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Zen and the Art of Happiness
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Zen and the Art of Happiness

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,425 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Cutting-edge science and spirituality tell us that what we believe, think, and feel actually determine the makeup of our body at the cellular level. In Zen and the Art of Happiness, you will learn how to think and feel so that what you think and feel creates happiness and vibrancy in your life rather than gloominess or depression. You ll learn how to adapt to life s inevit ...more
Paperback, 145 pages
Published June 28th 2006 by Power Press (first published May 1st 2006)
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Siddhartha by Hermann HesseThe Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIVZen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu SuzukiWhen Things Fall Apart by Pema ChödrönThe Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thích Nhất Hạnh
A Buddhist Reading List
67th out of 541 books — 693 voters
To Hold The Sun by Chas WatkinsAs a Man Thinketh by James AllenThe Four Agreements by Miguel RuizTao Te Ching by Lao TzuBe God To Yourself by Jean-Yves Crozier
Thought-Provoking Quick Reads
11th out of 15 books — 11 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Halsey Vandenberg
This book has changed my life. I’ve recommended it to everyone from my closest friends and family to complete strangers because if you are ready to begin your search for truth, this book is the place to start. The simplicity of its values is powerful, and the information and knowledge in it is so practically helpful to just being happy! Zen and the Art of Happiness succeeds in showing the reader that in every single situation, the best thing one can do is be happy about whatever is happening to ...more
One of the quotes from this book sums up the book for me:
"You should not be surprised at whatever you see or hear...If you are ready to accept things as they are, you will receive them as old friends." Shunryu Suzuki
This book contained a number of things that I've previously heard or read but that I found of value in being reminded. The author states that what one has after reading the book is intellectual knowledge but, it's value is based on putting that knowledge into practice. Focus on what

I didn't care for this book much overall, although the good news is that it is very short so it wasn't a big time investment, and there were a few ideas I liked. A newer friend suggested it and, although we have a few things strongly in common, I learned that love of this book was not one of those things. :-) Another friend said that hearing about it reminded her of the book The Secret, and that was my thought as well (though I haven't read The Secret and am basing that only on discussions I've
This book had many great philosophies tucked away inside it - many of them from ancient Chinese philosophers - that rang true with my beliefs and ideals on life, which is why I think I enjoyed it as much as I did. The main philosophy that the author focuses on is "everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me", and reiterates throughout the book that believing this statement is the most important step towards achieving happiness, despite the hardships, the losses ...more
Angela Gaskell
I really like this little jewel of wisdom because it is concise. All that I've heard, discovered, and practiced in my life was reiterated by the author and his points of view. Throughout the narrative there are great quotes from fearless sages, monks, swamis, and wise figures of history and culture. This book is very encouraging, not only because you can read it in a day, but because of the language and the flow of its content. Some reviewers have problems with the author mentioning his treatmen ...more
While this book seemed simplistic and was definitely a quick read, it touched upon the basic truth that achieving happiness can be just that... simple to attain with the right mindset.

I do think it got a little off track from time to time, especially with some plugs for other books and his rehabilitation center. But that aside, I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with the search for happiness.
Jan 18, 2008 Melissa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No One Really
The author does have some good points in the book that make you reflect a little, but over all the book is a let down. The shameless marketing of his other books and treament center was a little annoying and not very insightful, along with the recommendation to just be happy, because once you're happy you'll continue to be happy. Well, duh - if it were that easy, wouldn't eveyone do it?
Jan 11, 2015 Rob added it
It's hard to classify this as a self help book, being so tarted up with Chinese allusions and spirituality. And maybe it isn't. It's a concise zen message brought elegantly into the 21st century by a westerner with long experience in this very eastern mentality (and a Chinese-sounding pen name on some of his other books, to boot). In any event it's worth a read. The message is simple, though as with other self-help books, the almost-always-impossible part is the practice.

Prentiss doesn't dwell
What could be termed as a good reading experience? While reading sometimes we are offered a new idea, a new thought or perspective we never have noticed before, but somehow we know that it was there all along. That is in my opinion what a good reading experience offers.

In this book, Chris Prentiss sells us only one idea-"Every event that happens to us is absolutely the best possible event that could occur". And that my friends, is the art of happiness.

In this relatively short book, we see autho
I suppose the real power of this book is if it can really help the reader or not. For some it may help a lot, others may find it too simplistic. If you are looking for an in-depth book on Zen then this is not your book.

My reasons for liking this book are mainly personal. It aligns well with my personal beliefs and philosophies so it did help me. Many of the lessons of this book are things I had already heard of but needed reminding. For example how crappy or good life is, is a matter of percep
Nishant Mishra
This book is good in bits and pieces. It could have been a great one minus marketing of his rehab(?)/de-addiction center and other books he has written.
The author could add more from the great Tao and Zen schools of thought. The book is very short and one can finish it in a day. It holds onto the premise of the 'Law of Attraction'. Useful for those who are new to new age 'happiness-hype'. Some of the concepts and suggestions of Chris Prentiss are hard to swallow and even harder to apply in life
"Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me".

The author uses this powerful statement as a foundation for overcoming stress, dealing with setbacks, and finding happiness in everyday life.

How can we change what we believe when our experience has convinced us otherwise? By creating a new experience. The author explains just how to learn to think in a new way to create more happiness in our lives, instead of gloom and depression. I thought the author touched too m
This was kind of a life changing book for me. The basic concept was something I really needed to know and put into practice in my life. Learning that "everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me" is a continuing journey to greater peace in my life, and its been a blessing. Really short, quick read. No deep difficult concepts, just simple declarations of faith-filled principles. I'm not a follower of Zen or Buddhism, but the principles in this book resounded in ...more
I went into this little book with my own beliefs and skepticism, but the main aspects of Zen that are dealt with here are actually logical and relevant. Reading this gave me a lot of relief, and I already feel as though my attitude has begun to change. I did question some of the ideas regarding metaphysics and "the Universe" and could've done without the references to the author's other books and programs, but the most important parts are certainly compatible with anyone's life. This book is ver ...more
This book was recommended to me by my grandmothers who said they read this book monthly for a year. I found this book to be life changing. The book promotes simple principles to help create happiness in your life. A very pleasant, joyful read. I have been implementing the suggestions in this book into my life and have seen a huge difference thus far. I have felt more calm and less stressed, and not let things bother me as much as before. I can see this being very helpful for therapy cilents as w ...more
unfortunately you do have to get past some extra crap the author added in there......

For first time readers who have no knowledge about Zen philosophies, this book is a great start. you can take away ideas that are so simplistic and helpful (the key being to live happier).

I have approximately 10 philosophies (quotes from the book) on sticky notes hanging on my mirror. When I need a extra little boost in the morning, I read those quotes to remind myself of happiness. This book changed my life!

I absolutely adored this book. It truly did inspire me and shaped a good way of the way I now think. It is a very brief read but each chapter or section of it has a new way of keeping you focused and inspired. Personally, I feel that Prentiss chose the perfect quotes and tied historical understanding with inspiration very well. It's basically meditating whilst one reads the book! Highly recommended.
Viet Hung Nguyen
Jul 01, 2012 Viet Hung Nguyen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Một cuốn sách hay dành cho các tín đồ tư duy tích cực. Cuốn sách này cũng minh hoạ rõ nguyên lý "Less for more". Dù là một cuốn sách ngắn, nó đã nói được rất nhiều điều sâu sắc, mang tính thức tỉnh về triết lý sống.

Xin chia sẻ đây các trích dẫn mà tôi tâm đắc.
- Sự hoàn hảo có ở khắp nơi nếu ta biết nhận ra nó - Okakura Kakuzo
- Có một con đường duy nhất đưa bạn đến hạnh phúc lâu dài. Con đường đó chỉ đơn giản là: Bạn hãy thấy mình hạnh phúc.
- Thiền chỉ đơn giản là trạng thái nhất tâm ở đây và bây
This is one of those books that will take you about 5 seconds to read, is a bit fluffy, but overall probably worth a read because the basic principle is something we all should really focus on. You know – to have a positive attitude on life blah blah blah…

No really I liked the book.

Actually it’s not about attitude it’s about your response to things that happen and therefore changing the result. As the author puts it, “the universe doesn’t make mistakes.” (Divine Providence?) and believing that
Josephine Lee
The first few chapters of the book were very eye-opening but towards the end it began to be a huge let down. His stories and examples became very vague and made me question the validity of his argument. The author seemed to just be repeating himself over and over again to the point where it felt like brainwash. The author stressed throughout the book that the key to happiness is to make the best of every situation but I felt like some of his arguments stretched thin. Short book so it wasn't a lo ...more
I loved this little book. Maybe the ideas aren't anything necessarily new, but they came at a time when I was open to internalizing them. I plan to keep this book handy for frequent re-reading.

11/28/12 - I just finished reading this for the 3rd time. If I was stranded on an island with only one book, this would be the one I want.

1/3/2015 - I've now read this 4 times. I can't believe it's been over 2 years since my last read. It was a great way to start off the year.
Para finalizar, me encuentro la influencia del stress en nuestra felicidad, el stress no viene con los eventos, llega con nuestra forma de reaccionar, el universo nos golpea por donde debemos fortalecernos.

Debemos sanar el pasado, y la forma de hacerlo es perdonando a quienes nos agredieron y a nosotros mismos, vaciando la maleta de las cosas tristes que arrastramos, el pasado ya no está, el futuro no ha llegado, Aprendamos a meditar, la meditación nos ubica en el presente, el cual es una partíc
Darren Hendrick
Short and sweet!.
i read this over the holiday break, it was a quick read. while the author definitely uses this as a vehicle to push his other works and Passages (a center he runs with his son)which detracted a bit from the book..

overall, the basic ideas he writes about were either reminders or wake up calls for me. i didn't walk away with any ground breaking ideas, but more confident in my abilities and perspective on my life.
As with most books like these, I'd say take it with a grain of salt.

That being said, Prentiss presents a pretty interesting way of looking at the world as this thing that only exists to help you and lead you down the best path possible. While I don't agree with all of his arguments, I appreciated the change of perspective I got from reading this book and definitely added a few points to my personal view of life.
I read this today after a friend recommended it. I found some good tidbits in here but overall I don't think this philosophy is for me and that's okay. The things that did resonate well with me are things that are taught in Christianity (having hope in the future, choosing to be happy, accepting that there are absolute truths that you cannot change). The neuroscience side of me liked reading the couple of pages about happiness/depression affecting the body at a cellular level; though the book de ...more
I really like this book, and the anecdotes. The one take away message I've gotten is, "how is this the best possible thing that could have happened to me," and that the universe is not out to mess with itself, more to help itself continue to grow. I did feel like some of the arguments had very circular logic and wishy washy credibility, but appreciated the personal experiences shared.
Feb 16, 2012 Teresa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Teresa by: a friend
Shelves: read-twice
I received this book from a friend and really enjoyed it. Sometimes, when we have made a mistake or have been hurt in someway, our natural reaction is to feel like a failure or feel betrayed to the point that the pain only increases as we dwell on it. This book is a simple reminder that we can either continue letting it bring us down or choose to overcome it and not let it define us.
So I'll say that this is one of the best books I've read. It brought me so much peace and clarity. It has helped me be grateful and value my life more. I think it's something everyone should read. It's easy to understand the philosophies and although true enlightenment takes more than reading one book, it is a step on the path and a very rewarding one.
Jordie Miller
Honestly one of the most positively life changing pieces of literature I've ever read. Really does make you reflect on your own life. The author reaches out to his audience in such a way that it brings emotion. I recommend this book to anybody who's going through a rough patch in life.
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“The Universe continues to be perfect at every moment and never permits even the first imperfect event to occur. It goes from perfect to perfect to perfect.” 5 likes
“Who you allow into the circle of your life will make the difference in the quality of your life.” 2 likes
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