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If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy?
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If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy?

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  722 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Could the same traits that drive your career success also be keeping you from being happier?

Fifteen years after getting his MBA, Raj Raghunathan spent some time with his old classmates. He noticed that though they’d all done well, there didn’t appear to be much correlation between their academic success and career success. What Raj found even more curious was the even smal
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Portfolio (first published June 2nd 2015)
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Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like this book. The title is very captivating and that's the main reason I choose to read it. I didn't know anything about related Coursera courses and that there was actual research on happiness.
I really enjoyed reading the book, because it is really straightforward and helped me to acknowledge a new and interesting world.
I liked when the author showed how happiness can be defined (not relying only on abstract concept) and I also liked how he addressed the problems (sins) and the viable solu
Tom Quinn
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Clichés be damned – I'm kicking off the New Year with a self-help book. Like most titles in the burgeoning "happiness research" genre there is no silver bullet to feeling good all the time to be found here. But I was pleased to see a lot more research cited than simple gut-level feel-good philosophy. Dr. Raghunathan seems like a warm and wise fellow who'd be fun to talk with, and his personality helped buoy this book up above my expectations going in.

Still, like every self-help book out there th
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A Business school professor examines happiness, with some interesting conclusions.

Strongest impressions from the book: first 2 chapters about how people devalue happiness and focus on the activities that they think will bring them happiness. Often we do this because happiness is hard to measure (unlike money, for example). Define what happiness is for you and make choices to prioritize it.

Other strongest takeaway - that people, even strangers, are more deserving of trust than almost anyone giv
Rachel Blom
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm reading multiple books on the topic of happiness at the moment and this was one of them. It's a solid, research-based approach to what makes us happy. Every chapter is divided into two parts: first a research based analysis and then a more practical exercise to put theory into practice. I didn't follow the recommendation of doing a chapter each week or so and doing the exercises, since I just wanted to read the whole book first. Not everything the author offers is new or groundbreaking, but ...more
Apr 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received an advance reading copy of this book, for free, through Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for my honest review.

If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?, by Raj Raghunathan, seems like your run-of-the-mill, depression, self-help book. What differentiates this one from the others is that the author is not an M.D., nor does he have a background in psychology. Instead, Raghunathan is a business professor who sets out to find how people who are both smart and successful, can still
Mick Larouche
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The field of self-development book is a clutter. There is so many of them and so many different ideas about personal development that it is hard to find the really good ones out there. Personaly, I have read enough articles to understand that everyone has their opinion on the subject, on what makes this life purposeful and what happiness is. It is easy to get lost in a perpetual journey into self-development, with stones on the road and detours, left-turns, right-turns, etc, that left you cluele ...more
Jurgen Maerschand
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
No spectacular new findings but an impressively well researched round-up with practical to do's. Make yourself happy and go for it. ...more

This book, if you are so smart, why aren’t you
so happy professor Raj shows us The reasons
that makes successful people who are the
smartest people may not be happy, which is as
he said something strange, or not acceptable
as long as happiness is our main goal in life.
The most thing I like in this book is the exercise,
but unfortunately I couldn’t recognize my result
in some of them .
In general , Each time I read A help_self book I recognized Why I don’t like this subject, And in each ne
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome! I've read a zillion happiness books (and sort of heart them all), but what sets this one apart is that it's both a review of the literature (in a fun, anecdotal way) and also a little guide book: Seven happiness killers and seven happiness exercises.

SUPPOSEDLY there's a Website that has the exercises and little assessments and such, along with a free Coursera course, but I finished this like 5 days after he launched his Web site, and it was performing crash/craptastically.
Justin Jackson
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Raj Raghunathan does a fantastic job of hitting home on the root causes of our unhappiness. Through the use of interesting and eye-opening case studies backed by rigorous testing and research, 'If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy?' is no doubt one of the best science-backed resources to help you start prioritizing happiness released this year.

Each chapter provides VERY practical exercises in combating the 'deadly happiness sins' as Raghunathan likes to call them.

Deadly Happiness Sins:
1. De
Sunny Singh
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was a decent book. For me, it wasn't interesting enough to keep me hooked all the time. I found myself thinking 'i can't wait to finish this book'. I think reason is that i didn't learn lot of novel ideas. Things that he recommended along with the data he used to support his arguments were mostly familiar to me. Just not interesting enough. He did provide resources on becoming happier which I did like and hope to utilize in the future. ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed the approach of the book where the author lays out happiness killers and then presents approaches to overcome our own roadblocks. I thought the book was insightful and realized I am guilty of several of these happiness killing habits. I felt all the recommendations were practical and achievable. Definitely worth reading.
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-reread
To re-read in October 2016.
Bret Jarvis
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful advice. Well written. Truly helpful. Won courtesy of goodreads giveaway
Carol Radovan
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The author has put in six years of work and this essentially reaffirms the behaviour one needs to cultivate to live a happier life. Giving and mindfulness are the key takeaways for me. Great effort.
Nicole Sackin
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable and very accessible. The author gives helpful advice and links to exercises to put into practice. It is really easy to put his suggestions into practice and see which ones work for you quickly and easily.
To get the most out of this book, read chapters A and B then do the exercises.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. I began this book because I was curious about an analysis and theories of the conditions that bring about unhappiness/happiness. So an academic kind of interest.

However not long after starting I realised that many of the strategies or choices that Raj describes that contribute to unhappiness are strategies that I have instinctively adopted in my life. So I'm perhaps not as happy as I thought I was - and I considered myself pretty happy.

From time to time, the book can get a little too
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I mostly liked this book. And that's noteworthy because for large parts of it I didn't like the book. Particularly in the early chapters, many sections seemed like broad sweeping statements based purely on in-class quizzes that the author gave his students over the years to build up this edifice of logic about how to be happy across a variety of factors. Much of that edifice felt poorly grounded and I don't buy the full validity of his in-class sampling as research.

That said, the end results of
Aug 23, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is directed at the working stiffs who need to unbend or tighten up as the author determines which attitude or practice will achieve happiness. A do it yourself, pep up yourself book with lots of quizzes, scorings and suggestions. A bit tedious and self important at times but would have been useful to me at a younger age. Too happy to really find it useful now, but one special thing this book offers and made me admire and like the author is that he offers the book on line, even has a pa ...more
Chandrahas Dayal
Happiness; all its aspects, are examined and analysed in detail, in a scientific manner, fortified with the results of a host of experiments carried out by the masters of the subject. At many points, readers are asked to participate in exercises, for them to know, how their own minds work in connection with one or the other aspect of happiness. The book certainly contributes to the reader's quest for happiness. The book is for serious reading, and will be revisited by a serious reader. ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal-dev
I enjoyed this book. A great read for those who rely heavily on logic and reasoning in making decisions. The book has 7 sections in which you can apply changes, and one of them is overthinking choices. The author argues in depth in one of the sections that relying on your gut instinct can save you time and increase happiness on choices that is not measurable. Good actions steps and guides to apply to your life. Also, there is a coursera course to go along if you need extra guidance.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I heard about the book from the Art Of Charm podcast series and was captivated by the research and ideas right away.

Such a good compilation of research and interesting finding combined with exercises on how we can improve our own happiness. Definitely recommend this book!
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Why are smart people not happy? Because they don't actually choose happiness, but often chooses money and fame instead. The author listed many practical ways to increase our happiness level, such as finding flow, get connected, be trusting, help others Etc. ...more
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I took his class and it was excellent. I hope to refer back to this book.
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A really good book about human behavior and meta-cognition. Highly recommend it to all interested in psychology, behavior and self-analysis.
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A most informative and well researched book. This book highlights how something that make us smart and successful can undermine our happiness. Hearty Thanks to iMusti.
Ronjon Bhattacharya
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review is intended for personal use -- summary of thoughts / takeaways to help decide whether to potentially re-read again later.

Potential for impact: medium
Enjoyableness of reading: medium
Likelihood of re-reading: medium

Back in the day (probably only about 3 or 4 years ago actually), I took Raj Ragunathan’s Coursera course on Happiness and it was pretty good. Big picture-wise, Raj is an Indian business school professor (very Indian actually, especially his mannerisms) who for whatever reason de
Rich Yavorsky
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
"If You're So Smart" is a professional spin on the time-honored question of finding happiness. Dr. Raj comes from a business background and asked this question of himself and his students several years ago, leading him to write this book.

IYSS does excellent justice to this question, with material largely from mindfulness practice and academic psychology. Dr. Raj outlines seven happiness "sins" and the complementary remediating "habits" (detailed notes below). My most beneficial takeaway is the c
What a great book! It was a toss-up between 4 or 5 starts but I haven't read many 5 star books lately so I'll do that.

It takes 3 things to be happy, great social relationships, a sense of purpose-doing something meaningful, and a positive attitude towards life. An attitude that lets you feel a sense of control in difficult times.

It is more adaptive to pay attention to negative behavior than to positive behavior. Hence the 5 positive remarks to compensate for one positive one from a spouse.

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