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Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness
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Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Joy is not for just the lucky few–it’s a choice anyone can make. In this groundbreaking book, based on his popular course, James Baraz helps you discover a path to the happiness that’s right in front of you, offering a step-by-step program that will reorient your mind away from dissatisfaction and distraction and toward the contentment and delight that is abundantly availa ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Bantam (first published December 17th 2009)
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  476 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Experience Life
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Who knew that remembering a positive experience could actually change your brain? Research shows that our gray matter is entirely susceptible to being rewired by pleasing thoughts. Better yet, the more we dwell on them, the more the brain begins to develop a habit or “inclination” to joy.

Authors James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander proffer a wealth of such facts to underscore the value of a happiness practice; they also help to show that real joyfulness is an easier state to maintain than you migh
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book really got "in there" for me. Here's an example, from p.199
.... As Catherine recognized, being kind to ourselves includes not condemning ourselves for the feelings that arise. It doesn't make sense to say, "I shouldn't be feeling what I'm feeling." Feelings arise in response to a complex of conditions. You don't say, "I could go for some fear right now" or, "How about a little self-hatred for a minute?" It's not like you have a choice about what pops into your mind. But you do have a
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: buddhism
This book covers the basics of Buddhist meditation practice with an emphasis on cultivating joy. It is good but not spectacular, although it does contain some gems. It probably works better for beginning students as opposed to advanced practitioners. It has almost no technical Buddhist terminology in it. What lowers the rating for me is that I don't really like the format--it has a lot of inserts and sidebars. And, it is written by two people. Each of these makes it jarring to read--the flow is ...more
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed James Baraz's 4-part talk on Happiness so I was happy to see that he just published a book based on his happiness workshops. You would think a book about joy would be an easy read. The writing style is accessible yet the content is hardcore in a helpful way. The book offers practical methods for facing what's difficult in life so that you can clear a path to a more fulfilling life - and that includes stories that will bring tears to your eyes. For instance, the story of the moth ...more
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
Meh. I read with a few friends while taking the Awakening Joy class online. The course was also meh. Baraz talked about why you might want to meditate but didn't assume that the reader was a meditator. I have been meditating for some time, and the focus of this complemented my practice, but didn't much enhance it.

If I wasn't reading it for my group, I wouldn't have finished it.
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-have-a-theory
A great introduction to mindfulness, but it's long-winded as hell. Every point gets hammered home and then hammered again and again. Then you meet lots of happy people who suddenly develop cancer. Seriously, everyone gets cancer. I know these are real stories, but christ. Kind of a downer.
Meg Nalezny
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really interesting. A little more self-help-y than I had anticipated, since I have heard the authors speak and they were quite different in their presentation. But I think they were trying to reach a wide range of people with the book, which I appreciate.

Worth reading, for sure!
Allan Feldt
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing

So insightful and such a different approach that it was like a breath of fresh air.
Leslie Goddard
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I listened to the audio version of this book and that impacted my experience of it. I'm not convinced it works well as an audio. Partly that's because it includes number of meditations, which were impossible for me to do since I listened to the book on a long car trip. But I also think this book would work better as a workshop or group exercise. Simply reading the book makes his suggestions seem obvious (and a few weeks after listening, I had forgotten most of them). I don't think I implemented ...more
Eve Dangerfield
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed listening to this over a period of a few weeks. James Baraz has such a warm, peaceful tone and the steps and advice on how to achieve them was solid. I will say I'm having trouble REMEMBERING anything I heard outside of individual stories but that's on me. I'm going to give this a re-listen and hopefully retain more.
Maria Bell
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
l listened to an interview by James before l read this book, he is such a kind and compassionate person and his calm manner all shine throughout the book. There are many things to learn from this book and practice.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Easy reading and great tips for a joyful life.
Ameya Mandlik
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book could try to tell you about a thousand ways to find joy but ultimately it is about you who step up and find a way to be happy!!
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mindfulness
Overwhelmingly positive, as the cover suggests. Stretches credulity at times.
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So much good info in this book!
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good. My first self-help book. Just read the book- I did not participate in the online course. Loved the stories from actual course participants. I also loved how it drew from various teachings and teachers. Learned a lot from the exercises and I have a bunch of pages bookmarked for when I need them! A lot of valuable lessons in this book. I recommend :)
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fun, easy read: James Baraz includes lots of anecdotes and testimonials throughout the book. Of course it all comes back to meditation and awareness. He is a cofounder of Spirit Rock, so mindfulness is the foundation of his work. A couple of things that hit home for me: "...and now I get to..." as I move from activity to activity, and "...and my life is really quite blessed" as dose of reality in the midst of it all. The $5 advice he got from a psychic rings true: "Fear blocks any movement on yo ...more
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was going to be new age-hokey but it actually was pretty good, with some research to back it up. Basically, it is a primer on using mindfulness meditation techniques to find greater happines in one's life. Someone who has a ton of mindfulness meditation experience would probably find it too basic but as a beginner, I liked it and have been recommending it. The only thing I didn't like is that there are tons of quotes from historical figures, people who took his seminars, etc. ...more
Louise Silk
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirit, self-help
This book is also an on-line ten-step course to develop and use joy in everyday living. It is living proof that real joy is available everywhere in everything.

Readers and/or participants learn ideas built on a spiritual framework and coupled with techniques and skills that make this a very doable hands-on self-help practice, perfect for a wide range of readers if you are sincere about releasing the sorrow and fostering a greater sense of joy in your life.
Michelle Fury
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a great primer for those who haven't delved into mindfulness before. It does take a somewhat one-sided view of things, because the emphasis is on joy. So at times, it read a little schmaltzy to me. Also, this book is based on a course that Baraz teaches, and so sometimes I felt like I was reading an extended ad for that training. On the bright side, reading this book helped remind me in my own mindfulness practice to actively cultivate joy, and that's a plus.
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a GOOD read for our crazy times. I like the 1o steps towards the road of real happiness. Based on a course (live and online), there is some good guidance to reflection on how to be a happy person, buddhism-style. I'll purchase this book so I can reread and meditate on some of the ideas. I liked how I could read a chapter or section and put it down. Not a page turner, but a solid book on reflection.
Trish Severns
Feb 21, 2015 rated it liked it
One of my small groups read this book together, including practicing several of the exercises. I think my group-mates got a little more out of the book than I did, but I got at least one valuable take-away, ending every complaint with the tag line ...and I am blessed! The format lent itself well to a 12 week session.
May 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The authors have conducted many workshops about 10 steps that will put a person on the road to real happiness. They share stories of many of their class pariticipants who had life-altering experienced along with the wisdom gained from teaching classes, researching, and studying the art of finding authentic joy in living. This book is an incredible accomplishment!
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It takes a long time and much practice to learn to deal with life and all its ups and downs. I really appreciate books that give me clues in how to do this as well as how to become a better person in general. So, I save these kinds of books and re-read them over and over. Repetition helps me finally "get it." Loved this gentle guide to skillful living and will share with others.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it liked it
My therapist wanted me to read this. I am a dutiful patient, so I did.

At times, it was a little hippy dippy for me (as is my therapist, really), but at other times it was very insightful (as is therapist, really). There was enough to take out of the book for me that I am glad I spent my time reading it. And yes, I'll keep seeing the therapist.
Elizabeth Alley
So far so good. This is a book club read, but I actually like this!

Update: Very good. A nice mix of tried and true practices, interesting and relevant stories, and some less than well known parables. Baraz strikes a nice balance here.
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great lessons and stories to live life.

Highly recommend to everyone in the world. Especially helpful for those dealing with difficulty or tragedy in their lives, or simply looking for peace.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I should have read this straight through and then go back and review as the group does each chapter. Things read in this book keep popping up in other materials that I encounter. It is very helpful
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: counseling
Great book. I did have a hard time getting through some parts, but that's really because some parts are just hard to work through as a human being. This book is transformational. I first bought it on the Kindle, and wound up getting a hard copy that I plan to read once again.
Jeanette   Dick
Gets a little boring at parts

This is a good book but gets a little boring in some parts. I found some of this book to be inspiring and feel it will help me out for future reference.
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Thirstylife: Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness 2 5 Oct 27, 2013 08:57PM  

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“RAIN When you are in the midst of a strong emotion, take a few moments to try this approach: Recognize what you are feeling and name it. Anger, fear, sadness, confusion? Allow the feelings to be present, without pushing them away and without getting lost in them. Investigate the feelings in your body and mind. Explore the landscape of the emotion with curiosity and interest. Where in your body do you feel it? How does it feel in your mind—heavy, tight, open, agitated? Non-identification is the key to freeing yourself from the emotion’s grip. Don’t take it personally. What you are feeling is a human emotion that arises and passes away. It does not define who you are.” 0 likes
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