Nithya Nagarathinam's Reviews > The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
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it was ok

This book starts off as great. It neatly draws from the ancient philosophy and extrapolates the relevance of ancient wisdom to modern life. For example, the elephant-rider analogy, for which it gets one star. But somewhere in the middle, it loses itself in theological arguments. The scope of the book is so broad that the title becomes misleading.

The book gets another star for the valuable insights into human psychology, morality and life in general that lie interspersed in between elaborate digressions into religion and drugs. But it gets no more because far from finding modern truth in ancient wisdom, it equates the latter to religion and gets ahead of itself as it delves into the religion vs science argument seeking ,rather circuitously, to derive a common ground between the two without finally offering anything valuable to the reader as a result of this rumination.

A book has to be like a discovery, either revealing something new to the reader or making her see what is obvious and plain in a way that it is “elevating” as the author might have put it. The Happiness Hypothesis does that in the beginning but fades halfway through only to end in a whimpering attempt at revival of its initial zest.
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Quotes Nithya Liked

Jonathan Haidt
“Words of wisdom, the meaning of life,perhaps even the answer sought by Borges's librarians—all of these may wash over us every day, but they can do little for us unless we savor them,engage with them, question them, improve them, and connect them to our lives”
Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
February 22, 2014 – Shelved

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