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You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective
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You Can Be Happy No Matter What: Five Principles for Keeping Life in Perspective

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  751 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Many people believe they can only be happy when their problems are solved, relationships improve, and goals are achieved. In this simple guide, Dr. Richard Carlson shows readers how to be happy right now — no matter the situation. His plan, based on the principles of Thought (thoughts are voluntary, not involuntary);Mood (thinking is a voluntary that varies function varies ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 13th 2006 by New World Library (first published 1992)
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Apr 14, 2008 Kellie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like this book. The author does a great job explaining that thoughts are always passing through your mind and that you choose whether to let negative thoughts affect your mood or let them pass as just thoughts. I am able to recognize that thoughts are not reality and not dwell on those thoughts that are deserving of attention.
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
A book that can help you see life differently. I also recommend The Happiness Makeover: How to Teach Yourself to Be Happy and Enjoy Everyday. Part One was absolutely amazing, but part two was a struggle for me. I was flying through this until I hit part two which took me several months to finally get through.

Favorite Passages:

Many people mistakenly believe that circumstances make a person. They don't. Instead, they reveal him or her. Our circumstances don't define us; they represent our unique c
This is another book I read earlier this year and didn't get around to reviewing. It is the kind of book that I generally wouldn't think to pick up and read and I feared it might be a little corny or simplistic or something. It was a quick read, though, and while I didn't agree with every word there was enough good that I got out of it that I was really glad I read it and may read it again sometime to refresh those ideas. I can no longer remember what I may have disagreed with, but I do know it ...more
Joseph Young
May 28, 2010 Joseph Young rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Summary: negative thinking is bad. positive relaxing is good.

As a positive and often thinking person, I immediately disagreed with this book. The author seems to be reaching out to a society of neurotics, who when thinking about things will only spiral into a chain of negative thoughts. He seemingly reaches the conclusion that thinking during your low point will lead to nothing but negative thoughts, and that here is no way a person can pull themselves out of a funk by thinking. This is horribl
Colleen Mcgunnigle
I've listened to this book-on-audio multiple times. (Yes, I *listen* to my books rather than read! ;) Richard is warm, wise and brilliant ... and really puts things in perspective. He shares wisdom about how to not take the things people do so hard, which had tended to be a challenge of mine. I wish he were still around cuz I'd hug him! This was a life changer for me.
Noah Bourdeu
Mar 26, 2016 Noah Bourdeu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Law of Attraction and Positive Psychology
This book differed in opinion from a lot of books I have read on the subject of Positive Psychology and Law of Attraction, however, I believed it gave me a fresh new perspective of how I view my thoughts, both positive and negative. In this book, the author explains that our thoughts and moods are constantly changing, and rather than trying to always control our thoughts, sometimes it is best to simply wait until our thoughts return to their positive state. This is different from many books I ha ...more
Lisa Miller Chandler
This book helped me through a very hard time in my life. The writer explained that based on five principles of Thought, Mood, Separate Realities, Feelings, and the Present Moment, and how the reader can use these principles to discover how to focus on everyday joy and inner contentment. The book helped me not to be lead around by my own feelings by introducing me to the idea of separate realities. Positive thinking results in positive feeling & we control our thoughts. This book helps give e ...more
Living in the present moment leads to happiness. Our thoughts create our state of being. Great book
Shane Gallivan
I had to read this book for a class. It had good advice and made me realize problems in my life and thinking. It could certainly help people. I had a bit of an issues with some of his ideas. Overall it was encouraging and a good read!
Keith Kendall
Sep 10, 2014 Keith Kendall rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Keith by: Carol
Shelves: self-help
A nice book. A very nice book.

He covers several "principles" devoting a chapter to each of them to explain factors that influence happiness.
1. The principle of thought
2. The principle of moods
3. The principle of separate realities
4. The principle of feelings my calling
5. The principle of the present moment

"Most partners don't give each other the space they need in a low mood; instead they react as if what their partner is saying is carved in stone." (Page 33)

"The quickest way to a higher mood
A lot of what Carlson says in this book is common sense, an element that is often lacking in traditional types of therapy. Rather than dwelling upon and analyzing uncomfortable experiences from the past, he suggests focusing upon the immediate present. The book is short and each chapter is short. The message is simple—though implementation will take some practice. The author presents five principles that, when applied, shift a person towards happiness. In practice, a combination of these princip ...more
Oct 04, 2013 Lindsay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the ideas in this book have been completely debunked by neuroscience. I am not a psychologist or a neuroscientist, but I do like to keep up with the research. I won't take the time to cite all the contradicting research here, but it should be pretty easy to search and find it.

First off, Carlson never defines some of the terms he uses. He uses the words "emotions", "feelings", and "moods" sometimes interchangeably but sometimes as obviously different things. This was confusing to me, an i
Apr 15, 2008 Tami rated it really liked it
For many of us, happiness is a goal that we never seem to achieve. We closely examine our unhappiness and fret over all the issues in our lives. We know in our hearts and our very souls that if we can just earn a little more money, deal with a childhood trauma, or get married that we'll finally be happy. Unfortunately, once we succeed in these endeavors, a whole new set of issues appears and we find ourselves still unhappy.

Life doesn't stop just because we read a self help book or decide to wor
Dec 26, 2010 Kurt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really did not enjoy reading this book. It seemed to say the same thing over and over and over again. And what it said was pretty much common sense advice that most people already know -- that our thoughts determine our feelings and our moods which tend to determine our level of happiness: control your thoughts and you control how you feel about your life.

I do give this book an extra star simply because it did shed a little light on the subject for me. It encourages people to nip bad thoughts
Sep 01, 2012 D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty good book by the author of "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -- and it's all small stuff" that put into words common sense advice that really does work. Basically the premise is, if something makes you sad, or mad, or depressed, don't think about it. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. To have a happy marriage, don't think about all the ways your spouse falls short all day. Think about all the good he/she does and how much you love him/her. This book offers amazingly simpl ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've become an avid fan of the late Richard Carlson's books ever since I read "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" and have been reading his back-catalogue ever since.

"You Can Be Happy No Matter What" is one of Carlson's earlier books and contained some profound lessons for me. The book focuses on what you think about, your moods and the moods of those around you -- looking at thought, mood, separate realities, feelings and the present moment.

It contains a series of practical tips on how to be happy no
Apr 07, 2014 Redgrammie45 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little too long. Too much explaining, but the concept is very good, makes sense. I know I tend to think in a negative way very often. After reading this book I stop myself! I was surprised it I'd so easy. I will have to work at changing my negative thoughts but the book really helped, a lot.
Dinesh V Raju
Jun 06, 2015 Dinesh V Raju rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great advice

This book is insightful and positive. If you follow the advice in this book, you can definitely improve your life perspective and mood and learn to be responsible for your own happiness!
Lexie Carroll
Myy opinion of the book goes back and forth. Some of what I've read has been really helpful at changing the way I look at things (for the better) like living in the present moment; other things I shake my head at and strongly disagree with. Some things I read and said "I can't believe he's saying this" like his claim that talking about the past is really only detrimental to our immediate happiness. Overall his book is way over-simplified and over-generalized. He makes a few good points but overa ...more
Kevin Orpana
Nov 16, 2015 Kevin Orpana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of Richard Carlson... unfortunately he passed far too soon... not sure where this book is in the chronology of his writing but I do think its a good one... there are 5 key principles laid out for happiness (Thoughts; Moods; Separate Realities; Feelings; and Present Moment)... and then some application of the same in different areas of life... if you've read a happiness book before the 'separate realities' and 'present moment' concepts will be familiar... some of his thoughts on tho ...more
Zac Sigler
Feb 13, 2016 Zac Sigler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Similarly to The EASYWAY to Quit Smoking by Allen Carr, this book goes against the common culture that tells people to strive for perfection, and that striving is really hard. In fact, it is ridiculously easy to feel good. Admittedly, this may be an easier pill for some than others, but the central message of detaching your emotions from your thoughts is something everybody can do.
May 01, 2014 Kelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read and look into the human thought process. My negative thoughts are always trying to get the better of me. Now I have an understanding how to deal with them.
Jun 10, 2015 Leighkaren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Real, actual useful guidance that. resonated with me. So many don't. Very matter-of-fact, no-nonsense and practical. I loved it!
Dec 31, 2014 Zoie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Good. Not the best book I've ever read, but it had some good insights about life.
Read it in an hour or two.
Michael Hokanson
Very repetitive. Can be summed up by saying "don't think about anything that might upset you."
Linda Huffman
Feb 11, 2016 Linda Huffman rated it liked it
Interesting ideas on thoughts, personal realities, and being present.
This book isn't another "think happy, be happy" book. Instead, Richard Carlson teaches how to have healthy psychological functioning in a very simple style. He details what it is, what derails it, and how to obtain it through understanding the mental process and learning to let go of thoughts (mindfulness).

This book should be required reading every school year beginning in junior high. Companies should hold annual workshops teaching it's philosophy. People would understand how to handle their em
Sep 14, 2015 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Focuses on the 5 principles for keeping life in perspective

- Thought
- Mood
- Separate Realities
- Feelings
- Present Moment

Followed by examples and case studies
Bryan Tanner
Apr 03, 2014 Bryan Tanner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pseudo-science is awesome!
Feb 01, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's really true...
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very good book 1 2 Jun 25, 2013 06:55PM  
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Richard Carlson Ph.D. was an author, psychotherapist, and motivational speaker, who rose to fame with the success of his best-selling book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small Stuff (1997).

He met and married Kristine Anderson (Kris Carlson) in 1981 while he was a student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Carlson published his first book in 1985, but became famous when his Do
More about Richard Carlson...

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“As our appreciation of happiness in relationship increases, we take notice of the things that tend to take us away from this feeling. One major catalyst taking us away is the need to be right. An opinion that is taken too seriously sets up conditions that must be met first before you can be happy. In relationships, this might sound like 'You must agree with or see my point of view in order for me to love and respect you.' In a more positive feeling state, this attitude would seem silly or harmful. We can disagree, even on important issues, and still love one another - when our own thought systems no longer have control over our lives and we see the innocence in our divergent points of view.

The need to be right stems from an unhealthy relationship to your own thoughts. Do you believe your thoughts are representative of reality and need to be defended, or do you realize that realities are seen through different eyes? Your answer to this question will determine, to a large extent, your ability to remain in a positive feeling state.

Everyone I know, who has put positive feeling above being right on their priority list has come to see that differences of opinion will take care of themselves.”
“Happiness is a state of mind, not a set of circumstances.” 5 likes
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