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The Art of Happiness

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  101,225 ratings  ·  2,758 reviews
Nearly every time you see him, he's laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He's the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What's more, he'll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that "the very motion of our life is towar ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 26th 1998 by Riverhead Hardcover
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 ·  101,225 ratings  ·  2,758 reviews

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Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Despite the 'author' being the Dalia Lama, this book was actually written by a Western Psychologist named Howard Cutler. It is mostly presented as interviews or meetings between himself and the Dalai Lama. I really enjoyed the segments that were pure quotes from the Dalai Lama, but found myself constantly frustrated by Cutler's questions and (obviously inserted after-the-fact) 'summaries' of the responses.

I would paraphrase the entire book like this:
Cutler -- "So what can every person do to be
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book as a freshman in high school but I've read it again at least twice. I'm not sure how it initially started but I've always been fascinated by the Dalai Lama of Tibet. The more I read about him, the more I'm in awe of him. While I recommend reading his biography first, this specific book is about the concept of happiness and how we attain it. It's not a self-help book but rather a book about how the Dalai Lama believes that people inheritantly have the ability to find happin ...more
Steven Stark
Jul 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is actually written by a psychiatrist and includes extensive interviews with the Dalai Lama about how to be a generally happier person. Parts of the book are really great, and a couple of sections are a little bland, mostly depending on what questions the author is asking. The Dalai Lama's amazing traits come across throughout, however. His pragmatic, logical, and yet also spiritual approach to everything. ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Dalai Lama believes in fundamental goodness in all human beings, in the value of compassion and kindness, and a sense of commonality among all living creatures.

Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events.

Excessive desire leads to greed, which leads to frustration, disappointment, problems and unhappiness.
True antidote of greee is contentment - to appreciate what we already have.

Relationships are not about just knowing people and superficial exchange, but to really
May 15, 2008 added it
The Moms was watching a movie that was so filled with awkward and embarrassing social interaction that I cast desperately about me for something else to do. Near at hand was "The Art of Happiness" by Dolly and some doctor guy. I picked it up and began to read. I'm about half-way through (guess I'm 50% enlightened) and it's really quite good. Except for the parts that are stupid or wrong. The problem is not so much what the Big D has to say, but the doctor guy's interpretation or amplification. T ...more
Jul 22, 2007 rated it liked it
I love the Dalai Lama and everything he says in this book. However, Cutler's input mostly detracts from the teachings of the Dalai Lama. At best, he makes small, often insignificant links between the Dalai Lama's point and western science. Like how he made the connection between Buddhism's idea of training the mind to the scientific idea of "plasticity" which proves that, indeed, you can train the mind. Was that ever really a question though? I didn't need to be convinced of that... At worst, he ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
DNF @ 15%

I mistakenly thought this was a book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is listed as one of the authors - or the only authors in some book databases - but it is not. This book was written by Howard C. Cutler, a psychiatrist, who spent one week with the Dalai Lama, and then used his interviews with the Dalai Lama as a basis for this book.
Now, once I found out that I was mislead by the book, I still wanted to read on and see what the author had to say. Unfortunately, I was quickly put of
Nov 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that has to be read slowly and with determination, with many pauses for looking-off-into-the-distance-deep-in-thought. It is not BY the Dalai Lama so much as it is about the Dalai Lama, interviews with him, thoughts on his beliefs and practices. It took me a long time to get through, but I really enjoyed it. I think that if everyone tried to fit a little Buddhism into their lives (not a little Buddhist, but a little BuddhISM), we would all be much calmer and happier, more patient ...more
Heather Kidder
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: old-reads
This book always brings me a lot of peace when I read it. It calms me down and puts me at ease. I actually bought this book for josh but spent a lot of time reading it myself and its very enjoyable remind you about all the little good things in life and about what really matters.
Diane in Australia
Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist, does several interviews with the Dalai Lama, and then writes this book. Umm ... I was underwhelmed. I do appreciate what the Dalai Lama teaches, but this book didn't really live up to the hype. If you know absolutely nothing about the Dalai Lama, you might get a starter course from this book. But for me, it wasn't anything new. I think part of the problem was Howard. I felt that he was a bit silly at times, and shallow at others, and just irritating most of the tim ...more
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It has enough information to open your eyes, but not too much to scare you away. The Author, being a psychologist, was able to take the Eastern ideas from the Dalai Lama and compare them to a more Western way of thinking. Although I've seen many of the ideas and thoughts in other books, the Dalai Lama had a way with words that seemed to just -click- with me, and in the sections that I didn't really understand, Howard Cutler, the author, was able to clarify. This book is ...more
Debbie Zapata
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: saturdaymx
We all know that some books that felt important and special during a first reading can sometimes make us wonder WHY the second time around.

This turned out to be one such book for me, I'm afraid. I first read it many years ago during a physically and emotionally painful period of my life. The book helped me then, and I will always cherish that fact.

But this time around I was too distracted by Cutler's questions, statements, and ramblings to be able to focus on the Dalai Lama's words. I had to g
Sherilynn Macale
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book has completely changed my perspective on how I deal with anger, hatred, and other negative mind states and emotions. In simply becoming aware of the Buddhist perspective, I feel I've learned how to feel more in control of my own life, of how I carry myself, and how I treat the people around me.

I feel more compassionate.
I feel more kind.
I feel more understanding.

I find it incredible how my Western upbringing contrasts to Eastern beliefs and traditions. Things that I thought were intrins
Sara Alaee
“Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events… Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation...” ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dr. Howard C. Cutler, psychiatrist and one of the leading experts on the science of human happiness has spent some valuable time with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and in this book brought a western perspective of Tibetan Buddhism and its take on human quest for happiness.

Happiness is a tricky subject. Some people spend their whole lives trying to chase happiness, while others are just simply happy, seemingly, without searching for any particular ways to achieve it. Is happiness the ultimate
Chad Santos
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Exquisite. He masterfully balances religion and politics while protecting the many who follow him. I have so much admiration for him and respect for the difficulties he gracefully handles.
Margo Kelly
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well ... I almost gave it three stars instead of four ... simply because Cutler's narratives drove me nuts. I loved the messages of Dalai Lama, but I found Cutler's words irritating! (Cutler is the Western psychiatrist who interviewed the Dalai Lama and put the book together).

I know ... if I would put into practice the art of compassion as taught by the Dalai Lama, Cutler's opinions wouldn't have bothered me. However, I'm not that enlightened.

It seemed as though Cutler belittled some of the Bud
Chitra Divakaruni
This is one of the best books I've read on leading a spiritual life. The Dalai Lama's statements on habits that can make us deeply happy (and thus peaceful, compassionate and ultimately better human beings) are simple, clear and true, and nousrishing as a drink of pure, clean water in the desert. A book that can change our lives, if we allow its message into our hearts. ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
It was a book of pleasures. It helped a lot with my process of mind and satisfied my extremely powerful sense of skepticism. Dalai Lama XIV earned my respect, even though I hardly gave it to anyone to this day. It is highly compatible with modern findings of psychology, specially in the realm of CBT. I highly recommend it to anyone... ever!
robin friedman
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sources Of Wisdom And Happiness

I came to this book not expecting much. I knew the book was the product of an American psychiatrist, Dr. Cutler, rather than an actual text written by the Dalai Lama. In fact, the book is based upon a series of interviews between Dr. Cutler and the Dalai Lama over several years in the United States and In Dharmasala, India, the home of the Tibetan Govenment in exile.

In addition to my doubts about the authenticity of the book, I also feared the book would be a self-
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
I really felt at peace while reading this book. I have read many religious texts from varying schools of thought and sometimes (often in fact) they get quite philosphical and over the head of the average person. This however really hit the right note with me. By expounding upon some of the basic tenements of Buddhism, the authors show how practicing kindness, peace of mind and simplicity lead to happiness.
Dec 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
I'm not sure why exactly I picked this one up from the shelf of our local thrift. Certainly the Dalai Lama is an interesting public figure and the cover is bright with his red monk’s toga and eager countenance. I am familiar with Tibetan monks via my literary mountain climbing adventures from a time before Goodreads. This book is written by an MD and claims to be a “handbook for living.” What sort of living, I ponder? Right from the first pages we reach a philosophical impasse. The author is a h ...more
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Human emotions are very powerful and sometimes overwhelm us. This can lead to disasters. Another important practice in training our minds involves distancing ourselves from strong emotions before they arise in us. For example, when we feel anger or hatred, we may think, “Yes, now anger is bringing me more energy, more decisiveness, swifter reactions.” However, when you look closely, you can see the energy brought about by negative emotions is essentially blind. We find that instead of bringing ...more
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I wish I could give this one 10 stars! If reading is a way to spend time with the writer, the Dalai Lama is great company to keep! The book is comprised of excerpts from the Dalai Lama's public teaching and private conversations (in the interview form) with Howard Cutler. It was -thankfully - not written for the Self Help shelf. Here is an excerpt from the introduction: "When I initially conceived if this book, I envisioned a conventional self-help format in which the Dalai Lama would present cl ...more
Alice Mccain
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Would it be an exaggeration to say this book saved my life? Not really. When I was at my lowest, it was this book that I kept by my side, in my bag, and next to my bed, near me at all times. My copy is dog-eared, marked up and flagged in more places that I can count. In this treasure, we learn how to reshape our mental outlook so that we can live easier in this world.

We learn how to find meaning in our suffering, so that things don't seem so dark. We also learn about the difference between pain
Farah Cook
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book that doesn't focus on the concept of happiness as such but rather the measures to get there. Happiness is not a place you arrive to, and it stays for life. It's something we must actively seek all the time as we go through changes. This book is very philosophical so don't buy it if you think it gives you a formula for happiness. ...more
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked the interplay between Buddhist practice and the connections to cognitive and other psychological studies.

The main thing I learned from this book is that happiness can and should be a goal in your life. You can pursue happiness by training your mind over a period of many years.

Many concrete exercises were offered to help this pursuit:

1. Replace your negative thoughts not only with realistic thoughts (as in Western cognitive thought) but actively insert positive thoughts in their place.
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in incorporating Buddhist philosophies into Western life
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I definitely learned a lot from it. The Dalai Lama's words are so powerful, his experiences so inspiring and his mixture of spiritual and philosophical wisdom with uncommon common sense completely unique. The only reason that I gave it four, rather than five, stars is that the psychiatrist "co-author" injected way too much of his own personality and experiences into the book. This is a book that will attract people that are interested in the Dalai Lama's a ...more
Chris Dietzel
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the Dalai Lama's take on what it means to be happy and how that state can be achieved. My favorite idea of his from this book was that if there are five billion people in the world, there should be five billion different religions, and people need to be skeptical of the world and what they are told rather than just blindly accept others' religions or views.

I could have done without the psychiatrist trying to interpret the Dalai Lama's teaching but that didn't detract too much for me.
Chris Gordon
The Art of Happiness is not just a mere checklist of some suggested methods to which one should adhere in order to attain happiness. Rather, it is through a spiritual journey with the Dalai Lama that we learn how to live a fulfilling life by seeing his Buddhist and humanistic principles being applied to everyday problems and challenges. Done in an enjoyable format of back-and-forth conversations between Dr. Cutler and the the Dalai Lama, I was able to fully immerse myself into the heart of their ...more
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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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