Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living” as Want to Read:
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  65,413 Ratings  ·  1,832 Reviews
An updated edition of a beloved classic, the original book on happiness, with new material from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard Cutler.
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 a hugely sou
ebook, 10th Anniversary Edition, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Steven Stark
Jul 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Jul 22, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Heather Kidder
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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...”
Sherilynn Macale
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Margo Kelly
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Farah Cook
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mobina J
عالی بود ، کافی بود چند صفحه ازش رو فقط بخونم که پر از حس خوب بشم و بهم یکم نگاه جدید بده. به نظرم کتابیه که باید به آرومی و منظم خونده بشه. خیلی به ذهنم تونست کمک کنه
Dec 11, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 Gordon
The Art of Happiness is not just a mere checklist of some suggested methods to which one can 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 Dalai Lama, I was able to fully immerse myself into the heart of their talks, ...more
Mar 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd been meaning to read something written by the Dalai Lama for quite a while, and this one was cheap so I picked it up. Also, I was interested in the comparison of views between a western psychiatrist and a religious figure. Personally, I didn't think this really worked out. Mostly, Cutler repeats the Dalai Lama's message and links it to psychiatric practice without looking at it from a critical perspective. On the one hand, this is good because it means he gives plenty of space to the views o ...more
Jun 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I will always have on my bookshelf. For me it is a reference book on living a more peaceful life. This book changed my life in so many ways. I truly believe Americans are hard wired for aggression and fighting. Not in a physical way, but in a spiritually and emotionally. We are taught to "fight" for everything and to always do what we can to get ahead. In the religion I was exposed to we are taught our beliefs are "the only truth". This book challenged some of my deepest thou ...more
Ana Paula Gonzalez Toledo
I really like it! Because it exposed the main principles of Buddhism in a clear way, within the normal or expected questions nonbudhists people like me have (i supposed) i also enjoyed the fact that the writer was a psychiatrist :)! He has kind of the same perspective , as i have, specifically about suffering and mental life, that understanding .. by the way, like I know now, is incomplete, because: there is no mental life in sigmund freud theories, we only can live in a peaceful and quite set, ...more
Alice Mccain
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful guide for anyone exploring Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th Dalai Lama seems like such a generous, kind individual that I couldn't help but be drawn to his vision of peace. The stories of monks feeling compassion for their Chinese torturers was very inspiring. This is a great book for anyone who suffers with depression, anger and/or anxiety.
Also, Cutler does a magnificent job of showing his own, real-world examples of implementing Buddhist practice. We all get angry, it's how we deal with
Amir The Fat Bookworm
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!
Aria von Dimple
“True tolerance or patience has a component or element of self-discipline and restraint -- the realization that you could have acted otherwise, you could have adopted a more aggressive approach.”

I found “The Art of Happiness” to be a very enticing read. The book is filled with simple yet relevant truths: and it makes me wish to read more about Buddhism and its teachings.

“The idea that everyone should be a Buddhist is quite extreme. And that kind of extreme thinking just causes problems. .
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bryn Mawr School ...: The Art of Happiness 1 11 Jun 25, 2015 02:50PM  
  • Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World
  • Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
  • Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness
  • A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
  • The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
  • The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times
  • The Way of the Bodhisattva: A Translation of the Bodhicharyavatara
  • Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
  • Turning the Mind Into an Ally
  • Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
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
More about Dalai Lama XIV...

Share This Book

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” 1369 likes
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” 706 likes
More quotes…