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The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,211 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Blending common sense and modern psychiatry, The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World applies Buddhist tradition to twenty-first-century struggles in a relevant way. The result is a wise approach to dealing with human problems that is both optimistic and realistic, even in the most challenging times.

How can we expect to find happiness and meaning in our lives when the mode
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Harmony (first published 2008)
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Dec 15, 2010 rated it liked it
I would have given it 4 stars if the author didn't repeat himself so much. The content in the book that is actually by the Dalai Lama is minimal, but nice. The author's addition of relevant scientific studies was nice as well, but he didn't need to reiterate, and reiterate, and then summarize, his discussions with the Dalai Lama so much (I understood it the first time). At one point I noticed two paragraphs back to back that said the same thing in different words. I even stumbled across two sent ...more
DNFing this one at 15%. It's not bad, but not what I was looking for. The fact that it says it is by the Dalai Lama is quite misleading. It is by a psychologist, Howard Cutler, and includes a few snippets of "talks" with the Dalai Lama. Needless to say, it feels like he used the Dalai Lama's name as an "author" to get it more attention. This one is a third in a series, which I hadn't realized, maybe the first one is better? I am not sure. I think maybe The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Cha ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is the third book in the series (a.k.a. the one you get when you put a hold on the wrong version at the library). The parts about group connections, how collectivites work, etc. were interesting, however primarily because I had just read about this from a different perspective in The Tipping Point and coincidentally heard some Ted Talks on the subject as well. Overall, too much Cutler, not enough Dalai Lama.
robin friedman
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finding Happiness In Oneself And Others

In 1998, H.H. the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard C. Cutler, an American psychiatrist, wrote a book, "The Art of Happiness" which became a surprise best-seller. The book taught the importance of looking within and of controlling destructive emotions in finding happiness. Then, in 2003, the Dalai Lama and Dr. Cutler again collaborated in a book "The Art of Happiness at Work" which explores the reasons why many people suffer from job dissatisfaction and offers sugg
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kenyon by: Emily
Shelves: audiobooks
This is probably one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. It gave me a lot to think about regarding how I view others and how I fit into my community. It showed me that a lot of what makes up the quality of my life is how I view and react to the world around me. This book couldn't have come at a better time in my life. I appreciate that my wife read it and the numerous conversations that this book has motivated.
T.Kay Browning
Jan 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Fairly, and surprisingly, disappointing. Butter spread over too much bread, or whatever the LOTR saying is. There was just so little of the actual words of the Dalai Lama in this book that having him as an author seems really disingenuous. The topic itself, mostly positive psychology and social relations theory are interesting enough, but not for the length of this book, especially without some other narrative to keep it going besides occasional conversations with the Dalai Lama which all seemed ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not actually by Dalai Lama but by a psychiatrist who interviews him. There are snippets from the DL. The writing is repetitive and could use editing. The style is unpleasant. This wasn’t the book I had hoped for.

There are good bits on us vs them thinking. That there isn’t evil. See each person through a lens of compassion. Acts of compassion can increase happiness including ones one. At about 45% there is good info on stress response.

This book should have been about 20% of the length it was.
Abby Boogie
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My brain needed this book right now.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very Repetitive.
May 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Caveat: as I see it, one could view the DL as a Tibetan Pope, in the medieval sense ... the pinnacle of a theocracy under which all people do not at all share equal access to economic and other opportunities.

So it is rather easy to map all that on to the worst of the worst in Liberal Democratic terms.

Of course there is more to it than that: He and his respected fellows are expert (in the eyes of many) spokesMEN (of course) within the reasonably open world of Buddhist discourse.

Also, is it true
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it
This second sequel to the original Art of Happiness discuses how to cultivate happiness both on the individual level and a societal level. The more involved one is within one's community (whether it's a church, book club, knitting group, etc.), the happier one tends to be - and the longer one tends to live. Dr. Cutler supplements the Dalai Lama's precious few words in the book with lots of scientific studies supporting the methods discussed. I agree with the comment from other reviewers that I w ...more
Tri Ahmad Irfan
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I haven't read the original The Art of Happiness book. So I just want to highlight some important things.

"Every man tends to be good and positive minded."

"Our reason for having an aggressive mindset is to protect us from immediate dangers (predator/fire/enemy)."

"By making others happy, we make our self happy."

"Hope, optimism, resilience."

"By taking others' perspective, we learn compassion."

"When we see other groups/races/ethnics, we tend to differ them from us. When we realize that we are all th
Jul 06, 2010 rated it liked it
I'd really give this book three and a half stars. It is written by Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist, based upon a series of interviews he conducted with the Dalai Lama. This is also one in a series of books written by the duo, specifically focusing on how to achieve happiness in a world filled with racism, hatred, stereotypes and fear. What I particularly enjoyed about this book was that Howard supported the Dalai Lama's exercises with scientific proof based upon psychological studies. However, as ...more
Sasha Rose Clifton Oxnard
Such a shame... since inherently I think both authors may have some interesting things to say... but the verbatim descriptions of the conversations with the Dalai Lama were enough to make me almost put the book down. And, in the end, it really didn't say anything new at all. Some nice points, but overall a huge disappointment.
Karen J
This book is good but not what I expected. This is mostly the author and psychiatrist Dr. Cutler asking convoluted questions of the Dalai Lama and very little of the Dalai Lama's answers. I would have much preferred hearing more of the Dalai Lama. However, there are some interesting statistics that make it worth reading.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
There’s way too much of Cutler's thoughts and not enough of the Dalai Lama. This is more an advertisement for the books written by Cutler and a vehicle for sharing his world view with the express hope that the Dalai Lama would agree with him. Cutler's isn’t an opinion I’d ordinarily care for and I had to give up when his unwitting condescending treatment finally got on my nerves.
May 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Terrible. There are some good ideas here, but they're buried in long winded repetitious questions followed by long winded answers, then it's all repeated again and again. Its like there was not an editor involved in this project. Read from any of the researchers mentioned in the book instead like Daniel Gilbert.
Mika Jayne
May 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
The author was going around in circles over simplistic points, so I wasn't surprised that the Dalai Lama responded to the author in the way he did. I didn't find the book to add any meaningfully new insights into the human world. A lot of the points were pretty obvious to me. Perhaps this is because I am already from an Eastern culture.
I listened to the audio book version narrated by Marc Cashman.

I thought this was an interesting academic analysis of the causes of unhappiness in the world. I liked the way the book was presented as a series of one-on-one dialogues with the Dalai Lama. It gave the book a personal feel, as if the reader were present, listening in while the Dalai Lama spoke.

One thing that stands out is the idea that the preference for one's own kind is pretty much hardwired in our brains and people must overcome
Ken Braley
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
It feels fitting that this book took me a lot longer than most to read -- it's been a tough year. It also feels fitting that I finished it today, sitting in the sun on a beautiful day in the midst of many cloudy, grey, and draining days. A few thoughts...

There are many books that I read that induce a basic sense of learning something useful or at least interesting to one aspect of life -- and then there are books that are fundamental.

This is my fourth book by the Dalai Lama, and my reading of it
“It would require seeing compassion as something of great practical value and importance with real concrete benefits not merely as a warm and fuzzy abstract philosophical concept or a soft topic that is religious, spiritual, or moral in nature. In fact, it should even be seen as a necessity.”

This book was heartfelt but a bit repetitive.

I didn't realize this book was the second that the Dalai Lama XIV had been involved in with this series so maybe the first was more of what I was expecting. While
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
One of those books which makes us ponder on the intrinsic traits of human behaviour, something which we generally choose to remain oblivious to. How perception stimulates our interactions with people, the classic conundrum of “I” vs “We” wherein we fail to understand that our welfare is linked to welfare of others, “Us vs “Them” which leads to anguish, the importance and interdependence of collectivism and individualism – are very well explained in the book. The author lays emphasis on the role ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I would have given more stars if this was marketed differently and better edited. This was 95% Howard and 5% Dalai Lama. It seems dishonest to put his name on the cover, seemingly only for marketing. There were also a lot of instances of "the Dalai Lama paused thoughtfuly before answering, which is not surprising given the scope of the question" which I couldn't handle when done constantly. Got through 42% of th audiobook and called it quits (which is actually hard for me to admit, I normally su ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
Tedious. Terribly written. If you enjoy reading transcripts of interviews then this might be right for you. It was actually worse than reading a transcript because there was so much commentary infused in about nuances regarding when someone would get interrupted, attendants keeping the Dalai Lama's schedule, where the interview was occurring, etc. Was there some wisdom in this book? Sure. Be compassionate. It didn't veer from Tibetan Buddhist norms. This book just makes a painful effort to work ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. Overall I feel like there were some beautiful ideas and insights here, but I didn't enjoy the way they were presented. At times I felt the author would go more into extensive details on his insights, including the exact phrasing, pausing, or thoughts he had during his conversations and then simply skim over what HH the Dalai Lama said in response. I also felt the author's presentation of some insights was overly complicated which left me a little frus ...more
Meh. I love the Dalai Lama and all, but most of his books are not exceptional. I feel like a great deal of the reason for that is the guy that actually writes them with him. The Dalai Lama is always so different in interviews and things than he seems in his books and that's unfortunate.

“I believe the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in that religion or this religion, we are all seeking something better in life. So, I thi
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Not a great book, not a bad one either. Some parts are just repeating what was previously said, the scientific proofs or rationales are sometimes out of scope, context or just plain wrong. For some of them, I would have really appreciated a reference.

Probably a book that was released after the momentul created with the success of the first book in this series. Haven't read it yet, looking forward to it! But this one is definitely not on a must read list, although some sections are worth skimming
Dave Reads
A western psychiatrist meets the Dalai Lama and discusses hate, violence, and evil. Along the way, we learn how the western world sees everything in black and white terms: good/evil, love/hate, fear/aggression. My takeaway was the need for more compassion in our world and in our daily lives. My favorite quote and prescription come early in the book, “Increasing personal happiness make an individual more charitable, more giving, more willing to reach out and help others, and it is unhappy people ...more
Megan Berry
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Accidentally got this book instead of the original The Art of Happiness - but glad I did. This book was exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for - answering questions I’ve struggled with (especially in the Trump-era). I did feel that the book became pretty repetitive, resulting in a struggle to finish the last quarter of the book.
I would highly recommend this book to everyone; whether it be high school/college students who are looking to find purpose in their lives, people looking to deal with personal tragedies, people dealing with mental health problems from the state of the world, or people who are simply interested in learning - particularly about different belief systems, principles, and psychological research.
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Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub), the 14th Dalai Lama, is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world's most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

Tenzin Gyatso was the fifth of sixteen children born to a farming family. He was proclaimed the

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