The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want
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The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  2,539 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Learn how to achieve the happiness you deserve

"A guide to sustaining your newfound contentment."--Psychology Today

You see here a different kind of happiness book. The How of Happiness is a comprehensive guide to understanding the elemetns of happiness based on years of groundbreaking scientific research. It is also a practical, empowering, and easy-to-follow workbook, in...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Anna
As someone who has been on a bit of a quest for several years now, I can say that this book illuminated a whole new corner of the tent under which all things happiness-related are kept. Sonja is a scientist in the field of positive psychology (studying what makes people happy to begin with as opposed to unraveling problems after they have manifested themselves) with a scoff-proof academic pedigree (hello, Harvard and Stanford). For anyone who has a hard time buying into things like "The Secret"...more
Doc Opp
I got this free from a publisher who wanted me to use it in my class. I applaud the attempt to use actual science in the oversaturated self-help happiness market. Its nice to see somebody with qualifications who actually does research on the topic writing this sort of thing. And as that genre of books go, its probably well above its peers. But I do empirical psychology for a living, and so I couldn't read it without getting into "reviewer mode". And let me tell you, there are a lot of things in...more
Megan
Feb 24, 2008 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mom & Becky
Recommended to Megan by: Oprah
Excellent book on tangible ways to increase happiness in your life. Basic theory: We have a genetic happiness set point that accounts for 50% of our happiness, 10% of our happiness comes from our life's circumstances, like where we live, what car we drive, how much money we make, etc. And the remaining 40% rests in how we choose to be happy everyday (i.e. our daily activities). The book focuses on refining that 40%. All based on empirical evidence. A must read.
Debbie
If we are going to achieve anything substantial in our lives, it will require a committed effort. The author points out that the same principle applies to our state of happiness - a good deal of effort is required. She calls it "the most rewarding work we'll ever do."

Ms. Lyubomirsky describes a mindstate called Self-Focused Rumination which is a term psychologists use to describe otherthinking. She writes: "The combination of rumination and a negative mood is toxic.....People who ruminate while...more
Alan Hamilton


An interesting book which initially tries to apply some science to happiness and then describes ways of improving your happiness level. As expected, most are useful but some are tosh.
Like a lot of these types of books, there are a few real nuggets in there - it's a case of finding the bits that help you.
The book is definitely worth reading.
April
Excellent advice about things you can do everyday to be happier.
Lucia Iordache
This book is my book club’s latest selection. Want to be happier but you don’t know how to go about it? Maybe this book can help. For the sceptics out there who don’t believe in self-help books, the basis of this book is pure science. Study after study has been complied into this book to come up with helpful tools for how to become happier. Turns out that 50% of our happiness pie is already predetermined by our genetics, 10% is constituted by our social conditions (rich/poor; married/divorced; s...more
Anthony


What are the thing's that make a person happier? The author gather's much of the research data done on happiness and lays it out for you.

There really aren't any big surprises involved here. It's stuff like exercise, having friends, being a considerate and optimistic person. Stuff like that. She comes up with a list of 12 things that any person could do to become happier in general. This after the caveat that a great deal of one's happiness seems to actually be already set by birth, in other wor...more
Lucia Gannon
I am about half-way through this book and it is beginning to annoy me a little. If you have read anything in the positive psychology vein, Seligman, Peterson or Csiksentmihalyi, this will not be new.
I know there is research behind what she is saying so I don't need to be reminded every second sentence.
I also find her very repetitive. I know it is writen for the non-expert but I really do not think there is any need to keep repeating everthing ad nauseum.
The "hows" are interesting and applicable...more
Jon
May 17, 2008 Jon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think the picture on the cover means pie will make them happy (it won't)
Recommended to Jon by: Costco
Everyone wants to be "happy", which has resulted in no less than, like, 50 million books on "how to be happy". Everyone has their own ideas on what makes people happy; who's to say who is "right" and who is "wrong"?

Well, Sonja Lyubomirsky, that's who. Because while other people are writing their books based on intuition, personal experience, limited observation, or just plain guessing, Lyubomirsky has approached the subject from a different angle: scientific experiments.

It turns out there is a s...more
Mohammad Ali Abedi
In my quest to find the mystery to life, I go through yet another self-help book, but with “How of Happiness”, I was lured in by its promise of a scientific approach to happiness.

Biggest bullshit ever.

The scientific angle is merely a ploy to make it more legitimate. The book is exactly the same as every other self-help book, with the exact same advices, and the only difference being every cliché being started with “According to studies…”. Usually, the studies are never explained or mentioned, an...more
Lisa Sipe
Lyubomirsky asserts that up to 40% of your happiness is within your power to change. She then makes available a number of assessment instruments that measure your happiness level and help you select from 12 happiness activities that best match your personality, resources, goals and needs. Each of the activities is presented with empirical evidence of its efficacy and suggestions for related activities that might also fit. These activities represent habits rather than goals, and as such, are some...more
Eva
Notes from Kindle:

patients who have a good understanding of the thinking behind treatments are more likely to comply with them

They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships. They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have. They are often the first to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby. They practice optimism when imagining their futures. They savor life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment. They make...more
Jessica
The scientific approach to happiness is getting a lot of grant funding and media exposure lately, and this is the latest offering. As with most self-help books (because that's what this is, scientific or not), it could have been a fraction of the length and still gotten the point across. I began resenting the author's insistence on the "science" behind her strategies because let's face it, we've been instructed to exercise and eat right for quite some time. However, for some people, maybe seeing...more
Intplibrarian
I followed the Nancy Pearl rule, though not intentionally. It was near page 50 that I decided this book was, well, ridiculous. Self-reporting of happiness? No discussion of how that might in itself be relative? That and the author's declaration, as thought it would be true of all people, that cuddling one's own child is the epitome of happiness. Uhm, I'm pretty sure those parents out there that didn't want to be parents wouldn't ALL agree with that.

I do believe that one can do things to change o...more
Sanjay Kumar
I am a voracious reader of self help books, not because I have too many problems, but because I am amazed by the power of human mind and want to learn more about it.

This is probably the most scientific book on happiness, a welcome break from hundred other books on the topic that follow the stereotype plot of some guy renouncing the corporate world, joining a yoga/meditation retreat and learning the art of happiness. Nothing wrong with those retreats, but I feel you don't need to live like a monk...more
Heidi Kyhl
This is a very useful book. The author has a scientific approach to therapeutical ways of changing your life. It is easy to read and has many good easy to use ways of helping you. I especially like the chapter on rumination which has helped me a lot.
Stacy
This book gives concrete, scientifically proven ways to increase your happiness no matter your current happiness level. I'm finding it very interesting thus far.
Corley
I read this and "The Myths of Happiness" as textbook assignments in a leadership course in college. The book is decent. I like her style of writing, and she gives good suggestions/examples. Some chapters were more helpful than others. At times, I felt the material to be repetitive or unnecessary (just because you could come to the same conclusions with some common sense). Nevertheless, the book is very helpful and applicable to life. Because the author has her doctorate in psychology, everything...more
Katja
What makes you happy? If your answer is something silly like “money” or “my looks”, this book is probably just what you need.

This is a decent introduction to the field of positive psychology – the study of what makes people happy – and the emerging research supporting it. Sonja tackles some important questions , the answers to which will be unexpected and highly challenging for some – particularly those people that buy into (pun intended) the idea that more money = more happy. She eloquently des...more
Becky Ginther
This book was appealing to me because many times I do feel like I'm not as happy as I could be. I found the topic really interesting, and the book was pretty well written overall. The basic idea is that we have a happiness "set point", and the reason why some people are happier than others is just because they are naturally, genetically born that way. However, you can raise your set point by being conscious of certain activities. Apparently 40% of your happiness can be controlled and changed.

It...more
Matt McCormick
60% of your happiness level is pre-determined and out of your control. But that leaves 40% up to each person.

Even though some things weren't so new to me with this book, I really enjoyed it. I liked the scientific approach the author took to giving advice about happiness. Rather than some self-help books that just tell you what worked for the author, this book dives into what works on a general level for most people.

I also really enjoyed the way the author presented the reader with options for i...more
Wendy Palmer
Third book in a row that I bought online and got something I didn't expect (I'm usually better at researching titles before I buy them, I swear...), though this one was not a disappointment like the previous two. I thought it would be a detailed account of the current state of research into positive psychology - the 'science of happiness'.

Rather, it briefly states the outcome of the research and goes into practical detail about how to apply the findings to your everyday life to become happier. A...more
Deb
*Happiness need not be pie in the sky*

What determines happiness, and how in the heck can we go about achieving it? These are the questions that Sonja's book satisfyingly addresses. Although her book is based on scores of scientific papers and research findings, Sonja does an amazing job in presenting the science in a down-to-earth, human, and easy-to-apply way. The basic premise of her book revolves around the "unifying theory of happiness" which explains that although 60% of our happiness may...more
Shel
This researched-based self-help book gets straight to the bottom line: happiness.

Sure, you can lose weight, get rich, and influence people, but will these things make you happier? No, according to research.

On the other hand by becoming happier, "...we not only boost experiences of joy, contentment, love, pride, and awe but also improve other aspects of our lives: our energy levels, our immune systems, our engagement with work and with other people, and our physical and mental health...we benefi...more
David
Finally some scientific research on happiness: I was recently given this book from a friend as I have suffered from moderate depression off and on for 30 years. I found it very compelling regards to the thoughts on happiness in regards to genetics, life circumstances and ones ability to influence happiness through working on it in a cognitive way. I did not really get hung up here as a previous poster on if 50% is genetics, 10% circumstances and the remaining 40% is knowledge and work ethic. It...more
Rubina
According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the original titles for this book was "The 40 Percent Solution" because the premise of the book is that 40 percent is that part of our happiness that is in our power to change through how we act and how we think. This portion represents the potential for increased lasting happiness that resides in all of us. The How of Happiness, thus shows us how to to move from our current state to a even higher one.
The book is 3 main parts : Part One explains the theory...more
Katie/Doing Dewey
Unlike many happiness and self-help books, The How of Happiness is very solidly based in scientific research. The author, Sonja Lyubomirsky, is a psychology professor at UC Riverside with a degree from Stanford who does a great job pulling together current happiness research. The main premise of the book is that 50% of our happiness is inherited, only 10% is determined by circumstance, and 40% of our happiness is determined by our own thoughts and behavior. Activities presented here are intended...more
Carl Klutzke
50% of your happiness is determined by a hedonistic setpoint outside your control. 10% is determined by your circumstances. 40% is determined by your actions, and within your control. Dan Gilbert's _Stumbling on Happiness_ exposes misconceptions about happiness. Lyubomirsky's book is a great followup, presenting twelve scientifically tested strategies to choose from for making yourself happier. It's a great alternative to the anecdotal "it worked for me" suggestions from most self-help books.
Scott
I had to read this for my Positive Psych class and I enjoyed it. The book had a great mixture of research evidence on the topic of happiness as well as practical applications to life. Sonja's writing is easy to follow and the topics she chose to put into this book were clear and had purpose. The book did not drag on because she was concise and did not go off on tangents or on things unrelated to happiness. She included twelve different activities throughout the book that are researched and shown...more
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Happiness 3 21 Jan 19, 2014 07:38AM  
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