was when it came to the relationship between the brain and happiness. The title says it all. It's the simplest summary of the book. It's a quick read for science lovers. I recommend it for those who want to see the light through a scientific perspective.
Jan 02, 2017 Ryann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had some really interesting points and ideas on focusing on the positive and becoming mindful about the good and drowning out the bad. It was a bit repetitious, but that could be helpful for those looking for more information on some of the points. If you truly embrace the principles and use them often, I think they could change your life for the better.
Christy Petersen holloway
There are some interesting nuggets in this small volume, but the text got fairly repetitive by the end. I'll admit I skimmed a bit. For those trying to improve their attitude, this will be a valuable text; however, as a connoisseur of new-age self-helpy kinda books, I found little new to be discovered.
Will update review and possibly change the star rating after book club discussion. Parts of this I found interesting, but the author's writing style sometimes struck me as condescending, which reduced my interest.
Jan 31, 2017 Berlyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
first half was very good! learned some sciency stuff. reminded myself some good mind techniques.
eventually got too self helpy. but i couldve just skipped those parts XD
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Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 26 languages and include Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin and has numerous audio programs. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA and founder of the Wellspring ...more
More about Rick Hanson...

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“By taking just a few extra seconds to stay with a positive experience—even the comfort in a single breath—you’ll help turn a passing mental state into lasting neural structure.” 6 likes
“Neurons that fire together wire together. Mental states become neural traits. Day after day, your mind is building your brain. This is what scientists call experience-dependent neuroplasticity,” 4 likes
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