Lynn's Reviews > The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
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's review
Aug 27, 09

Read in June, 2009

I picked up this book because of recommendations by other people who generally have good taste, my taste :). I was hesitant because it seemed like a pop psychology self help book. Self help books always consist of authors hectoring people to change their attitude about the world. This book acknowledged the fact, but didn't pretend to have a secret formula.

Here are a few ideas the author developed throughout the book which resonated with me.

- How we think about the world is more important than how the world is.
You can change how you think about the world through various cognitive behavior techniques, meditation, and the SSRI drugs. All 3 are underutilized. I agree wholeheartedly.

- Sacredness or spirituality is important.
It might surprise the people who know my religious views, but I completely agree with this too.

- Bias blinds us.
Yes indeed. I know it blinds me. However, my biases allowed me to see the biases of the author.

-Reciprocity is important.
And this is conditioned by evolution.

Some words of wisdom from ancient Greeks, China, and India can be found throughout the book. These are connected to the latest experimental evidence from modern psychology. I found the following words of wisdom from modern England best summarizes them all.

“Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”
– Monty Python

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