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The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  28,394 ratings  ·  2,173 reviews
Our most commonly held formula for success is broken.
Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formul
ebook, 272 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2010)
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YW Low 劉耀詠
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
In summary, the book has 7 points:

1. Happy people has advantage; happier at workplace etc.

2. You can't change reality, but you can change how you process the world.

3. If one has a negative outlook on things that is a habit. A pattern that can be broken.

4. When facing crisis, one has to find a path that leads us from failure to a place of strength.

5. Limit your focus to small, manageable goals to gain greater control and power.

6. We can form new habits if we make it easy to do the right thi
Bill Krieger
May 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
My goodness. What a polarizing experience!

Good - The material in The Happiness Advantage is good. I personally believe in most of the stuff the author ascribes. Hey, if you wake up, look yourself in the mirror and smile, then you're probably on your way to a pretty good day. Positivity!

Bad - The author's writing style and presentation of this material is brutal, straight out of an infomercial. Everyone is an "expert". The author has personally advised and guided every leader in the free world.
Lauren Albert
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business-career
There have, of late, been a spate of "anti-happiness-books books." I thought this was an excellent example of the kind of book that doesn't deserve the attacks. First, he explains why happy people are more successful, giving examples of psychological studies that have been done. Then he lays out his "Seven principles"--for each one he: a) backs it up with empirical evidence and b) gives practical strategies for making use of the principles. He never overstates his case. He is clearly not trying ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t usually give five star ratings but this is an exception. This book had a profound impact on me and is the reason why I have become so ambitious with my life goals. After listening to Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk on YouTube I decided to pick up this book from the library since I knew I would get a lot out of it. I wasn’t wrong. Shawn shows the reader how happiness produces success and not the other way around. Later, in chapters 5-11, Shawn shows the reader how to increase happiness and therefo ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I feel I should preface this 5-star review by saying that you will only get out of it what you put in. While it's not a workbook per se, this is definitely a manual. I picked up the book after I saw Shawn Achor's TED Talk on positive psychology. It rang true on a lot of elements, most of all the idea that success does not lead to happiness, because the next success is always on the horizon. So, what if happiness is the first step, and not the goal?

I think I found this book at exactly the right t
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Support me

“The best leaders are the ones who show their true colors not during the banner years but during times of struggle.”

The full name of this book along with the subtitle is The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. And I think it is self explanatory with a title like that what the book is about. I am always on the fence when I read non-fiction books, specially wh
This book is one of a growing library of research that supports what I've believed for the past few years: that happiness is a skill you can develop. What's great about this book is that it doesn't make the assumption that something is inherently wrong with the reader, and gives readers practical advice on small things they can do to get their brains more tuned in to being happy. It's a state of mind—one that does come more naturally to some than others—but it's also a muscle that can be exercis ...more
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Perhaps the most accurate term for happiness is the one Aristotle used: eudaimonia, which translates not directly to “happiness” but to “human flourishing.” ☁️🦋🌞

In the Happiness Advantage, Shawn talks about how happiness is the center around which success orbits. We often think happiness will come after success, but in fact, happiness leads to success. Did you know our brains are literally hardwired to preform at their best when they are positive? ✨ This is such a fascinating and uplifting book.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bullshit
You can skip reading this book for a number of reasons.

His references are a mix of well-documented studies, random articles that themselves have no references, and dated psychology. For example; he gives the example of people who are "highly allergic" to poisoned ivy being rubbed with the plant but being told it is not the plant and then not having a reaction to it. For this claim 4 references are provided, all of which link to a New York Times article from 1998 without references. I even found
May 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Self-help books have a stigma to them, to be sure. And there's plenty of reasons to be bitter about how happiness has become a corporate commodity. Meaning that high-level executives will pay big dollars to have people with findings ranging from half-baked to mildly sophisticated tell them exactly what they want to hear. This practice of giving a "empowering" (read: complacency-inspiring) talk to these executives is known around the world as TED talks. High-profile academics, scientists, and ent ...more
Mario Tomic
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I've picked up this book the other day, for a very long time I was trapped in the mindset of "if you just work hard, you'll be happy" and even made a video about being happy with what you have vs. continually bettering yourself. This book gave me a new, much clearer perspective on happiness. One of the things that really hit hard was the fact when author point out when you don't schedule your "play" time deliberately and precisely you will most likely waste that time without getting ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, nonfiction

Ever since I first saw Shawn Achor's unforgettable TED talk, I was obsessed with this message of positive psychology. This book has been on my TBR for a long time and finally I decided to get the audiobook and listen to the author read it himself (10/10 recommend btw!) I loved every insightful, entertaining, and inspiring page of this book.

As a creative entrepreneur, I found the lessons and principles in this book especially helpful for application to my business and life
Rana DiOrio
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
The Précis. This book debunks the commonly held belief that success breeds happiness. The reality is the inverse, that happiness breeds success. Shawn Achor draws upon not only his own extensive research at Harvard University but also other compelling empirical evidence and case studies to demonstrate the point. Reading this important book will change the lens through which you view life and will put you on the path to happiness . . . and success.

The Seven Principals. Achor succinctly promul
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a re-read third time actually. And I enjoy this book. It is so positive and worth the time to re-read.


UPDATE: I liked this book even more than I did the first time I read it. I'm glad this book made my re-read list. It was the perfect book for my day.

I liked this. I loved the insertion of all the science. I found that part completely fascinating. It is amazing what the brain is capable of and I'm sure we
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the timing for reading any book is just as important as the context of the book. I am happy that I haven't gotten to this book earlier and just ignored it as I was ignorant to "self-help" books few years ago(although this is a psychology book!). I would gladly recommend this book to anyone (who is ready) to explore more about positive psychology. ...more
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A couple things. First, has the author heard of this thing called a sub-editor? As with most business-cod-psychology-self-help books, the meaningful content here is padded with tons of extraneous filler. Achor can't get halfway to making one point in a chapter without running off the horizon in 8 other directions with 12 other anecdotes. Read Wittgenstein's Tractatus to learn how to make a sustained statement succinctly, jeez.

Second, I curse the day Malcom Gladwell became famous for creating mea
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*Happily recommended :-)*

Oh, this book makes me happy. Over and over again. Not only is it a joy to read (how can reading about happiness not be uplifting?), but the clear and easily executable principles for achieving happiness are so effective. Think of this book as to how-to of positive psychology.

Shawn does an amazing job of distilling the research and findings of positive psychology that predict happiness and success into seven key principles:

1. The happiness advantage--the way we can retr
Mark Robison
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'd held off reading this for a long time because I'd gotten burned by too many positive-thinking books that just regurgitated the same old things. But, wow, this one is fantastic and has literally changed my life habits for the better. I'd rank this among my top 4 favorite business books that are applicable to real life (with "The Power of Habit," "How to Win Friends & Influence People," and "Good to Great").

The book's basic points are that tons of fascinating studies have proven over and over
Maria Kemplin
Sep 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Tidbits one would expect to glean from a source like Prevention magazine. Didn't finish. ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was good but not ground breaking to me.

Shawn Achor mostly takes studies he's found among some of his own studies he's personally done personally and at Harvard. He also often takes excerpts from Malcolm Gladwell and other authors and just skims the surface. It's almost strange to quote another author while that other author is references other studies. It's like a reference to a reference lol

This book is amazing if you're new to psychology and just getting into it because it summariz
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Unlike most books in the genre, this book is deeply rooted in psychology studies and written by a researcher, rather than a journalist or a professional author. Yet, it never gets dry or pedantic.

Fantastic book for anyone interested in being happy.

To begin with, it spends a considerable portion of the book explaining what the effects of happiness are on individuals and groups, dispelling any lingering fears that maybe working towards individual happiness is selfish and unproductive.
In fact th
John Stepper
A solid overview of why there is, indeed, a happiness advantage and an array of practices to help you achieve it.

I agree with everything in the book and yet, it often felt like “Happiness Lite”. Most of the research and tips focus on micro practices and small interventions. (Shawn does an exercise with a group in a few hours and...voilá! They are happier even months later.) Several times, he’d emphasize the point by saying, “All it takes is... “

While these small steps definitely have their plac
Macaira Leahy
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Written by a cognitive psychologist, this book is based on research rather than, like many self-help books, written by someone based on their feelings about the world. I plan to buy this one and hopefully reference it regularly. Before reading this book, I'd recommend watching Shawn Anchor's [hilarious] TED talk on this subject that summarizes most of the information in under 15 minutes. But really, watch it; It almost seems more like stand-up comedy than TED talk. Anyway, I don't know anyone wh ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the past couple of years I’ve read near a dozen books about creating the best experiences possible at work and I connected with this one the most so far (I have more in the pipeline). I agreed with the author’s theories, some of which I think stretched a bit into occult science, and being another genre of heavy interest to me, more kool points for him. I also enjoyed his delivery which was occasionally humorous and thus perhaps slyly gets him to achieve his goal of making the reader happy, ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The sad truth about unhappiness is that the more frustrated we gloomy misanthropes become, the more we sink into despair, the less we think about happiness as achievable, - the less we are able to make a conscious effort to feel better; and this is what this book is basically about - about making a conscious effort to think in a healthier way to feel better.

I've been struggling with depressive states since probably the time my mom got pregnant with me, and yet I never think I need help; I starte
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not joking when I am saying that every single one of you who is showing even the slightest interest in this book HAS TO READ IT! I am also not joking when telling you that this is exactly the kind of book that I was looking for and that it completely exceeded my expectations.

Let me start by pointing out that right before this book, I finished the famous “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. There is no doubt that this is a revolutionary and eye-opening piece of work, a
Lesleigh Lippitt
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of those books whose simple message makes for instant palm-to-forehead action. The 'simple' is that Shawn says we've mostly had the 'happiness thing' backwards...instead of STARTING with accomplishments/clothes/figures/cars/cuteness/thin-ness/curves/whatEVER, that will 'make us happy,' his research indicates that Happiness IS the STARTING POINT.

Another one of those wonderful upsidedown ideas that just takes Practice and Persistence, sprinkled with a scootch of Optimism...and, boring as all t
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A brillant book with concrete techniques to change ones habits, founded in extensive research. I have started implementing what the author recommends in my life, and I have begun to see the results, only few weeks after. I was happy before, and now I'm happier. I think also more productive, but that I have not measured yet. Much of what is presented, is common sense I think, but the difference is, that it is articulated in ways I can not, and is tested in research studies. I like the link the bo ...more
Nov 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a quick and satisfying read. The studies are all well-documented and the author writes in a conversational and humorous tone, making for a smart, fun book on happiness. I picked up this book because I found the author's TED talk ( enlightening and helpful. I've followed his "3 good things" advice for about six months and it absolutely helps to create a more positive mindset. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I'd honestly recommend the TED tal ...more
Out of the Bex
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
There’s nothing new here, but it’s a decent reminder

This book starts with an interesting premise, how the science of finding increased happiness can lead to success (and not the other way around).

We often get caught up in the idea that once we get that next thing, be it that raise, the promotion you want, the car you want, the new house, that pastry in the shop window, we will finally be happy.

But what if we flipped that? What if we found a way to be happy right now? And beyond that, what i
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Shawn Achor is an American educator, author, and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology. He is best known for his research reversing the formula of success leading to happiness—his research shows that happiness in fact leads to success. Achor spent 12 years studying what makes people happy at Harvard University. He later authored The Happiness Advantage and founded the Institute of ...more

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