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Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  4,732 ratings  ·  518 reviews
Mo Gawdat is a remarkable thinker and the Chief Business Officer at Google’s [X], an elite team of engineers that comprise Google’s futuristic “dream factory.” Applying his superior skills of logic and problem solving to the issue of happiness, he proposes an algorithm based on an understanding of how the brain takes in and processes joy and sadness. Then he solves for hap ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by Gallery Books (first published March 2017)
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Frankie Frank Hi Canan,
did you get a copy of this book? I have a copy in English if you need it.…more
Hi Canan,
did you get a copy of this book? I have a copy in English if you need it.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Artas Bartas
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who love to wail in their own misery
This book was inspired by a personal tragedy. As Mo Gawdat explains in the introduction, he was moved to write "Solve for Happy" as a way to deal with the loss of his teenage son. Losing one's child is a terrible experience, and I have a lot of sympathy with parents who have to live through it. But when it comes to the book itself, it reads more as a corporate deck hastily put together by the HR department than a genuine attempt to explain how to achieve happiness.

At its core, "Solve for Happy"
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, 2017, non-fiction
Pseudo-profound Panglossian platitudes, pitiable piety and piss-poor philosophy.

Mo was a successful modern tech titan - working for Microsoft, and then Google, and currently heads Google-X. He was a self-made millionaire, and once bought two Rolls-Royces on a whim. But he wasn't happy. Then his beloved son died, and he became happy. It sounds like a weird set-up for a self-help book, and it is. The book starts out with some sensible advice about not comparing oneself with an unattainable ideal,
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology, happiness
I'm fascinated by analytical thinking, problem solving and algorithms AND this book satisfied all of that and more. Mo Gawdat's book is part psychology, part science, part spiritual quest. Mo posits that happiness is a conceptual problem and that the default setting for the human brain is happiness. So when life throws us curve balls, we can reboot, reframe and regain our natural state. Mo Gawdat is the Chief Business Officer at Google [X] and spends his days around people who put all their brai ...more
Eike Post Preischaft
Solve for happiness is a great topic and the promise of hearing on becoming happier from an engineering perspective made me really excited.
So excited that I summarized the whole book here:
However, Mo Gawdat, does not deliver on his promise of a happiness equation, the only thing that he gives us is the following:
Happiness = Perception of reality - Expectation
But then Mo does not even follow up on that equation! Instead he mentions other factors for happi
Shannon Canaday
Feb 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: whiffers, 2018
I thought I would keep going, but you know what? Life's too short to read crappy recycled information sold as some sort of secret way of finding or creating happiness.

It read like the author read a few self-help books, found something that worked for him and stitched all those bits together in his own book.

I actually really hate self-help books; I've had a personal policy for many years that I don't read them and for some reason I took the chance on this book. Fail. I should have known though b
Brandon Nankivell
Oct 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
The ending drove a stake through the wrong side of my aorta:

"If you come away with nothing else from this book, please understand this: there’s no randomness in life. Our universe is the product of masterful design. The designer doesn’t run the show; the equations he designed do."

Seriously? Then who designed the designer?

There's more fallacies in the idea then I care to regurgitate.

I suppose I can't blame the guy for what he finds solace in, but to hinge the value of the book on whether or not t
Mark Taylor
May 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
A rehash of Buddhism, Islam and every other self-help book ever written with a cliched and intellectually lazy bit of creationism defense at the end.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
In general, I try to be somewhat kind in my reviews. I know a few authors, and despite their thick skins, they are still people who (usually) tried to create something of value for others. And yet, there is honestly no way that I can be kind in my review of this book. The problems are pervasive.

First, we have a fabulously wealthy individual telling all of the rest of us that money is not really the key to happiness. Well, duh, but please tell that to the people strugging to pay rent this week. G
Hana Marsalkova
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is such a wonderful book: it offers honest, personal, logical and scientific yet simple and easily digestible story of what life REALLY is. Even if you're not a much of a reader or if you're not into this whole 'self help' topic. I think this book is so inspiring and eye-opening for everyone. Personally for me, I love reading about happiness, psychology, I've read several similar books and loads of articles on similar topics in the past but I still found tons and tons of new inspiring thoug ...more
Mohamed Daif
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I sincerely feel sad for the grieving father who lost his son and I truly wish him the peace of mind. I liked the approach of trying to use logic in order to reach happiness, but there were three major problems for me reading this book:
1. The book didn't make me feel happy, in the matter of fact it made me feel sad for the author and his family. I understand that was the motive behind writing the book in the first place. But, the book has too much emotional pain in it.
2. This is definitely not h
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I liked this one way more than I thought I would like it. It was a nice review of the literature and research on happiness, but so much better than all of that was the personal stories. It was really inspiring to hear about Mo's struggle with his son's death and his development of his theories on happiness. I do believe that it is a choice we make and that with training, we can choose to be happy. This book was a nice guide. ...more
Maha El-sada
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I usually love to read books based on life experience and I would say that this book is the best book I have ever read. It may change your perspective to yourself and lead you to more self-awareness to more happiness.
Gustavo Antonio Parada Sarmiento
A few months ago I saw a short clip video of 4-5 minutes of Mo while he was being interviewed. I looked for some other videos of him which were also quite interesting.

As expected, this book contains a more detailed explanation of what he shared in his talks, all the background. The book provides a considerable amount of interesting points of view, all of them related to find happiness, as a sequence of logical questions, as an analysis, and at moments, as simple common sense. Several examples ar
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: happiness
You'd think it couldn't be done: Can you engineer your way to happy? Mo Gawdat, a chief business officer at Google, decided to do so.

Gawdat uses research and philosophy to come up with a way everyone can be happy. He did so while facing one of the worst possible events in a life, the loss of his beloved son.

He confronts all the happiness crushers in life and wrestles them to the ground. He takes on the six grand illusions of life, our seven blind spots, and five ultimate truths. He examines the
First and foremost, thank you Mo for sharing your story and perspective of the world. It takes a lot to overcome such a tragic event and you’re very strong for being able to get through it and very kind for trying to help other people do the same. I have much respect for you and liked many aspects of your book and after 331 pages, you feel less like an author and more like a friend which is why I direct this review directly to you.

I understand and respect your perspectives on God and the soul b
Andrey Kurenkov
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Though I have learned to loathe the self-help genre for the useless verbose shallow snake oil that it is, I nevertheless was compelled to explore more analytical-sounding fare in it. Who knows, maybe my distaste for it kept me from finding valuable advice; after all we are all human, and surely one of these books just summarizes widely accepted objective findings related to being happy and healthy.

At first this book got my hopes up - the writer seemed like an analytical sort, his narration of t
Natalie Park
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Enjoyed this book. It was a lot of what I’ve read in other books. But, it was nice to hear from a different perspective and from such a personal view.
Dave Bolton
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book -- written by a successful technologist, I thought it could be an interesting angle on age old human concerns. Unfortunately, it's just not very good. Another reviewer compared it to the corporate slide deck version of an examination of happiness, which is a good analogy. Lots of ideas in here, many misrepresented from their sources, and a lot of wild conclusions that don't really make sense. In the midst, there are a couple of kernels of wisdom, but really you'd be ab ...more
Viola Rijnsdorp
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super nice and interesting book, except the last charter 😉
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is exactly the kind of stuff I love. Gawdat simply and systematically describes some things that make us happy, some things that make us unhappy and how to tip the needle in the direction of happiness.

Gawdat brings a personal story to the story that puts things in stark relief - he lost his adult son to a random medical mistake. His description of his son's life and his struggle with the tragedy of his loss leads immediacy to these lessons.

I really liked his use of videogames as metaphor.
Diane  Holcomb
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Be happy. Have you heard that before? Good advice, Is there some secret formula for happiness? Mo Gawdat, the Chief Business Officer at Google X, put his engineer-mind to work on that question when he found himself chronically unhappy, despite having wealth, health, a loving family and fulfilling career—all the things we equate with the state of being joyful. After much research and mathematical analysis, he concluded that yes, there is a formula, which he tried on himself and hundred ...more
Jesus Garlea
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you have a feeling of longing in your life, just read this book.


I bought this book a week after my dear friend committed suicide:

I always have felt that something was missing in my life, always longing for something that I didn't knew what it was, thinking that the future will be always brighter than today.

This feeling of longing got me married, got me graduate as a software engineer, got a really good job in the valley, funded my company a
Nic Brisbourne
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I gave this five stars because there's some nuggets of real wisdom that I think will help me and others in the quest for happiness. The basic happiness equation - happiness comes when our expectations meet or exceed reality - is an insightful framing and makes it clear that the key is to set our expectations better. To do that we should deal with the illusions and biases that give us inflated expectations (control, knowledge, time and fear were the ones that resonated most with me) and live in t ...more
Max Nova
Jun 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A condescending and lazy self-help book. While the premature death of his son is undeniably tragic, Gawdat loses my sympathy with his faux insights and patronizing tone. "Going back to one of my childhood interests, the theory of relativity..." *gag* It might have been bearable if he actually delivered the goods, but this book is a haphazard mashup of rudimentary Stoic / Buddhist philosophy and an unhealthy dose of post-traumatic rationalization by a grieving parent. Gawdat narrates the audioboo ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
No doubt, much of the information presented in Gawdat's book has been said before and is common sense. With that said, "common sense" is easier said than done. I needed to hear (read) sound advice again, and he presents it in such a way that isn't didactic. I didn't feel lectured or like someone talking to me who mysteriously transcended all of life's pains. (Sorry, Tolle fans. His intentions seem good hearted but his approach was painful and complicated for me to chew.) Gawdat keeps it real and ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I'm afraid I did. After reading Kahneman's experiments on well being and happiness in the latter half of Thinking, Fast and Slow, I was on the lookout for an analytical view on happiness. The combination of the title, equation on the cover art, connection with Google and the appealing 'engineer your path to joy' lead me believe this was what I was looking for. Sadly this book is not that. It's a highly subjective, very non-nuanced self-help book. And ...more
Marco G
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
I finished it because I wanted so badly for it to be great. TBH I would have been much better off re-reading Loving What Is.

I usually like yet another book on stoicism and happiness. And I picked it up after I heard a short talk he did about control. But this was a book about his personal grief. Moreover his 'illusion of knowledge' aka hindsight never applied to any of his science/math/probability? Nope. Also the power of compounding? Nope.

If writing this book made him 'happy' then great? But I
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Certainly didn't agree with all of it, but I thought he articulated some great principles in ways that I'd not heard so plainly said. Some interesting points that stood out to me:

1. You are not your thoughts - the narrative inside your head is distinct from you (which he insinuated was your soul?)

2. How much of you is your ego, how much of what you do, wear, say, etc, is to build a persona. The exercise he proposed was to stand in front of a mirror and take off anything you’
Prachiti Talathi Gandhi
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What is Happiness? Is there any Secret to happiness? Is there any logical and step-by-step approach to Understanding happiness? Is there a Problem in being happy? Do we need to Solve that problem?

I must say, that the answers to all these questions, are finally in one book – ‘Solve for Happy’ by Mo Gawdat. The author is the Chief Business Officer at Google [X]. While writing this book, he applied his skills of structural and logical thinking and he truly believes that being happy is the default
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In Arabic: محمد جودت

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