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Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  7,475 ratings  ·  792 reviews
ABC News anchor Dan Harris used to think that meditation was for people who collect crystals, play Ultimate Frisbee, and use the word “namaste” without irony. After he had a panic attack on live television, he went on a strange and circuitous journey that ultimately led him to become one of meditation’s most vocal public proponents.

Here’s what he’s fixated on now: Science
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 26th 2017 by Spiegel & Grau
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Popular Answered Questions
Sophie Dickins If they are already interested but can't seem to find the time, yes. If they are skeptical of mediation, I'd try his other book first.…moreIf they are already interested but can't seem to find the time, yes. If they are skeptical of mediation, I'd try his other book first.(less)
Summer Not necessarily. This book stands on its own.

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  7,475 ratings  ·  792 reviews

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Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Dan Harris, the ABC news anchor and Jeffrey Warren team together to narrate this fun book about meditation. They went, along with a number of others, on a road trip on a bus around the country, bringing the message of meditation to far-flung locations around the country. They alternate anecdotes about their road trip with discussions about the philosophy and practice of meditation, along with examples of meditation techniques.

For some reason, this book just didn't grab me. I do believe that medi
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book, by Dan Harris, Jeff Warren, and Carlye Adler, seemed ideal for me–I am a skeptic, and I am certainly fidgety (much like Jeff, one of the authors, I have ADD)! I’m impressed by how much the book makes meditation accessible, makes it seem like just another part of life, like riding the bus to work or brushing your teeth before bed. Just something you do because it makes sense and makes your life a little bit better.

The whole attitude of t
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I was a little skeptical of this book (perfect audience, no?!), but am happy to say, I found it both enjoyable and a little helpful. The author has a very relatable way of writing, which feels personal and chatty and I enjoyed this book both for the way he uses humor to talk about deeper issues and for the suggestions he makes, which worked in for him. He is reasonable about his aims and I think that's the only way to go about pursuing meditation. You can't expect to turn into the Buddha, but it ...more
Anne Wolfe
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
If you are only going to read one book on how to meditate, this one is probably not it. But if you want to know how meditation works for different people while getting to know Dan Harris (and others), this will certainly give you an overview of both.

I was attracted to this book because of it's title and the fact that my own experience with meditation is hampered by both my fidgety nature and my inborn skepticism. The book did address both of these for me. Unfortunately, it's difficult to read th
Julie Penner
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brain-mind, happiness
I have been meditating for short intervals for about a year and a half, by no means a new meditator and yet not an experienced meditator either. I found the framework, the meditations, and the perspective of two meditators who have worked at building a practice, and struggled at times, to be very helpful. I particularly enjoyed the meditation “welcome to the party“ and lines like “your juicy animal body” certainly made me smile. I found Dan’s storytelling and wit funny, humble, and kept the book ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
As a longtime meditator who is not a fidgety skeptic, I'm not the intended audience for this book. But I was curious after hearing Dan Harris talk about it on NPR. I found this book pretty disappointing and can't imagine that it would help beginners start a meditation practice. It's way too complicated; there are too many different types of meditation given, rather than one simple method. Sort of like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

The worst parts of the book were the meditati
Gary Moreau
Meditation has gone mainstream. And for good reason. It’s a great way to focus and energize the mind and body. I do it, and if you don’t, you should try. Simple as that.

Perhaps more than anything else this book is a testament to just how mainstream it has gone. That’s not a criticism. But let’s face it, a bus tour is pretty mainstream. Wanting to be 10% happier is very mainstream. And putting it all together in a convenient app is the essence of mainstream in the 21st.

I don’t watch television,
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rounded up to 4 stars because by the last part of the book, they were making me laugh despite myself, and not necessarily where Dan meant me to.

Also because of some useful twists on meditation that Jeff shared.

I’m neither fidgety nor a skeptic (about meditation, we are only talking about meditation), so I didn’t expect to resonate with the book beyond that it’s about meditation, something I’ve long enjoyed and have been doing a lot of lately.

Also, I recently enjoyed a meditation series by Jef
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: happiness
Dan Harris shares more thoughts about meditation and its benefits in this second book in his 10% Happier series. This time he teams up with Jeff Warren, a master meditator, and Carlye Adler, a writer, and the result is a clever and thoughtful look at meditation, especially for those of us who tend to think meditation might be too much work.

I took furious notes as I read this book. Some of my favorites:

There are hindrances in meditation (and life):
Desire (to do something, anyth
DNF @ 30%

First book was OK. This one is insufferable. There may be some good stuff in here somewhere, but Dan Harris is completely incapable of not writing himself into the center of every sentence. It's like being cornered by the most self-obsessed person at the office party. It's like being held hostage at a karaoke birthday party for someone who is tone deaf.

DNF Disclaimer: Usually I don't mark my DNF/abandoned books as "read" or give them a rating. That said, I might do one or both if any
Megan Rosol
The book consists of 50% of Dan Harris's experiences (morning TV host and journalist) with the positive effects of mediation on his hyper-stressful lifestyle and 50% guided meditation mini-instructions by Jeff Warren, a hot-looking and completely convincing meditation teacher.
I found Dan's parts/his narration annoyingly glib and cheerful (I don't like morning tv) but absolutely loved the soothing voice and meditative content of Jeff Warren's teachings.
Still, I tried to control my annoyance at
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dan Harris was the perfect person to teach me about this. He is really speaking my language, and we are the same kind of animal. I struggled through the sections by Jeff, but I found the whole thing useful and helpful. And sloooooooooow. It took me almost six months to read this book! I learned that I am definitely not a natural self-help reader, and also that I must not have checked this book out properly, or they would've asked for it back by now. However, I think it incidentally worked so spl ...more
Jorrit Van der Meulen
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
OK. I liked the book, but it does remind me of books like Blink, Wisdom of Crowds, etc where a lot of the core concepts can be summarized in a few short pages. Yes, i get the irony of saying this given the title and contents (I also listened to it on Audible at 1.5x add that to the irony (hypocrisy?)). Anyway, i have been thinking about meditation more and more - and still doing nothing. This book has helpful tips that should get me started. If only I can find the time... :)
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This is Dan Harris' attempt to not only demystify--but also de-stigmatize--meditation. It follows his 10 Percent Happier bus tour, a cross-country journey wherein he meets with everyday people such as cops, military cadets, recovering addicts, television and radio personalities and attempts to convince them of the benefits of meditation. He's helped in this endeavor by Jeff Warren, a meditation teacher. In fact, the book is set up as an ongoing dialogue between Harris and Warren, with each of th ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pretty close to 5 starts. I could never get into the whole meditation thing but this book hit the right note for me.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
While this was good, I don’t know that I’m the target audience. Since I’m already sold on meditation, some of the counsel offered here didn’t really resonate with me.

If you’re struggling or a skeptic I could see where this would be a great read. If you’re already convinced, pass this on to someone who isn’t! (yet)
Wendy Jackson
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: living-well
A light read that aims to trouble-shoot the standard barriers to meditation - e.g., I do not have time; I will lose my edge; etc. I enjoyed Harris's first book ("10% Happier") and am a regular listener to his podcast, and - despite not being a skeptic (though I am fidgety) - I was keen to read the follow-up. I took away from it a few good tips, like being easy on yourself when you fall off the meditation wagon (the "begin again" mantra applies at all levels). Nothing earth-shattering in the book ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Full review here:
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
tl;dr Review:

If you loved 10% Happier, you need this guide.

Full Review:

I first read Dan Harris' original book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story (he enjoys long titles apparently), in 2015. It came into my life at a time when I was in desperate need to do all of those things: tame the voice in my head, manage my stress, and find self-help.

I tabbed the book and have re-read portions so many t
I loved Dan Harris's first book 10% Happier, so I was excited to see that he'd written another one. This book is just as great! It's both a primer on meditation and a buddy road trip story, about Dan's cross-country trip with his friend, meditation teacher Jeff Warren, as they travel around in a bus to tell people about the benefits of meditation. The combination of Dan's hard-nosed, anti-sentimental nature with Jeff's hippy-dippy love and compassion attitude makes for a delightful read. These a ...more
Joel Bastos
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I always wanted to know what the fuss around meditation and mindfulness was all about and scepticism was my primary drive.

You can find the story about how Dan Harris, after a panic attack during a live stream of Good Morning America, found in meditation a brand new and healthier lifestyle. Eventually, we're introduced to Jeff Warren, a meditation teacher who provided several guided meditations.

There's no bullshit throughout the entire book which is filled with in-depth explanations on what is me
I gave up about halfway through. I should have known that this would happen, because I couldn't get through his first book 10% Happier. But because I'm doing my dissertation on stress reduction in health professions students, and as part of that I'm developing a course that will likely involve meditation and a captive audience of students who will have mixed feelings about that, I thought this would be worthwhile.

There's something about his narrative that bugs me, and I don't know what it is. He
Early in the book, author Dan Harris mentions that meditation has been the victim of the worst marketing campaign ever. I think that this book is not really for fidgety skeptics, it's for people who have trouble separating the practice of meditation from the idea that it's part of a lifestyle that is immersed in New age-y things that people find mysterious and/or silly. I'm fidgety and I'm skeptical, but this book wasn't really for me. It's probably most geared for people who are curious about m ...more
Kristen Unger
Mar 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Blehhh! This book. It was actually helpful in getting me to think I can meditate despite being both fidgety and a skeptic, but I could not STAND the writing. Being in this guy’s head sounds miserable - and it bled into his writing style which at times was pompous, self-important, tangential, judgmental. It was a STRUGGLE to finish this one.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was good - I listened to it on audio and I just enjoy Dan Harris so much! Great examples provided throughout the book that are just a few minutes long - we all have time to meditate!
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ut-online-lib
While I thought the first book was slightly better, this one has a lot of useful tips and silly humor to make you laugh. An enjoyable book!
Patrice Sartor
I've practiced yoga for many years, and I always felt the part of class where we just lay there during shivasana went on too long. Eventually I started bringing a Kindle to class, and would be still with my thoughts for about five minutes, then quietly turn over to read while everyone else remained still for another 10-15 minutes. If I'm not focused on something (and sometimes even during this time!), then my brain tends to go into overdrive with thoughts, worries, ideas, whatever. At the beginn ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works a few years ago, I thought this one sounded intriguing. I have not incorporated meditation into my life as well as I had hoped, but this book speaks to some of the common problems encountered. Dan and co-author Jeff Warren write about a bus tour to promote meditation to the masses. They tour the country and along the way encounter all sorts - from Josh Groba ...more
Simply Arden
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: improve
3.8 out of 5


Quick Review

- This book is loaded with practical and immediately applicable tips and tricks to get you started and keep you going with meditation.
- The book does include some “woo-woo-ish” concepts, but in the best of ways that are ultimately relatable and understandable. Not just from a theoretic standpoint, but also the understanding of how all of this can be beneficial.
- I switched to the audiobook about halfway through to help me get through the book more quick
Feb 20, 2021 rated it did not like it
(“I’ve finished this book!” is an overstatement. I gave it two chapters, 62 pages, before scanning the table of contents again and realizing it would just be more of the same.)

I think I’m not fidgety or skeptical enough to appreciate this book. Or maybe the month that I’ve been dabbling in 10 minutes of meditation three times a week has put me beyond needing this book. The very simple aspects of meditation that he points out in the first 62 pages, I know them already. Also, these first 62 pages
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Dan Harris is the coanchor of Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. He regularly reports for 20/20, World News with Diane Sawyer, and the weekday editions of Good Morning America. Before joining ABC News fourteen years ago, he worked for local news outlets in Boston and Maine. He lives with his wife, Bianca, in New York City. 10% Happier is his first book.

News & Interviews

What will you do when it's your turn to pick your book club's next read? Well, this is what you won't do: panic. Why not? Because we've dug...
27 likes · 4 comments
“I cannot say this frequently enough: the goal is not to clear your mind but to focus your mind—for a few nanoseconds at a time—and whenever you become distracted, just start again. Getting lost and starting over is not failing at meditation, it is succeeding.” 3 likes
“As Mark Twain is reputed to have said, “Some of the worst things in my life never even happened.” 3 likes
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