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Happiness is a Serious Problem

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  987 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews

We are completely satisfied with nothing

There is little correlation between the circumstances of people's lives and how happy they are.

This is the repair manual we should have been handed at birth

When you ask people abouttheir most cherished values in life, "happiness" is always at the top of the list. However, unhappiness does not seem to be the exceptional order

Audiobook, 0 pages
Published February 20th 2008 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1st 1998)
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Craig Williams
My brother, a fairly staunch Republican, highly recommended I read this book, as it completely changed his life. Since my brother doesn't read much, my curiosity was piqued. Also, I'm one of those people whom, if you recommend a book, I will read it. If a book is SO GOOD that you INSIST I read it, especially a book so good that changed your life, then by god, I'll see what all the fuss is about!

Meh. I can see how this book would be a positive influence on one's life, but most of the things discu
Oct 25, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kara by: Kevin Peterson
Interesting. There were times where I thought, "this is so true! he's right on!" And then a few pages later, I thought "he's nuts." So yeah, I will take some and leave some from this book.
It does make me think anew about some decisions I make. I now at times ask "Is this fun for right now? or Will this make me happier in the long run?" Basically, he says that some things are fun in the moment, but won't contribute to overall happiness. These can be the littlest things in your day. Thinking this
Alexander Fitzgerald
This Jewish gentleman is one of my favorite thinkers on Earth. I began listening to him because I enjoyed most (not all) of his conservative views. At a younger age I was hysterically liberal. As I came to manage a business and employees, started paying taxes, and began helping people who did nothing for me in return I initiated my conservative lean (although I refused to vote for Romney). Once I saw how the religious freedoms of Christians are repeatedly infringed upon by The Left I began getti ...more
Regina Doman
This is one of those books that can change you forever. For me, it reaffirmed, from a secular perspective, what I had been taught in a religious context and gave it the added social dimension that universalized the principal. Basically, to use Prager's own words, "Happiness is a moral obligation: happy people make the world a better place. The world is made worse by the unhappy." Challenging words? Yes. But if more and more people heeded them, especially women, this world would be a better place ...more
May 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some people criticize this book because they feel like it says be happy with what you have and don't try to change it. But I got so much more out of it. Setting aside expectations can be a key to happiness. I thought it was a great message for a world full of people with entitlement issues.
Laura Leaney
I've always enjoyed Dennis Prager's commentary on the radio and his syndicated columns, at least when they used to be included in the LA Times. He's a clear and logical thinker, cutting right to the ethical truth of certain ills besetting our society. The first half of this book was enjoyable for me, and Prager's views on what causes unhappiness and what makes us happy is a nice reminder that our own mindset is what prevents our joy - not our circumstances. Definitely reminiscent of the teaching ...more
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really think this should be required reading for everyone. It's very illuminating and thought provoking. I've always thought of myself as a pretty happy person before reading this, but I've been working on a few things in this book I recognized that I do like the Broken Tile Syndrome. Caught myself doing that more than once.
David Lafferty
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
everyone in the world should read this book
Cole Ramirez
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This wasn't absolutely terrible, but I can't say I'm any happier having read it. I closed the book with the foremost thought in my mind "no duh". I suppose if you've never once considered the reasons some people are happier than others there might be a few beneficial nuggets in there but to me it was pretty unenlightening. I would have appreciated more facts as well - real research and statistics.

As a side note, I think it's really strange that Prager defines his greatest macro goal as "communi
Amjad Al Taleb
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rubbish
There is only one result in this book! Find a God, any god and this serious problem is solved! The author never stops wondering on how non religious people could ever find happiness yet he did not tackle this issue. Even more it has to be an Abrahamic god, African and Indian gods aren't that good at solving problems.

So basically the book is useless, however, the author is sencere in commenting on how what seems to be a fun and happy experience is in fact a hard thing like being in a relationship
Monica Willyard
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill self help book. Rather, this is a compendium of the authors thoughts and ideas about the things that contribute to or detract from happiness. The author contends that happiness stems from how we handle our human nature and what we choose to do about the possibility of a compassionate God who has ways and means beyond us. I have found several helpful ideas here that I plan to explore over the next few months.
Jennifer Dressner

Prager does a remarkable job of putting things in as clear and concise a package as possible. My only critique is that he could have repeated more of his main points in the epilog ur for better recall. Besides that, if followed this book could truly change people and help them become happier! Excellent and Insightful!
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Interesting read... Praeger makes his point logically by distilling and breaking down his argument into smaller chunks. I think he is spot on throughout most of the book especially for a more secular leaning point of view (although he does talk about his Jewish faith).
Katie McNabb
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started out a bit slow but full of good reminders!!
I think I would give this 3 1/2 stars. It started out strong and Prager has a really strong perspective on personal choice and happiness. He is very opinionated, which can be off-putting if you don't agree with all of those strong opinions, but this book is more appealing to a broader base because of the topic. I definitely received some new insights.
Gail Brown
Some insightful observations, such as fun does not equal happiness. But not a book that will change my life.
Joshua Naabu
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece

Its very informative. This book teaches how to live a happy life and reasons why most people are unhappy. A great work done here.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot of good food for thought about an issue that affects many people.
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Malinda by: Lorrie Jaegger
Everything worthwhile in life is attained through hard work.
I try to be happy unless something happens that makes me unhappy, rather than unhappy unless something makes me happy.
Unhappiness formula: U= I - R. (Unhappiness equals your own Images minus Reality).
If you equate happiness with success, you will never achieve the amount of success necessary to make you happy.
Fun is temporary, happiness is on-going.
Expectations lead to unhappiness.
Young children need, deserve, and therefore seek uncondi
ryan shiitake
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before this, I was blown away by Prager's "Still The Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph", which I attribute as having a major influence on changing the way I view things at large and almost making me do a 180 degree turn from politically liberal to conservative.

At any rate, this book was also very good, though not "excellent" - it is indeed more of a collection of short essays, which sometimes leave the reader with a lot of questions or desire for more depth. The ideas con
Nicole Hersh
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My husband recommended this to me because I've been having some mental health issues. (full disclosure: my husband has become a conservative in the past year, and I would have never considered reading anything by Dennis Prager a year ago, but I see, through my husband, that he's not as crazy right wing as I thought.)
I enjoyed this book and it gave me some good advice to help get me back on the right track (though Prozac and therapy are also helping). After my husband read it, he was acting so m
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
I have listened to Dennis Prager on and off through the years, and I always appreciate his perspective on human nature, so I was curious to read this book. I was not disappointed! Prager talks about many common barriers to happiness, and what we can do to combat those in order to be as happy as we can be despite our circumstances. Great insight on happiness and human nature.

That said, I do not agree with Prager on everything. I found myself disagreeing with Chapter 27, where Prager argues for a
Петър Стойков
Книгата ми я препоръча една приятелка, иначе никога нямаше да прочета подобна книга - прекалено много прилича на селф-хелп бозите, които наводняват книжния пазар, които ги четат главно празноглави патки и в тях пише неща като духовно извисяване и други цитати от дийпак чопра или генератора на случайни негови фрази (не можах да схвана разликата, ама май и почитателите на чопра не успяват: хехе).

Книгата е кратка и описаното в нея точно кореспондира с моите впечатлени
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
[I started reading this book at my parent's house on vacation and haven't quite finished it. I didn't agree with the author on all points doctrinally speaking, but I still want to give it five stars for now, because it really pointed out some amazing insights on why we aren't happy sometimes. The more we can understand those concepts the happier we can learn to be on a consistent basis.]

So- I finally borrowed a copy from the library and finished it. I think I want to own this book-it is
Dec 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains outdated, conservative and false views that have the potential of misleading people. I would not recommend it because of its narrow minded view of the world.

An absolute false statements is "Animals cannot know happiness.".

It is also clear that the author has no understanding about Buddhism and should have therefore not made statements about the fundamentals of Buddhism and also not used it to explain why his religion is superior.

The author believes that only religious people c
Feb 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Dennis Prager, and have read all of his books. His is my favorite talk radio show; I podcast it every week, especially his Ultimate Issues Hour. Prager is a conservative Jew who writes, speaks, and thinks about religion, values, politics, current events, etc. I don't agree with his every position, but I always walk away knowing a bit more than I did at the beginning (I have the same experience when I watch Rachel Maddow). In this book, Mr. Prager discusses what happiness is, how you can b ...more
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so it's pretty embarrassing that I just finally finished reading this book, since it was the book I CHOSE for our book club back in September. In my defense, I loaned it out, then lost it, and just finally found it again (packed away with my summer clothes, of all places; don't ask why I was burrowing in that particular bin in the first place, because I have no idea now..).

But I do really like this book. And I'm glad I took my time reading it, because I think it's better taken in gradually
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered this book at my mom's and I was a few chapters shy of reading the entire thing when we left. However, I don't think it will change my rating that much next time I go out there and finish it so forgive me for posting this when I haven't really read the whole thing:) Nothing in this book was really new to me, but it was a great refresher course. Happiness is a choice. Fun is temporary; happiness is lasting. People present a different front to the world than the reality of their lives. ...more
Aug 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know how to rate this book - since I have heard most of it on the radio. I know when I heard it on the radio, in Dennis Prager's Happiness Hour, (2nd hour every friday of his 3 hr. show), each point made a huge impact on me...and I started bugging the entire family to listen and Randy, Summer and Ryan have done so, with Randy and Ryan downloading it each day for their commutes. He has changed my marriage with his man/woman hour, and we all love him. Dennis Prager is such a clear t ...more
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Dennis Prager is an American syndicated radio talk show host, syndicated columnist, author, and public speaker. He is noted for his conservative political and social views emanating from conservative Judeo-Christian values.
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“The Joy of Victimhood There are some clear rules about happiness. One is that you cannot be happy if your primary identity is that of a victim, even if you really are one. There are a number of reasons: People who regard themselves as victims do not see themselves as in control of their lives. Whatever happens in their lives happens to them, not by them. People who primarily regard themselves as victims see the world as unfair to them in particular. Just as the young student who always sees himself as “being picked on” is an unhappy soul, so is the person who carries that attitude into adulthood. People who regard themselves primarily as victims are angry people, and an angry disposition renders happiness impossible. People who have chosen to regard themselves as victims cannot allow themselves to enjoy life, because enjoying life would challenge their perception of themselves as victims.” 7 likes
“Yes, there is a “secret to happiness”—and it is gratitude. All happy people are grateful, and ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads to people becoming unhappy. Become grateful and you will become a much happier person.” 5 likes
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