Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Spontaneous Happiness” as Want to Read:
Spontaneous Happiness
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Spontaneous Happiness

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,896 ratings  ·  232 reviews
Everyone wants to be happy. But what does that really mean? Increasingly, scientific evidence shows us that true satisfaction and well-being come only from within.

Dr. Andrew Weil has proven that the best way to maintain optimum physical health is to draw on both conventional and alternative medicine. Now, in Spontaneous Happiness, he gives us the foundation for attaining a
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Spontaneous Happiness, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Spontaneous Happiness

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,896 ratings  ·  232 reviews

Sort order
Stacy Stosich
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book at my in-laws home and decided that I needed to finish it. The title makes the book sound like some cheesy pop-psychology book about chasing butterflies of happiness, but it was not that way at all. I was riveted right from the introduction where he writes about a "set point of emotional variability" or "emotional sea level" which is not happiness per se but rather peace and contentment. This is not a book obsessed with the idea that we must all be happy all the time. He su ...more
Roni Blanche
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
For any of you that fall into the black funks -- what I call my dips into depression -- like I do, "Spontaneous Happiness" is a godsend. In fact, the book is as much about fighting off depression as it is about courting happiness. I will admit at times it's a tough read, with lots of psychological lingo, and I've been plowing away for several weeks to finish it, but the results I'm getting in feeling less funk and more happy make the effort well worthwhile.
First, let me say that none of the inf
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone with a beating heart
Tremendous book. Written by a medical doctor and an integrative medicine specialist, this is a book about tending mind, body and spirit. It includes information such as the best foods to eat, how to incorporate exercise, supplements you need to take because your diet won't include them, I could go on and on. The audio book, read by the author, also highly recommended.

Dr. Weil has a very positive, not preachy, not dictatorial, just open way of explaining things and making suggestions. He is an o
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Somehow I received this free book when I downloaded the Kindle app for iPad. I can't say I will read another book via this route...I still prefer my paper books, but I did enjoy this one.

It is a great book about emotional and physical health, with an 8 week program for emotional wellbeing. It suggests simple things you can do to create more contentment in your life such as getting outdoors, bringing flowers into your home, incorporating meditation and exercise into your routine, and eating an an
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
قرأت النسخة العربية من الكتاب وعنوانه السعادة الفورية وما اعلم سبب عدم توفر صفحة للكتاب هنا..الكتاب متوفر بمكتبة جرير وقيمته 40 ريال

ما اميل ابدا لكتب التنمية الذاتية والتحفيز وانفر منها ومن عنوانينها الكاذبة والغبية:كيف تصبح غنيا في 10 ايام او كيف تزيد من ذاكرتك وقوة حفظك في اسبوع!!!

لذلك حصلت هذا الكتاب بالصدفة واشتريته فقط لاكمل مجموعة الكتب لكن مااجملها من صدفة..حبيت قرائته وكانه يملأ ثغرات وتساؤلات كثيرة في نفسي من وقت طويل

الكاتب يحاول عرض تجربته النفسية والعملية في الوصول للصحة العاطفية..صحة
Tony Rocco
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to be happy.
Recommended to Tony by: No one.
I have followed Dr. Andrew Weil's work since reading "The Natural Mind," recommended to me by a friend during my hippy-dippy college days. His later books, "Spontaneous Healing" and "Eight Weeks to Optimum Health," in which he advocates an "integrative" approach to health, were a big influence - although I admit not fully adhering to the guidelines and recommendations contained therein.

Something about Weil's methodical and exacting approach to health and diet, juxtaposed with his openness to ne
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
I listened to the audiobook version, which was impressively narrated by Dr. Weil himself. I particularly enjoyed the first and last sections of the book. The first section discussed the notion of happiness in the West and how a solely biomedical model may be insufficient in addressing the rise in depression rates we face in the West. The latter section suggested some simple, straightforward techniques that can be used in conjunction with Western methods to produce a greater sense of "comfort, se ...more
Amy Prosser
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A friend told me about this book, and I was definitely skeptical - I mean, look at the guy on the cover! He looks like a beaming, Buddist teddy bear! I was sure this book would be just another new-age, Buddist-y book about meditation and the like, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-researched book of medical advice. Turns out, teddy-bear-Weil is a doctor who at one point in college had B. F. Skinner as his advisor at Harvard! Crazy, right?

I didn't realize when I started reading this b
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I found the first section of this book extremely helpful. Many other books on happiness that I've read have left me feelling deficient because I haven't found the discipline to be happier all the time. His discussion of contentment vs. happiness and experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions and then coming back to "emotional sea-level" was very helpful for me. The rest of the book then was about ways to increase your own set point for emotional sea-level and make yourself more confident t ...more
Carolyn Rose
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I seldom read what I think of as self-help books, but I heard an interview on NPR and was intrigued both by his thoughts on happiness, emotional well-being, our expectations, and the prevalence of pills to "solve" the problem - any problem. I was also interested in the anti-inflammatory diet.

I got what I hoped from the book, and more, but I have to admit that, no matter what Weil suggests, no way am I giving up that one cup of coffee I drink every morning.
Mike W
Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it
In this book, Dr Weil offers some useful advice. He emphasizes the importance of exercise as well as omega-3 and vitamin D and recommends supplements for these. He also highlights recent advances in neuroscience concerning the plasticity of thinking and the ways in which our behavior and thinking can modify our brain structure and function, which can in turn affect our moods and well-being.

But some of its advice is hokey. For example, I doubt whether busy people will want to maintain a "gratitud
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've been an Andrew Weil fan since the 1980's. He is considered one of the founders of the Integrative Medicine movement. He brings his experience in these areas to assist people who experience depression and anxiety. He talks about dealing with his own depression and what has worked for him. He is not a believer in anti-depressants…and this is one of the areas that I find that I have reservations about his opinion. He does say that some people need them and if you need them, you need them. As a ...more
This is a great book for anyone wishing to improve their emotional well-being, increase their happiness set point, and learn simple tools to support their emotional health.

"Spontaneous Happiness" focuses on self-care for depression and anxiety using methods other than traditional Western medicine's prescription drug fixes, though it really can be applied to maintaining or improving emotional health in general. It's organized very simply and is well-structured to not be overwhelming. It provides
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want to be happier
Recommended to Darlene by: Yvensong
As someone on disability for depression and now fibromyalgia for over a decade, I felt I needed some new answers. I have always admired Dr. Andrew Weil so when my friend told me she liked it, I thought I ought to give it a try.

Kindle and their whispersynched Audible co-play helped me get through the techno-speak. Kindle's ability to fast forward Dr. Weil's slower speaking speed, helped this to be a fast and educational read. By the way, that was a hint my husband pointed out to me. That on smart
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book for anyone looking to do either of two things: begin a strong self-care program for bettering their mental health, or to supplement an existing strategy for mental health.

As someone who semi-regularly goes through depression and anxiety, and who went through a difficult period of post-partum depression, I found Dr. Weil's techniques and writings to be extremely approachable. Those who are already familiar with his methods of integrative medicine will appreciate the continuous a
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Darlene Milner
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

4 1/2 Stars

This book is not about a continuing state of happiness. It is about emotional balance and wellness, which consists of happiness, contentment, sadness and even periods of depression.

Dr. Weil cites several different branches of research, with referrals to different sources for further reading, regarding depression and some of the possible causes. He, then, discusses the many methods that someone could use to improve their chan
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm glad book club "forced" me to read this. :) Dr. Weil's philosophy embraces integrative medicine to treat depression and unhappiness, rather than going straight for the throat and taking medication, which he believes should be reserved for the most severe cases. Integrative medicine is his "biopsychosocialspiritual" model - I know, biowhaaaat??? It makes sense though. Weil believes lots of factors add up to our mental state - exercise, relationships and touch, spiritual health, eating the rig ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Integrative health guy talks about how to fight depression through a whole-health integrated lifestyle instead of relying solely on pills. He addresses lifestyle, eating, negative thought patterns, meditation, exercise, and spirituality. He's in some senses adapting his entire anti-inflammatory diet and philosophy of health to mental health. He's very careful to define major depressive disorders versus dysthymia and does not advocate simply dropping treatment or antidepressants, but he makes a g ...more
Sam Torode
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Re-reading portions of this. It's a good one...

"I wonder which changes in particular might account for the dramatic increase of depression in the past twenty years.... Not only do we suffer from nature deficit, but we are also experiencing information surfeit. Many people today spend much of their waking time surfing the Internet, texting and talking on mobile phones, attending to e-mail, watching television, and being stimulated by other new media--all experiences that were unavailable until r
Rebecca Dosick bernzweig
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book - sort of wish the title were different, as it makes you think he's spouting an easy solution. But if you know Dr. Weil you know that's not what he's about. The idea of emotional sea level is really thought-provoking and very down to earth. I love how he broke the chapters into physical, mental and spiritual well-being, as I am examining all three in my life right now. Great book for someone who struggles with relatively mild but sometimes intrusive depression. This tea ...more
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A patient recommended this to me, and I had trouble putting it down. weil outlines a clear approach to depression as an illness of isolation and poor nutrition and a disconnect from the body's natural settings, then respectfully addresses the more biomedical approaches to medicine but also pulls in easy-to-use information about herbals and supplements. I have already started taking vitamin D and fish oil on his recommendation and have been discussing these with patients. Dr. Weil has influenced ...more
Louise Silk
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an in-depth look at everything we need to maintain happiness, diet, exercise, mood, lifestyle, emotion, and spirit. Disregard the title- it is not spontaneous. At the end of the book is a 6-week program to integrate all of the information- also not spontaneous.

If you have read any of Dr. Weil's books or any of the other health/diet books on the market today, you won't find anything new or exciting in this one.

If you are new to the idea of integrated healthy life style that includes body
Carrie Comfort
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great, simple tips for those who may have occasional bouts of depression or anxiety. The beginning of the book discusses ways to combat depression and the science/research about it along with personal testimonies.
The book finishes with a plan for you to follow and how to get started on your own journey to becoming happier.
Jen Smith
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Andrews advice about being happy. So much good stuff in here I don't know where to start applying the stuff. I think I need to read it again, slowly this time. I like the scientific aspect as well as the personal experiences referenced.
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
What can I say, I am a sucker for Dr. Weil's self-help philosophy. I find 3/4 of it relevant and practical and the stuff I don't care for is easy to ignore. I always put down his books inspired to lead a healthier, happier life. I guess that's all I can ask for from them.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
أعتقد انه كتاب مهم لمكتبة القارىء مهما كان اهتمامه,سبق وكتبت مراجعة في النسخة الأصلية في الرابط,قراءة موفقة للكل
Stephen Hull
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Good, solid advice, presented in a reasonably concise fashion. Now to find the discipline to put it into practice...
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A second reading found this book much more helpful than the first. Highly recommended.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am presently 25 y/o. I purchased this book during my last contract on board the luxury cruise liner I work on, in its boutique, one evening after I ended my shift earlier than the shop would close (I presently work as a bar waitress). It had been a while since I visited the shop, and it was the first time that it had books on display, a rarity for me to see. And as a faithful book lover, I purchased them without thinking twice (I'm not sure what was up with this impulsive purchase, as it was v ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Happiness arises spontaneously from sources within us. Seeking it outside ourselves is counterproductive." ~Andrew Weil
Dr. Weil begins his book explaining what true happiness (emotional well-being) is, the possible reasons for the "depression" epidemic and the science behind all the old and new drugs used for treatment. Then he spends the better part of his book explaining how we can all better take care of our bodies, minds and spirits for the complete betterment of ourselves. He never claims
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs
  • Ultraprevention: The 6-Week Plan That Will Make You Healthy for Life
  • I Have Cancer. And I've Never Felt Better!
  • Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness
  • Developing Intuition: Practical Guidance for Daily Life
  • Social Q's: How to Survive the Quirks, Quandaries and Quagmires of Today
  • The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath's Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart's Intelligence
  • What Are You Hungry For?: The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of Soul
  • From Panic to Power: Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life
  • Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain
  • A Year of Living Consciously: 365 Daily Inspirations for Creating a Life of Passion and Purpose
  • Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui
  • This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down
  • Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself
  • Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Wisdom
  • The Creation of Health: The Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Responses That Promote Health and Healing
  • The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn about Ourselves from Our Machines
  • Are You My Guru?: How Medicine, Meditation & Madonna Saved My Life
Andrew Weil, M.D., is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care that encompasses body, mind, and spirit. He is the author of many scientific and popular articles and of 14 books: The Natural Mind, The Marriage of the Sun and Moon From Chocolate to Morphine (with Winifred Rosen) Health and Healing, Natural Health, Natural Me ...more
“If you want to be in optimum emotional health, realize that social isolation stands between you and it. Reach out to others. Join groups—to drum, meditate, sing, sew, read, whatever. Find communities—to garden, do service work, travel, whatever. We humans are social animals. Spontaneous happiness is incompatible with social isolation. Period.” 9 likes
“But hard does not mean depressed, just as easy does not mean content.” 2 likes
More quotes…