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Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Curious? is one of those rare books that can make you rethink how you see the world.”
—Arianna Huffington


“This is the perfect book to read when you are having second thoughts about challenging yourself to explore that next step in life!”
—Stephen Post, Ph.D., coauthor of Why Good Things Happen to Good People

Discover the missing ingredient to a fulfilling life with Curious?
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by William Morrow (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  402 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
First heard about this book as it was being discussed on National Public Radio (NPR) - locally WAMU here in Washington DC.

I pulled over, found a bookstore, and bought the book!

Once I read it, I e-mailed the author, Dr. Todd Kashdan.

It's been nearly 25 years sine I felt compelled to read a book on
> Psychology. But I just finished your book, and I was enthralled. So many
> great applications- for myself, for my relationship with my wife, for my
> young adult children who are bright but painful
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not exactly what I was expecting, and I certainly couldn't recommend it, but we can always find something that sparks thinking. The premise is that the most important ingredient for a fuifilling life is curiosity. The importance of curiosity to education can't be overstated. He cites Sylvan Tomkins who says, "The importance of curiosity to thought and memory are so extensive that the absence...would jeopardize intellectual development no less than destruction of brain tissue...there is no human ...more
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life-feelings
I have to return this book to the library today. Here are a few quotes that I've enjoyed so far:

"Instead of constantly trying to be happy, we should focus on building a rich, meaningful life, guided by our core values and interests."

"Novelty is different. We often pay attention to the unfamiliar and listen to new people because they grab our attention...There is much to learn from the unfamiliar and the familiar. No two hugs are the same, no two pizzerias make pizza slices the same way, no two t
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: growth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Janet Frost
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was the last of three books in my in-depth research into Curiosity. This book was pack full of fascinating studies and theories on the subject.While I complained about the book by Brian Grazer being devoid of science, this one was a gold mine. I was reluctant to take it back to the library because I know I would like to follow up on many of the references shared in the book.
I have to admit that I don't have my endurance for long non-fiction built up yet so I did get kind of bogged down to
Kris Hintz
Mar 31, 2012 rated it liked it
This book hits on the missing ingredient in so many lives, which I also believe is the cornerstone of happiness. Curiosity, the search for the novel, leads to true passion and engagement in life. The author cogently made this point through research and anecdotal story. I do feel that once the point was made, there was some redundancy in "making the sale" (thus four stars instead of five). But this book has given me a new perspective, a new way of approaching social interactions, that makes life ...more
Kevin McAllister
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Curious ? Well of course I am. Which is why I just couldn't resist a book simply titled "Curious ?" I was expecting something with a scientific or anthropological point of view but unfortunately, the book turned out to be nothing more than a simple self help book. And after reading this book the only thing I'm curious about is why people bother to read these kind of books anyway ? ...more
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book reminded me of Jonathan Haidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis" in its subject matter and applicability to creating a life worth experiencing. A good reminder of how to focus our energies in the present moment and constantly be expanding ourselves and our perceptions, plus how to help mitigate anxiety by exploring things that make us uncomfortable. ...more
Laura Skladzinski
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This was okay, but nowhere near as good as "The Upside of Your Dark Side" - it just didn't draw me in quite as much, even though the topic was interesting. There is definitely a strong argument to be made for trying to become more curious rather than blase, but this book wasn't very compelling in how it made that argument. ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book throughly! Great help towards seeing why one's curiosity is a good habit. ...more
Kiera Beddes
I will be the first to admit that I totally judge a book by it's cover. So, yes, while the cover is not compelling, how can you not listen to a book with just the title Curious? Of course I'm curious! I need to know what is in this book! And I'm glad I did. It was fascinating. I consider myself a curious person, so it was interesting to investigate the psychology of curious minds and how that impacts all aspects of a person's life: career, relationships, personal fulfillment, etc. It reminds me ...more
Marilyn Jess
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Todd Kashdan’s book Curious? was one of fifteen books I was required to read for an advanced coaching certification I was taking in 2011-2012. It was my favorite of the fifteen. It is no less powerful ten years later.

Curiosity is one of the strengths that makes for a masterful coach, and for a life well lived. Written in an easy to understand way, Curious? would be useful for anyone wanting to get to know themselves better.

This book explores curiosity from a number of angles, positive and darke
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this take on how to live a fulfilling life. Most people focus on finding happiness, but this book says the best things come when you approach life with curiosity. That it is curiosity that leads to connection, fulfillment, purpose, and novel things that keep life interesting. The anecdotes and data is fascinating. Some of his analogies though are rather elementary, but message still sticks. It's definitely an interesting thought. ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I heard about this book in a presentation about student success. The "success" was attributed in part to the presence of curiosity. Definitely secular in the "curiosity as a path to a meaningful life" ideation, but it had some very thoughtful points about how to develop and nurture curiosity and mindfulness in anyone's life. Very interesting read. ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There’s definitely a lot of valuable information in this book. For a big part though, it was not what I was looking for. I was looking for ways to become more curious. I did not pick this book for relationship advice, but a big part of this book is about that.
May 31, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
There were many tidbits in the first half of the book that I actually took time to write in my notebook. So I’ll say 3.5 stars for the bits that actually gave me food for thought. It wasn’t life-changing or really that memorable as a book.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Offers an interesting perspective of how life can be better lived when we are curious. A lot of great ideas and insights.
Cindy L
Jun 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommended to me by my health coach. Meh.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I consider myself a curious & open person, Curious gave me a confidence boast & a statistical reasons to be proud of my value in always being curious.
Lo Holder
May 26, 2021 rated it did not like it
needs an editor
Ann Oliveri
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I always thought my inherent optimism and sense of humor were my most important assets. I was wrong. Curiosity is my superpower. So grateful for stumbling into Todd Kashdan's book, Curious?! It is the antidote to the fear, hatred, and dogmatism now rampant in our once open, inquiring society.

"Unfortunately, there are costs to working hard to feel safe, secure, and confident. We often end up shutting down our search for information too early in the process. In essence, we quickly become close-min
Apr 08, 2009 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Rachel by: Gretchen Rubin's blog The Happiness Project
Shelves: self-improvement
In her blog The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin interviewed author Todd Kashdan in the April 7, 2009 post. She introduced him as "a positive-psychology professor at George Mason University whose work I follow with special interest. He studies many fascinating subjects — among other things, self-regulation and how personal strengths operate in everyday life." Kashdan, too, has a blog. His is called Curious? and is linked to other Psychology Today blogs. After I get my daily dose of Doonesbury, ...more
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*Curiosity saves the life*

If the pursuit of happiness is driving you mad, Kashdan's book may provide some much-deserved relief. Instead of focusing on concrete goals and other tangibles, Kashdan's approach shows how curiosity coupled with mindfulness can be our best guides to a more meaningful and satisfying life. By challenging the comfortably temping status quo and becoming "curious explorers," we can be more engaged in the process of being. Curiously enough, the byproduct of this process is
Oct 29, 2009 rated it liked it
My education professor leant me this book for the project I am doing on curiosity in the classroom. It looked like it would be helpful, but Curious? is actually a self-help book about how to find a way to make one's life more meaningful. I'm not really into the whole "self-help" book thing...but this one was interesting in places. The writing is good, some of the anecdotes are interesting, and the data is intriguing.
Kashdan's book was not helpful to my project but I wasn't bored reading it, and
Chris Nagel
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
The main thing this book made me curious about is what it means to establish something as true in the self-help book business. I don't mean that as an insult. Kashdan's premises are preposterous, but he does present the value of curiosity (which could be called open-mindedness, or just openness). If making life better were as simple as self-help books seem to suggest, why would there be so many? Perhaps only because different people need different messages, or almost the exact same message in di ...more
Feb 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: misc, 2014
The idea is that curiosity is the antidote to anxiety and being stuck in your life, so be curious and explore and learn and engage with people and ideas. The thesis is sound, the chapter break downs looked very interesting and promising but the end result wasn't there. It was a mash of some anecdata, but not a lot, and some research based things, but not a lot, and some background from his years as a therapist, but not a lot. I could have gotten that opening sentence from the introduction and st ...more
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book is interesting -- by increasing our curiosity we can live more fulfilling lives -- but in it's execution it doesn't seem to offer much on how to increase your curiosity. There is a lot about values, strengths, mindfulness and a whole section on relationships (particularly finding a spouse), but precious litte how to be more curious. For that reason, I can't rate it very highly. ...more
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
Curious? defends that if you keep a curious attitude towards all your experiences in life; you will lead a powerful; more productive and happier life; just as little kids do all the time. I like the way it puts the same ideas of Buddhism and -to some extent- Krishnamurti's in a more understandable way and gives different approaches to lead a better life. This book will do no harm at all to those who chose to read it. ...more
Michele Long
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
This would actually get 2.5 stars if half stars were an option. It wasn't what I expected. There are a lot of interesting things in it, and I would recommend it to someone with a psychology background or pursuing a psych degree. For myself, it was interesting enough to pick up and finish the book, but I had to renew it from the library 3-4 times because it did not always keep my attention to keep reading. So it's 3 stars for content, 2 for not keeping my attention. ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I heard about this book in a presentation about student success. The "success" was attributed in part to the presence of curiosity. Definitely secular in the "curiosity as a path to a meaningful life" ideation, but it had some very thoughtful points about how to develop and nurture curiosity and mindfulness in anyone's life. Very interesting read. ...more
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Dr. Todd B. Kashdan's broad mission is to increase the amount of well-being in this world as a professor, scientist, author, and consultant. He uses cutting edge science to help people function optimally in life and business. He has given keynotes and workshops to organizations as diverse as the United States Armed Forces, General Mills, Merck, Hormel, Gensler, BBDO, and The Gap.

He is a Professor

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