Frank Calberg's Reviews > The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
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it was amazing

Extracts that I found particularly interesting and useful:

What a person can do to increase happiness in his or her home life / relationship life
- Page 88: A good relationship / marriage is one of the life-factors most strongly and consistently associated with happiness.
- Page 93: The more residents in nursing homes can choose, the happier, the more active and the more healthy they are. Being in control / having responsibility has strong benefits.
- Page 96: Eat like French people do: 1. Serve small portions of delicious food. 2. Enjoy the food and take your time to eat the food.

What a person can do to increase happiness in his or her work life
- Page 92: Reduce noise. Noise interferes with concentration and increases stress.
- Page 95: To work in flow, do these 3 things: # 1: Define a clear challenge that fully engages your attention. 2. Learn the skills to be able to handle the challenge. 3. Get immediate feedback about how you are doing.
- Page 84-85: When you have reached a goal you set for yourself, set yourself a new goal. Why? Humans get used to and bored with situations that become routine. The progress principle says that pleasure comes more from making progress towards a goal than achieving it. A key to happiness is having low expectations so we will be surprised positively by small positive changes we make in life.
- Page 169: Work on your strengths, not on your weaknesses.
- Page 174: People, who do volunteer work, are happier and healthier than those who don't. Elderly people, particularly the most socially isolated, benefit more than other adults do.
- Page 219-220: When Freud was asked what a normal person should be able to do well, he said "Love and work." And before Freud, Leo Tolstoy said "Work for the person you love, and love your work."
- Page 220: Humans have a basic drive to make things happen. Just look at how kids love toys that cause movement or action.
- Page 221: Most people see their work as a job, a career or a calling. If you see your work as a job, you do it for the money and look at the clock. If you see your work as a career, you focus on advancement, promotion and prestige. If you see your work as a calling, you find it intrinsically fulfilling.

What a person can do to increase happiness in communities
- Page 49: In an experiment, a psychologist sent Christmas cards to people at random. The great majority sent him a card in return.
- Page 91: Happiness (H) = Biological set point (S) + external conditions of your life (C) + Voluntary activities you do (V).
- Page 98: Doing random acts of kindness increases your happiness.
- Page 133: Having strong social relationships strengthens the immune system and thereby improves your health.
- Page 242: A good place to look for wisdom is in the minds of your opponents.

Other parts of the book I found useful
- Pages 11-12: When you feel drawn to a person, it is the orbitofrontal cortex in your brain, i.e. the lower third of the prefrontal cortex just above your eyes, which is working to give you an emotional feeling of wanting to move closer. Our emotional lives are guided by the orbitofrontal cortex.
- Page 33: Happiness is one of the most highly heritable aspects of personality. Twin studies generally show that from 50% to 80% of all the variance among people in their average levels of happiness can be explained by differences in their genes. In other words, between 20% and 50% can be explained from life experiences / what we learn. That means, each one of us can do a lot to help increase happiness.
- Page 142: Psychologist Dan McAdams suggest that personality has 3 levels. Level 1: The big 5 personality traits. Level 2: The values of the person. Level 3: Life stories.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 13, 2018 – Shelved

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