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Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier
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Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  236 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The first major study of gratitude that shows how “wanting what we have” can measurably change people’s lives.

Did you know that there is a crucial component of happiness that is often overlooked? Robert Emmons—editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology—examines what it means to think and feel gratefully in Thanks! and invites readers to learn how to put this pow
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 6th 2008 by Mariner Books (first published August 6th 2007)
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Robert Emmons is a psychologist who studies gratitude scientifically. He's also a Christian with a religious commitment to gratitude as a spiritual practice, which may annoy people with a commitment to a non-religious worldview. (He does give almost equal airtime to non-Christian religions, though.)

In an accessible style peppered with quotations from philosophers, theologians and writers, Emmons discusses scientific findings on how the practice of gratitude can improve happiness and health, and
Cultivating gratitude is a great idea and I like this guy's take on it--enthusiastic. Two things were big red flags to me about his research--one, he esposuses Whorfian linguistics (by that I mean linguistic determinism, or "your vocabulary determines your altitude)...and that's been roundly panned, c'mon! Also, he makes the age-old argument that "boys like pornography, and girls like romance novels," which is crap. Otherwise a good read.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Emmons serendipitiously began to study gratitude during a conference on the classical sources of human strength: wisdom, hope, love, spirituality, gratitude, humility; he signed up for humility but was assigned gratitude. Emmons was surprised to find that by practicing gratitude, people can increase their happiness. Apparently, the brain can not experience both negative and positive emotions at the same time. Emmons proposes ten ways for adults to practice gratitude: keeping a gratitude journal; ...more
Oct 16, 2011 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of non-fiction
I loved the concept of this book. The mere title made me smile and the topic is dear to me. I cannot express here how grateful I am for the blessings I have in life and I know that I should demonstrate that gratitude far more often. The book itself is good, but a bit redundant, so I cannot call it great.

I thought the material was well-researched and the anecdotes were interesting, but overall, the book didn't really draw me in; it felt more like a scientific research paper than an engaging stor
Brian Johnson
“Gratitude has never, until recently, been examined or studied by scientific psychologists. It is possible that psychology has ignored gratitude because it appears, on the surface, to be a very obvious emotion, lacking in interesting complications: we receive a gift—from friends, from family, from God—and then we feel pleasurably grateful. But while the emotion seemed simplistic even to me as I began my research, I soon discovered that gratitude is a deeper, more complex phenomenon that plays a ...more
I read parts of it and the content was good, but I wasn't in the mood for it's scientific slant. I'll probably read the whole thing some other time.

For passages and a quote I liked from this book, see:

I learned many things about how to be happy by being grateful. I read this for my book group and we will have a great time talking about this book. I learned that I should keep a gratitude journal and record my blessings each day. I learned that I should pray and express my gratitude to Him. I learned that even when I am going through hard times, like Job, I should be grateful. The author's many studies showed and proved that we are happier when we show gratitude. :) Be Happy. Practice smiling-- ...more
Ein bisschen esoterisch mutet der Titel schon an. Im Klappentext heißt es: Man solle dankbar durchs Leben gehen, schöne Momente des Alltags würdigen und Mitmenschen Anerkennung zollen. Da ist man gespannt, was die Lektüre bringt. Dankbarkeit, heisst es gleich zu Beginn, könne das Leben eines Menschen messbar verändern (8). Hier fällt auch gleich das Wort von der positiven Psychologie. Ihr geht es um die Erforschung der positiven Aspekte des menschlichen Lebens und Miteinanders, "die das Leben ge ...more
I'm actually surprised, given the subject matter of this book, that I didn't enjoy it more than I did. However, despite being a short book (it's only just over 200 pages excluding footnotes), it was not a quick read: as one of my status updates said, it felt not unlike wading through treacle at various points.

Don't get me wrong, there's good material in here. Yes, it's important to understand how and why gratitude is important (that part of the book was 'preaching to the choir' for me), and it's
I found this a far lighter read than standard scientific studies. It is clearly marketed for the general populace, so it's not as cross reference heavy as what I am used to getting my information from.
This does not really detract from the bottom line, I just found it a little disorienting.

Since this is a study of happiness and how to glean it from your circumstances, it left a positive mark. I knew this before I opened it.
Closing it, this is my same opinion.
Emmons' Thanks! is much more science-oriented than I expected. I should have been queued in by the "New Science of Gratitude" bit. Essentially, the entire 200+ pages are one gigantic argument for the thesis that a grateful mindset can improve an individual's overall happiness. Emmons' thesis is supported by the studies and theories of behavioral scientists, philosophers, and sociologists, and he cites hundreds of various case studies--including ones that he himself conducted--on the subject of g ...more
There is always some real or imagined pleasure that stands in the way of the happiness of the ungrateful person.
There is not much we can usually do to change circumstances except by adapting to them, bu we can change the way we intentionally react to them.
One is never lacking in opportunities to be happy; we can achieve control over our natural tendencies to make comparisons, to take things for granted and to feel entitled.
If a person's attention is consistently devoted to things they do not ha
Jan 29, 2014 Cyndie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cyndie by: Loudoun County Public Library
I enjoyed this book and it had a lot of insightful and practical information. It should be especially appealing to Christian readers, the book is a bit heavy on the bible references for what is billed as a scientific approach to gratitude. All in all, it's hard to argue with gratitude being good for us and he provides some helpful strategies at the end for incorporating gratitude into our every day lives. Glad I read it.
A researcher exploring gratitude -- it's meaning, obstacles to and benefits of. As someone who already leads a life of gratitude often, this book was not as significant or life changing as it might be for others at a different point in their lives. Nevertheless, it was a brief and ready reminder of the merits of being more intentional about leading a life of gratitude. I will keep it and refer to it for sermons, perhaps, and for stewardship talks.
I wouldn't say Thanks! is particularly deep or insightful and it doesn't cover the 'scientific' aspect of gratitude and how it affects humanity etc. It uses a lot of the anecdotes, which I'm not fond of, though for a book on so subjective a subject there's little else to do.

As a Christian, I find it odd to say this, but for the kind of book this is, I was surprised by the emphasis on Christianity-related gratitude a little disconcerting--perhaps because it purported to be a scientific analysis.
Although this book is a little difficult/tedious to wade through (much of it simply summarizes scientific experiments that have been done on 'gratitude'), I found it fascinating. Some of the studies are so surprising - for example, the study that shows that having gratitude may help minimize pain.

If you already believe gratitude is important and want to skip all the studies, the last two chapters are practical application. The first talks about obstacles to overcome - things that make it difficu
Michael Carbonari
Emmons goes to great lengths to explain why and how gratitude can make you happier. Ben Stein says in his book, "It's the only totally reliable get-rich-quick scheme."
Fantastic book! Just reading it helped me feel a new sense of gratitude for all my blessings.
This book really made me think about how important it is to be grateful and to show gratitude and how much of a positive impact gratitude can have on your life. I actually ended up purchasing it after reading it from the library, but I'm worried my book may be lost in the mail somewhere, because it's not arrived yet.

Anyway, it really changed my outlook on life in a positive way and made me want to be a more optimistic person.
Courtney Louise
It took me longer then expected to finish the book, but it was extremely beneficial for me. I because a lot more aware of the good things in my life rather than the negative. I actually say 'Thank You' a lot more as well. Life is much more livable when you only focus on what you have and be grateful for it instead of always telling yourself you will only be happy if you obtain something else.
David Owen
I truly appreciate the amount of research the author did on this topic as well as the tremendous value of gratitude. At times it does read like a research report, making it easy to get bogged down and lose interest in the middle part of the book. However the chapter on giving thanks in adversity is outstanding, and the last chapter on tip for increasing gratitude is valuable also.
Becky Morlok
I kept this book on my desk for most of the summer. It was gifted to me several years ago by my former minister's wife. It was a nice compliment to 1000 Gifts, the best book I've read this year. While this book is more clinical in nature as part of a study on thanks, it is loaded with quotes and tidbits you want to read and re-read. Another lesson that a thankful life is a happy life!
I think I would have liked this better as an academic paper than as a book. I really like some of the concepts and discoveries described in the book, but it started to feel repetitive as I got further into the book. Read the first couple of chapters and you'll learn all you need to know from this author. It's definitely some great stuff to think about!
Since most of us are trained to be thankful, this book might seem superfluous. However, this book offers scientific proof that gratitude is good for your health and recommends disciplines toward greater gratefullness. I liked the chapter about "Gratitude in TryingTimes." I found noteworthy to see ingratitude described as a vice or sin.
Agnes M
Really enjoyed this book. It does get heavy at times with seemingly too much science which may be necessary for some readers. The section on religion was brief, and though I was skeptical reading through it I was pleasantly surprised at how it covered a variety of religions and even included a section for the non-religious.

Overall a great read.
Jun 26, 2011 Relyn rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like statstics, master's thesises and the like
Recommended to Relyn by: one of my magazines
Ick! OK, I am a person who practices gratitude. A lot. Daily. It's a personal discipline for me, for my family. I love the idea of gratitude and counting your blessings. So, I was very excited about this book. Boring, deadly dull, scholarly... ICK! He took a life changing idea and make it dry science. Not for me, thanks.
The author is a professor at UC Davis that studies the psychology of gratitude. The shows how practicing gratitude can improve one's overall happiness. I felt like he was awkward in making his point after a while. However, overall am happy with the book and have started practicing some of the gratitude techniques he suggests.
Tiffany Young
This book will not only give you the research behind gratitude and why living a grateful life leads to a longer, happier life, but will also teach ways to cultivate gratitude. If you've ever felt you should be more thankful, this book will tell you why you're right and what to do about it.
Mallory Kimble
Full of information and references to research studies about gratitude. Obviously most of us probably know we should be more grateful and this book really reinforces the reasons why. It also ends with 10 ways that you can begin a gratitude practice, including keeping a gratitude journal.
This is not just sweetness and light, it has real science to back up its claims that living in gratitude can change your life. He also presents practices to help you grow in your thinking. I am very grateful to have found this book. I will look for more like it to keep me on track.
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