The Happiness Hypothesis

The Happiness Hypothesis

Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

Book - 2006
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The bestselling author of The Righteous Mind and The Coddling of the American Mind draws on philosophical wisdom and scientific research to show how the meaningful life is closer than you think
The Happiness Hypothesis is a book about ten Great Ideas. Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations -- to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives and illuminate the causes of human flourishing. Award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt, the author of The Righteous Mind and The Coddling of the American Mind , shows how a deeper understanding of the world's philosophical wisdom and its enduring maxims -- like "do unto others as you would have others do unto you," or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" -- can enrich and even transform our lives.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2006
ISBN: 9780465028023
Branch Call Number: 170 HAI
Characteristics: xiii, 297 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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Jan 23, 2019

probably SSC

Apr 30, 2018

This book was recommended to me and I want to say I do not recommend. A waste of time. If you are a well read person, you will find the ideas here are nothing new.

Sep 26, 2016

"If you are in passionate love and want to celebrate your passion, read poetry. If your ardor has calmed and you want to understand your evolving relationship, read psychology. But if you have just ended a relationship and would like to believe you are better off without love, read philosophy"
Jonathan Haidt
This one of my favorite quotes on the book

Sep 02, 2015

Poorly written and overly simplistic. I do not agree with several of his ideas. Do not recommend.

ksoles Aug 23, 2014

In "The Happiness Hypothesis," Jonathan Haidt engagingly presents a myriad of social-psychological studies on state of mind. He covers ten ideas that recur in major historical texts including reciprocity, love/attachment and the pursuit of happiness, ultimately producing a highly readable, practical volume about human existence. Although Haidt occasionally over-simplifies his points, he does provide an exhaustive reference list for further reading and he certainly succeeds in creating a comprehensive overview of research on happiness.

The book's main analogy parallels an elephant and a rider: the elephant represents emotion, our subconscious disposition and inclinations whereas the rider symbolizes our conscious mind. Though the rider strives to steer and control the elephant, the elephant has it's own mind, one created by both evolution and culture. The conflict between the two leads to a divided self, one that unjustly criticizes others and gives into the temptation of positional goods such as bigger houses and fancier cars.

Haidt neither promotes apathy regarding one’s development of greater happiness, nor does he offer any easy answers. He does however discuss the advantages of meditation, cognitive-behavioural therapy and even medication. Additionally, he reveals features of daily life that increase happiness most dramatically: minimal disturbing noise, a shorter commute to work, greater autonomy in work/life, minimal shame in appearance and action, and an extended social network. Haidt concludes that we all have a genetic set-point; some people simply channel happiness with greater ease than others. But everyone should try to change the things within our reach, make some effort at changing the less mobile structural restraints and attempt to accept our dispositional nature.

May 07, 2013

wonderful insights into the scientific underpinnings of happiness, but with the, unavoidably I guess, underwhelming conclusion that the Golden Rule is still the very best, learn to love your neighbour

Jul 24, 2012

Fascinating study of the psychology of happiness. Written in an accessible but intelligent style -- not too heavy on the self-help, but still applicable and useful. Especially the metaphor of the rider and the elephant. Highly recommended.

May 17, 2012

This is a fantastic book that looks at the intersection between philosophical theory of a the good life and psychology research on what makes us happy. The author was a student of philosophy himself, so, unlike a lot of other works, he is clearly sympathetic to the field of philosophy while still critically evaluating some claims.

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