The Myths of Happiness
Happiness expert Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research-based lessons in how to find opportunity in life’s thorniest moments In The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky isolates the major turning points of adult life, looking to both achievements (marriage, children, professional satisfaction, wealth) and failures (singlehood, divorce, financial ruin, illness) to reveal that our misconceptions about the impact of such events is perhaps the greatest threat to our long-term well-being.Lyubomirsky argues that we have been given false promises—myths that assure us that lifelong happiness will be attained once we hit the culturally confirmed markers of adult success. This restricted view of happiness works to discourage us from recognizing the upside of any negative life turn and blocks us from recognizing our own growth potential. Our outsized expectations transform natural rites of passage into emotional land mines and steer us to make toxic decisions, as The Myths of Happiness reveals.Because we expect the best (or the worst) from life’s turning points, we shortsightedly place too much weight on our initial emotional responses. The Myths of Happiness empowers readers to look beyond their first response, sharing scientific evidence that often it is our mindset—not our circumstances—that matters. Central to these findings is the notion of hedonic adaptation, the fact that people are far more adaptable than they think. Even after a major life change—good or bad—we tend to return to our initial happiness level, forgetting what once made us elated or why we felt that life was so unbearable. The Myths of Happiness offers the perspective we need to make wiser choices, sharing how to slow the effects of this adaptation after a positive turn and find the way forward in a time of darkness.In The Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky turns an empirical eye to the biggest, messiest moments, providing readers with the clear-eyed vision they need to build the healthiest, most satisfying life. A corrective course on happiness and a call to regard life’s twists and turns with a more open mind, The Myths of Happiness shares practical lessons with life-changing potential.

The Myths of Happiness Details

TitleThe Myths of Happiness
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 3rd, 2013
PublisherThe Penguin Press HC
ISBN-139781594204371
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Self Help, Personal Development

The Myths of Happiness Review

  • Lucille Zimmerman
    January 1, 1970
    I'm about to have my first book published. The idea of seeing boxes of books on my front doorstep feels both surreal and monumental. It's a huge accomplishment that I will celebrate with a party, in a red barn, with twinkly lights. There will be music, friends, food, and revelry. But I know that a published book won't bring me happiness.A few days ago I was talking to a friend who has authored over 40 books. I told her I knew that having a published book would not make me happy. She seemed I'm about to have my first book published. The idea of seeing boxes of books on my front doorstep feels both surreal and monumental. It's a huge accomplishment that I will celebrate with a party, in a red barn, with twinkly lights. There will be music, friends, food, and revelry. But I know that a published book won't bring me happiness.A few days ago I was talking to a friend who has authored over 40 books. I told her I knew that having a published book would not make me happy. She seemed surprised and wanted to know how I knew that ahead of time. I told her I thought it was because I had done so much research on the topic of happiness. I understand what poor judges people are at knowing what will bring them happiness and what won't.People have a happiness set point. Fifty percent of happiness is genetic, ten percent is based on life circumstances, and forty percent is within our power to effect. For instance, Americans will put themselves in debt for decades thinking a dream home, boat, or car will make them happy. But the new wears off within a few days because of an effect called hedonic adaptation. Most people don't understand that the lotto winer and the paralyzed person will bounce back to their prior happiness level within a few months of their changed life condition.The joy is in the journey. I'll never forget what my friend Zeke Pipher said when his book released. In essence, "Whether this book sells or not, it won't define my worth, happiness, or success." He went on to describe his faith and his relationship with his wife and children, saying those were the reasons for his joy. Zeke should know. His mom wrote an international best-seller: she soon found that the harried pace of traveling and speaking made her miserable. There's an interesting research study that found when people were randomly beeped, and told to write down what they were doing and how happy they were, folks were happiest while in the creative state of "flow." Flow is when you are fully absorbed in an activity, so much so that you lose sense of time. Numerous studies have shown that it is the striving, not the achieving, that makes us happy, especially when our goals are realistic, flexible, valued by the culture, authentic, non-materialistic, and not negatively impacting other parts of our lives.The more we attain, the more we want, and this negates our increased happiness. Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky in her newly released book, The Myths of Happiness, explains that aspirations are misleading. We attain more, so we want more, and the wanting makes us feel bad. Crazy huh? She concludes that we shouldn't expect less but that we should simply not allow our desires to continue escalating to the point where we end up feeling entitled and convinced that we would only be happy if we got more and more of this or that.Relying on external rather than internal validation makes us unhappy. Some people think they will be happy based on other people's opinion of their success. But, when we ask ourselves the question, "How good (successful, smart, affable, prosperous, ethical) am I?" the people who rely on an internal rather than external objective standard are happier. There will always be someone wealthier, more attractive, thinner, more popular, and more talented, therefore, relying on other people's opinions rather than our own is a recipe for misery.In short, goals which cause growth, make us feel competent, and connect us to others, are the ones that make us happy. Goals which make us strive to be rich, famous, popular, or powerful, make us unhappy.
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  • Apricity
    January 1, 1970
    NOTE: Although I am not familiar with the author's finances, I am relatively sure that she is rather wealthy judging from the examples taken from her own life (e.g. moving to a new house where the shower has six shower heads, husband is a securities lawyer, etc.). To her credit, she does acknowledge the limitations that wealth (or a relative lack thereof) places on her research. 1. Pursue an appropriate goal The crisis point at the heart of this section concerns our anxiety about not having yet NOTE: Although I am not familiar with the author's finances, I am relatively sure that she is rather wealthy judging from the examples taken from her own life (e.g. moving to a new house where the shower has six shower heads, husband is a securities lawyer, etc.). To her credit, she does acknowledge the limitations that wealth (or a relative lack thereof) places on her research. 1. Pursue an appropriate goal The crisis point at the heart of this section concerns our anxiety about not having yet achieved our dreams, yet the empirical evidence reveals that the critical factor in whether goal pursuit makes us happy lies in enjoying the journey and not in realizing the end-goal (dream).Ask yourself the following questions about your so-far unrealized ambition or dream. Is your goal—say, to start your own business—attainable? Who is the owner of the goal—you or someone else? Does it conflict with a long-held plan (e.g., to spend a lot of time with family or travel around the world)? Do you truly feel “yourself” when you are pursuing your ambition or fantasizing about it? Do you expect to grow in the process or to develop lasting relationships? Would you still do it if the compensation were much more modest? First, make a mental note of your initial intuitions or gut reactions about the path you should be taking—perhaps even write them down—and then shelve them for a while. After you spend time thinking through your situation systematically, you may reconsider the initial gut reaction in light of new information or insights. Second, seek the opinion of an outsider (impartial friend or counselor) or simply make an effort to take an objective observer’s perspective. The key is to liberate yourself from the nitty-gritty details of your particular problem (say, that you’re currently experiencing a loss of passion) and try to consider the broader class of problems to which yours belongs (say, the course of physical attraction in a long-term relationship). Third, consider the opposite of whatever your gut instinct is telling you to do, and systematically play through the consequences in your mind. And, finally, when your crossroads involves multiple decisions (as opposed to just one), weigh all your options simultaneously rather than separately. Research reveals that such “joint” decision making is more successful and less prone to bias than “separate” decision making.2. Plan as many (frequent, novel and) pleasurable experiences as possible into your life - happiness is correlated to frequency irrespective of intensity, novelty, anticipation, and an absence of obvious opportunity costs (e.g. why didn't I try the daily special instead of the usual)A simple thrift strategy is suggested by research on the emotional benefits of forging positive experiences that are frequent rather than intense (e.g., several modest restaurant dinners rather than a single blowout) and separated rather than combined (rationing out our favorite Sopranos episodes week by week rather than splurging on several at a time).Thus, although advertisers might tell us otherwise, we should aim to spend our money on a series of small intermittent pleasures (e.g., bouquets of fresh flowers or long-distance phone calls to close friends) rather than one big costly amenity (like a fancy sound system). This practice turns out to be both gratifying and relatively cheap. The reason is that when we savor a positive experience—whether it’s a gripping movie, half an hour in a massage chair, or a delicious piece of lemon cake—“the banquet is in the first bite.” In other words, with each passing minute, hour, or week, our capacity to savor the same experience dwindles. However, our capacity to savor and enjoy can be replenished after a break. Thus, carving up our consumption into smaller doses and separating it out by time can multiply those “first bites” and increase our pleasure.Indeed, researchers who studied a thousand Dutch vacationers concluded that by far the greatest amount of happiness extracted from the vacation is derived from the anticipation period, a finding that suggests that we should not only prolong that period but aim to take several small vacations rather than one mega-vacation.
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  • Cara
    January 1, 1970
    I found this book's topic refreshing. The author takes a series of "I can't be happy if/when... (fill in the blank)" fallacies and lays them to rest. Using the theory of hedonic adaptation - our tendency to get used to almost anything positive that happens to us - she argues that certain adult achievements (marriage, kids, job, wealth), while initially satisfying, will not make us intensely happy (or for as long) as we expect they will.Conversely, on the negative side of things, she highlights I found this book's topic refreshing. The author takes a series of "I can't be happy if/when... (fill in the blank)" fallacies and lays them to rest. Using the theory of hedonic adaptation - our tendency to get used to almost anything positive that happens to us - she argues that certain adult achievements (marriage, kids, job, wealth), while initially satisfying, will not make us intensely happy (or for as long) as we expect they will.Conversely, on the negative side of things, she highlights that time and time again, human beings are masters of surviving and, to her point, even thriving under difficult circumstances - so crises in our lives don't tend to make us as unhappy (or unhappy for as long) as we might believe. The truth is also that if you consider the single worst thing that has happened to you in recent years and the single best, we are often surprised that they are one and the same (eg laid off from your job only to find a much more fulfilling career). Basically, devastating crossroads can be gateways to positive change.Overall, I appreciated this book because it helped put a scientific/behavioral paradigm around happiness in our society. I certainly came away feeling like the author succeeded in de-bunking many of these pervasive happiness myths, which was a breathe of fresh air.
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  • Nabilah Firdaus
    January 1, 1970
    The underlying message of this book: We adapt.Human beings have a tremendous capacity to adapt to new things or circumstances. This phenomenon is called hedonic adaptation. Therefore, ruminating about bad stuffs and being scared of an absence of good stuffs in our life don't make sense. Because human beings adapt.This book was just okay. I thought it was more of the science or theories behind happiness but turned out, it was just a set of self-help tips in achieving happiness in certain The underlying message of this book: We adapt.Human beings have a tremendous capacity to adapt to new things or circumstances. This phenomenon is called hedonic adaptation. Therefore, ruminating about bad stuffs and being scared of an absence of good stuffs in our life don't make sense. Because human beings adapt.This book was just okay. I thought it was more of the science or theories behind happiness but turned out, it was just a set of self-help tips in achieving happiness in certain situations: relationship, kids, jobs, money, etc. I didn't quite like the format. Initially, I thought the division of the situations would be complemented with specific tips for a particular situation but really, most of the tips can be applied to ALL situations. The format was weird, bland and messy. The most frustating part is, the division of the topics made me think that some situations weren't relevant to me, so I could easily skim over situations which didn't necessarily apply to me - but apparently I couldnt. I have to read ALL parts because ALL the tips are generally related to each topic.Despite the setback of this book, I quite enjoyed reading it. The tips provided seemed simple and common. But sometimes, you just need something to slap you on the face, you just need to hear it from someone else. I dont know, sometimes you just need it.
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  • Mel
    January 1, 1970
    I heard about this book on the Diane Rehm show and now want to read it immediately!
  • Graeme Newell
    January 1, 1970
    This book provides a refreshing new vantage point on the major turning points of adult life: marriage, children, career, wealth. It also shows new strategies for dealing with lifes failures: singlehood, divorce, financial problems, illness, etc. The author reveals some major misconceptions about the impact good and bad events will have on long-term well-being.Lyubomirsky argues that the path-of-life narrative we all learned is simply not realistic. Weve all been assured that happiness and This book provides a refreshing new vantage point on the major turning points of adult life: marriage, children, career, wealth. It also shows new strategies for dealing with life’s failures: singlehood, divorce, financial problems, illness, etc. The author reveals some major misconceptions about the impact good and bad events will have on long-term well-being.Lyubomirsky argues that the path-of-life narrative we all learned is simply not realistic. We’ve all been assured that happiness and fulfillment will be attained once we hit the culturally anointed markers of success. The good news is that the research shows that things typically work out better than you might think. People who don’t find their soulmate, live on tight budgets, experience serious health challenges, and don’t attain career success still have pretty great lives. It’s usually our expectations that make us miserable, not the actual circumstances of the situation. In the book she draws on research to reveal new insights on how the big events of life typically play out. The highs will not be as rapturous as we think and the lows will not be as disappointing.I found this to be a very practical book with solid strategies and new insights into the best ways to make life’s disappointments less painful and life’s successes more long lasting.
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  • Crystal Starr Light
    January 1, 1970
    Bullet Review:DNFing at page 50.I was thinking this book would be a bit more generic, more about how the mind reacted to happiness and unhappiness. Instead, this looks at specific events (I'll be happy when I meet Mr. Right, I can't be happy now that I have cancer, etc.) and how we react and can counteract.Problem is - I don't need any of that. I love my life. I'm not in a many years long committed relationship, bored and repetitive. I'm not single and whining for a spouse. I'm not desperate for Bullet Review:DNFing at page 50.I was thinking this book would be a bit more generic, more about how the mind reacted to happiness and unhappiness. Instead, this looks at specific events (I'll be happy when I meet Mr. Right, I can't be happy now that I have cancer, etc.) and how we react and can counteract.Problem is - I don't need any of that. I love my life. I'm not in a many years long committed relationship, bored and repetitive. I'm not single and whining for a spouse. I'm not desperate for kids, money, a new job, etc. I am not unemployed or sick or nearing a midlife crisis and unable to be happy.So continuing to read this is pointless, even if there are interesting concepts about hedonic adaptation.If ANY of the above concepts describe you, maybe you will enjoy. I can't deny that the author seems to have done pretty good research and has a good writing style. But why waste time on a book that won't really teach me anything? There are far too many other books out there to read.
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  • Laila (BigReadingLife)
    January 1, 1970
    The basic message is this: Humans adapt. We get used to really good things in time (and take them for granted) and we get used to really bad things in time too. So fearing the really bad stuff doesn't really help anything, and fearing a life without the really good stuff doesn't make sense either. I came away from this book with the reassuring notion that one's life experience, once basic needs are met, is mostly in what you think about it.
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  • Heidi The Reader
    January 1, 1970
    In The Myths of Happiness, Lyubomirsky gives excellent advice for coping with different situations that can occur in life. Most of it didn't apply to me.I wish she had come right out and said something like: it doesn't matter what happens to you externally in life, it's what goes on internally that counts. People come and go, situations come and go, time passes, the world turns, the rain falls...it's all just life. But, she's never that straight forward about it. The whole book consists of In The Myths of Happiness, Lyubomirsky gives excellent advice for coping with different situations that can occur in life. Most of it didn't apply to me.I wish she had come right out and said something like: it doesn't matter what happens to you externally in life, it's what goes on internally that counts. People come and go, situations come and go, time passes, the world turns, the rain falls...it's all just life. But, she's never that straight forward about it. The whole book consists of specific advice for methods in each problem area. I actually liked the conclusion best where she talked about herself a bit and it read, for a page, more like a memoir than a self help book. So, this just wasn't my thing.
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  • Mike Walker
    January 1, 1970
    Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.This was a quote that Sonja Lyubomirsky mentioned in the Introduction. She credited it to a fortune-cookie, but for me this quote set the tone for the whole book. Sonja makes well thought out points about happiness. How we see, comprehend and relate to it. Unlike most of the self-help books I have read, "The Myth of Happiness" has a very simple process - Change your viewpoint. I for one liked it and plan to make “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.”This was a quote that Sonja Lyubomirsky mentioned in the Introduction. She credited it to a fortune-cookie, but for me this quote set the tone for the whole book. Sonja makes well thought out points about happiness. How we see, comprehend and relate to it. Unlike most of the self-help books I have read, "The Myth of Happiness" has a very simple process - Change your viewpoint. I for one liked it and plan to make sure I read this book several times a year. In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
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  • Smitha Murthy
    January 1, 1970
    Theres something about reading Sonja Lyubomirsky - you know that she makes a lot of sense and that you ought to really read this with intent and purpose but the mind wanders. I wonder why? Is it just me? Lyubomirsky, if at all you are interested in the science of happiness, is the foremost scientist on happiness. I had read her earlier book and while this book breaks down several of the myths, I felt that the reading of it might be a tad difficult. Yes, some of the myths need to be yelled at There’s something about reading Sonja Lyubomirsky - you know that she makes a lot of sense and that you ought to really read this with intent and purpose but the mind wanders. I wonder why? Is it just me? Lyubomirsky, if at all you are interested in the science of happiness, is the foremost scientist on happiness. I had read her earlier book and while this book breaks down several of the myths, I felt that the reading of it might be a tad difficult. Yes, some of the myths need to be yelled at from rooftops - the myth that marriage makes you happy; the myth that being childless makes you unhappy; the myth that we need a lot of money - with her decades of research behind her, Lyubomirsky sets out to show how these myths are just that - myths. The biggest takeaway for me is how Sonja talks about turning regrets into resilience. The counter-factor way of turning what we think are seemingly bad things in our life into powerful weapons of growth - that’s where the book hit home.
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  • Rubina
    January 1, 1970
    I have always enjoyed Sonja Lyunomirskys books on positive psychology and happiness. This book does not disappoint. Many of us are waiting for happiness, believing that we cannot be happy in the present. I liked Lyubomirskys approach of debunking the myths of happiness, that we cant be happy or can only be happy when we have the right job, meet the right partner, have lots of money, achieve our goals. By exploring and acknowledging these myths we can better navigate lifes challenges and I have always enjoyed Sonja Lyunomirsky’s books on positive psychology and happiness. This book does not disappoint. Many of us are waiting for happiness, believing that we cannot be happy in the present. I liked Lyubomirsky’s approach of debunking the myths of happiness, that we can’t be happy or can only be happy when we have the right job, meet the right partner, have lots of money, achieve our goals. By exploring and acknowledging these myths we can better navigate life’s challenges and transitions.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    This book was my book club's April pick. The title intrigued me, particularly after reading pieces by Tim Kreider: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...However, I don't think that I'm the right audience for this book, first and foremost because philosophically, I don't look at life as a search for happiness, but rather a journey for meaning and contentedness with "now." That, in itself, is a lifetime's worth of work. Nevertheless, I could see that readers with outlooks or circumstances This book was my book club's April pick. The title intrigued me, particularly after reading pieces by Tim Kreider: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...However, I don't think that I'm the right audience for this book, first and foremost because philosophically, I don't look at life as a search for happiness, but rather a journey for meaning and contentedness with "now." That, in itself, is a lifetime's worth of work. Nevertheless, I could see that readers with outlooks or circumstances different from mine could benefit from chapters like"I Can't Be Happy When...My Relationship Has Fallen Apart." The chapter that would apply to me was missing from the book, (I'll be happy when...I let go of worrying about my body image), but 12,000 other self-help books cover that topic abundantly.After skimming through a few relatable quotes such as "Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while ou are thinking about it," and suggestions that giving to others is a sure way to "happiness," I found the book to be more self-help than a scientific exploration of why we seek happiness--which is what I had hoped the book was about.I laughed out loud and read to my husband the last chapter title and first sentence, because it was just so dark that I didn't know how else to react: Chapter title: "I can't be happy when...the best years of my life are over." First sentence: "For some of us, the first instant of waking is our bleakest and most pessimistic moment." Holy shit, that's depressing.I empathize with anyone suffering under the crippling gloom of depression. I've spent a lot of my life under it. However, if I were depressed, I don't think I'd choose this particular flavor of self-help book.
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  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    January 1, 1970
    I read childrens picture books and travel narratives and creative nonfiction and literary fiction and Books About Happiness.Yes, Books About Happiness. Its one of my favorite genres.Ive read Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman and Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Leyman and Gretchen Rubins Happiness Project and Happier at Home and the Dalai Lamas The Art of Happiness and Sonja Lyubomirskys earlier book, The How of Happiness. How could I pass up Lyubomirskys new book, The Myths of I read children’s picture books and travel narratives and creative nonfiction and literary fiction and Books About Happiness.Yes, Books About Happiness. It’s one of my favorite genres.I’ve read Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman and Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Leyman and Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project and Happier at Home and the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Sonja Lyubomirsky’s earlier book, The How of Happiness. How could I pass up Lyubomirsky’s new book, The Myths of Happiness?Of course I couldn’t. And I am happy to report that reading it was four hours happily spent.Lyubomirsky’s underlying theme relies on the truth of two quotes: Pasteur reminds us, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” and Socrates notes, “He who is not contented with what he has, Would not be contented with what he would like to have.”Chapter by chapter, Lyubomirsky examines all the myths of happiness we Americans hide in our hearts---all the I’ll Be Happy When’s and all the I Can’t Be Happy If’s---and explodes them, using a lovely combination of scientific research and case studies. Turns out, we are much more resilient than we think we are. We keep walking through great traumas with scarcely more than a few months’ dip in happiness. We keep walking through great good fortune with scarcely more than a few months’ rise in happiness. Interesting. Unexpected. Good to know.
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  • Arminzerella
    January 1, 1970
    Sonja Lyubomirsky compiles and summarizes some important research and information concerning our happiness what really makes us happy as opposed to what we think will make us happy. There are all kinds of things that we believe (or are taught, or have absorbed through our culture) about happiness. For instance, that it can be found in the perfect relationship/marriage, through having children, by being rich. Similarly, we believe that being single, poor, unhealthy, and elderly all detract from Sonja Lyubomirsky compiles and summarizes some important research and information concerning our happiness – what really makes us happy as opposed to what we think will make us happy. There are all kinds of things that we believe (or are taught, or have absorbed through our culture) about happiness. For instance, that it can be found in the perfect relationship/marriage, through having children, by being rich. Similarly, we believe that being single, poor, unhealthy, and elderly all detract from our happiness. This isn’t necessarily the case according to the research. It’s how we experience and think about these things that can make all of the difference. Offering examples and some assistance in how one can personally make these mental adjustments, Lyubomirsky has done her part to inject a little more happiness into our lives. A lot of this seemed familiar to me, as I have disabused myself of a lot of the more popular misconceptions of what is supposed to make us happy. I think it’s a good reminder/refresher, though, especially since our cultural expectations pretty much force some of these viewpoints upon us.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    This book was such a waste of time. I expected an interesting evaluation of what happiness means to people, and got a preachy self-help book that read like a textbook. The bland writing made it easy to skim over what did not apply to me, which was the first hundred pages as well as the last hundred. I'll admit, the middle section was interesting. It dealt primarily with money and job insecurities, which was the closest thing to anything relatable to me in the entire book. But even though debt This book was such a waste of time. I expected an interesting evaluation of what happiness means to people, and got a preachy self-help book that read like a textbook. The bland writing made it easy to skim over what did not apply to me, which was the first hundred pages as well as the last hundred. I'll admit, the middle section was interesting. It dealt primarily with money and job insecurities, which was the closest thing to anything relatable to me in the entire book. But even though debt and money is a major stressor for me, the info in the book did not really hit home for me because my happiness is really not contingent on fickle circumstances. I never really pegged myself as a happy, content person. But this book showed me people are so miserable that they need a book to tell them how not to be miserable. This book is for you if you allow temporary circumstances to affect your happiness on deep level.
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  • Wanda (The Watered Soul)
    January 1, 1970
    For me this book was a slow read but I like the concept of the book and I believe that society as a whole would do better, if we had more people teaching these truths. Perhaps if people knew it was normal to have these ebbs and flows of happiness in their relationships, there would be lower rates of divorce. The key things I took away from the book was the importance of gratitude and remembering (how things use to be) plays into us having fulfilling lives. In the end, I was reminded of a saying For me this book was a slow read but I like the concept of the book and I believe that society as a whole would do better, if we had more people teaching these truths. Perhaps if people knew it was normal to have these ebbs and flows of happiness in their relationships, there would be lower rates of divorce. The key things I took away from the book was the importance of gratitude and remembering (how things use to be) plays into us having fulfilling lives. In the end, I was reminded of a saying I heard sometime ago—happiness is about happenings. And truth is that sometimes in life the happenings aren't so good but we can still choose to walk in joy. I was provided a complimentary copy of the book through TLC Book Tours. No other compensation was provided. See the complete review at: The Watered Soul
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  • Jacob
    January 1, 1970
    Although I was already aware of many of the ideas in this book, in terms of what really makes people happy and strategies for maximizing happiness and minimizing unhappiness, I imagine that this might be a really good book for someone who is not as aware. I did find it helpful myself, particularly the second to last chapter on coping with large life disappointments and failed pursuits. In addition to this one, there are chapters on almost all major aspects of human existence such as Although I was already aware of many of the ideas in this book, in terms of what really makes people happy and strategies for maximizing happiness and minimizing unhappiness, I imagine that this might be a really good book for someone who is not as aware. I did find it helpful myself, particularly the second to last chapter on coping with large life disappointments and failed pursuits. In addition to this one, there are chapters on almost all major aspects of human existence such as marriage/singlehood, children, careers, aging, relationships, and illness or tragedy.The book may have been a bit wordy, taking too many words to describe something, but overall it wasn't bad. Maybe it just needed some more examples or anecdotes to liven the writing.
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  • Betsy Hover
    January 1, 1970
    I was so excited to received this book in a Giveaway. This book was absolutely awesome. The author has completely nailed it, in reference to taking the crisis points in our life and looking at them in a completely different way."Instead of being frightening or depressing, your crisis points can be opportunities for renewal, growth, or meaningful change. However, how you greet then really matters."I always tell my children:**It's not the trail in your life that matters, but how you react to it**I I was so excited to received this book in a Giveaway. This book was absolutely awesome. The author has completely nailed it, in reference to taking the crisis points in our life and looking at them in a completely different way."Instead of being frightening or depressing, your crisis points can be opportunities for renewal, growth, or meaningful change. However, how you greet then really matters."I always tell my children:**It's not the trail in your life that matters, but how you react to it**I love that you could pick and choose to read the chapter(s) that applied to what is going on in your life at that particular time.
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  • Bryn
    January 1, 1970
    This title was at best misleading and at worst totally deceptive. I thought it was more of the science/data behind happiness; turns out, it was self-help tips for ways to achieve happiness in certain situations: when your marriage isn't the best; when you're single; when you're older; when you can't have kids; when you do have kids, etc. By its design, even if you enjoy this type of book, at least part of it won't be relevant to you: if your kids aren't making you as happy as you thoughts they This title was at best misleading and at worst totally deceptive. I thought it was more of the science/data behind happiness; turns out, it was self-help tips for ways to achieve happiness in certain situations: when your marriage isn't the best; when you're single; when you're older; when you can't have kids; when you do have kids, etc. By its design, even if you enjoy this type of book, at least part of it won't be relevant to you: if your kids aren't making you as happy as you thoughts they should, the part on how to be happy even if you don't have kids is necessarily inapplicable. I forced myself to finish it because I bought it in hardcover, but I am glad it is OVER!
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    This book far exceeded my expectations on every level: appealing writing style, amount of scientific research, and degree of direct helpfulness to my own life. Now that I've said that, it may not exceed your own expectations, which are now quite high, but read it and find out why not (it's called hedonic adaptation)!
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  • Laurie Thurston
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely affirming....Always knew I was a glass-half-full kind of gal, but now I see the research behind it. VERY needed during a decidedly 'unhappy' time of my life, reminding me that I'm in far more control than I sometimes think. Hope for me yet :)
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  • GB Noriega
    January 1, 1970
    I listened to this during commute. It was an enjoyable listen, and it gave great applicable exercises. Not sure if it was what I was looking for.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    i don't generally read self help books...but this one was actually...helpful! i needed a pick-me-up and this was it. really liked it.
  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    **Happiness within**Reading Sonjas first book _The How of Happiness_ made me very happy. [ ☺] And, her current gem of _The Myths of Happiness_ made me very, very happy. [☺ ☺ ]Beautifully weaving together scores of scientific research (were talking over 700 journal articles!) into blissfully readable prose, Sonja dispels the myths related to what doesand doesntmake us happy. As she describes: The goal of _The Myths of Happiness_ is to draw on the latest scientific research to expand readers **Happiness within**Reading Sonja’s first book _The How of Happiness_ made me very happy. [ ☺] And, her current gem of _The Myths of Happiness_ made me very, very happy. [☺ ☺ ]Beautifully weaving together scores of scientific research (we’re talking over 700 journal articles!) into blissfully readable prose, Sonja dispels the myths related to what does—and doesn’t—make us happy. As she describes: “The goal of _The Myths of Happiness_ is to draw on the latest scientific research to expand readers’ perspectives about the crisis points they are confronting, dismantle the false beliefs about happiness driving their initial reactions, and introduce the tools that they can use to draw their own verdicts and develop new skills and habits of mind. Fortified with counterintuitive wisdom and instructive distance from their problems, their next crisis point will be met with a prepared mind.” (pp. 12-13)She goes through ten common happiness myths one-by-one—first dispelling them, and then offering ways to power through them with a prepared mind. Key strategies used to fight all of these myths include: slowing adaptation, coping with adversity, pursuing new goals, and striving to glow and flourish. You’ll have to read the full book in all its glory to get the maximum effect, but here’s a quick synopsis of the wisdom she offers for dispelling these ten myths: Part I Connections1.Myth: I’ll be happy when...I’m married to the right person.Reality: Marital grievances, qualms, and discontents are natural and commonplace, and are often attributable to hedonistic adaptation. Rx: Work to get past your first thought that if your marriage doesn’t fulfill all you needs for intimacy, passion, and companionship, then you (or your partner) have failed; begin to practice adaption-thwarting and relationship-building strategies to help inject excitement, novelty, variety, and/or surprise into your marriage. (pp. 48-49)2.Myth: I can’t be happy when...My relationship has fallen apart.Reality: Your life won’t end when your relationship does.Rx: Realize you have more choices than you think (i.e., leave, make the best of it, stay and resolve to improve your relationship), and consider how much of your marital unhappiness is due to you, how much of it is due to your spouse, how much of it is due to dynamics within your marriage, and how much of it is due to circumstances beyond your control. (pp. 81-82)3.Myth: I’ll be happy when...I have kids.Reality: You can love your children, *and* not love many aspects of parenting. Rx: Considering a big-picture view of parenting, reflecting on which situations impact your happiness the most, maintaining your balance through journaling, and taking time off from parenting will fortify you with the resolve to weather the low points of child rearing and empower you to revel in the high points. (p. 100)4.Myth: I can’t be happy when...I don’t have a partner.Reality: Married people are no happier than single ones, and singles have been found to enjoy great happiness and meaning in other relationships and pursuits.Rx: Strive to flourish as an individual and stay open to the possibility for connection. If you don’t like your single life, change it. If you can’t or won’t change your life, change the way you think about it.(p. 111)Part II: Work and Money5.Myth: I’ll be happy when...I find the right job.Reality: No matter how perfect a job may initially seem, everyone becomes habituated to the novelty, excitement, and challenges of a new job or venture.Rx: If we want success—recognition, authority, rewards—because we think our happiness depends on it, we are limiting our happiness now and jeopardizing the future. Distracting ourselves from toxic comparisons, concentrating on our own internal standards, and focusing on the journey in pursuit of our dreams, rather than on the end result, will redirect our attention and energies from the “I’ll be happy when___” mentality and toward more fruitful horizons. (pp. 141-143)6.Myth: I can’t be happy when...I’m broke.Reality: Although income and happiness are indeed significantly correlated, the relationship is not as strong as commonly assumed. Rx: Extract the greatest amount of happiness from the smallest things. Instead of brooding about our misfortune, we can focus on the ways that we can be happy with less and spend our money right. (p.162)7.Myth: I’ll be happy when...I’m rich.Reality: Many prosperous individuals are not truly happy, and often feel as if life has become dull and even empty.Rx: Don’t be a slave to the hedonistic treadmill and suffer the downside of good fortune. The key to happiness is not in how successful we are, but what we do with it; it’s not how high our income is, but how we allocate it. (p. 181)Part III: Looking Back8.Myth: I can’t be happy when...The test results were positive.Reality: Although our immediate reactions to a dreaded diagnosis will often involve painful thoughts and feelings, the mobilize-and-minimize theory suggests theses negative initial reactions will be short-lived, and the healthy, long-term responses will unfold over time.Rx: Once we stop accepting that our situation is the end of happiness, we will be prepared to take action—to embrace, adjust to, or make the best of each and every day. Focus your energies into life-enhancing endeavors such as building and/or reinforcing your social support network, honing your powers of attention by learning to meditate or simply to be more mindful, setting time each day to enjoy the outdoors, and resolving to take at least one step each week in the direction that helps you attain purpose in your life and secures your legacy. (pp. 209-210)9.Myth: I can’t be happy when...I know I’ll never play shortstop for the Yankees.Reality: Happiness and regret can co-exist. Rx: Instead of choosing to ruminate mechanically, we can choose to shift our perspectives about the harm or danger of regrets. Instead of letting our regrets and might-have-beens poison our happiness, we can choose to examine them in ways that will help us to grow into more complex, wiser, and ultimately happier individuals. Psychological theory and research reveal that the healthiest responses to those moments when we are walloped by a what-if, rue a failure to act, or find ourselves paralyzed by choices is to reflect on what the what-ifs or counterfactuals can teach us about our life course and where it’s brought us (e.g., a past trauma that ultimately engenders a sense of good fortune that lends richness and meaning to our life), rather than allow them to immobilize us; take tiny (or not so tiny) risks to prevent regret over inactions (e.g., respond to our failure to act yesterday by speaking up forcefully today); and aim for options that are “good enough” rather than perfect. (pp. 231-232)10.Myth: I can’t be happy when...The best years of my life are over.Reality: The older we are, the happier and emotionally wiser we are, and the second half of life can be an exciting time of challenge, joy, and growth.Rx: When confronting the crossroads of middle age and beyond, realize you have a choice between decline and flourishing. Realize that choosing to remain stuck in idealization of the past deflates and jeopardizes future goals, and instead try to shift your mind’s eye to the future. Instead of listening to your first thought, listen to the second one: “Sure, I’ve had joys, passions, and triumphs in the past, but, in the future, so much more awaits.” Or perhaps the third one, which might mean accepting a loss in one domain, but transitioning to another: “It’s true my childbearing years (or running years or college years) are over, but a new chapter has begun.” (pp. 246-247)From the first word to the last, this book is amazingly powerful and inspirational. I just can’t seem to say enough about it, so I’ll conclude with Sonja’s own concluding insights: “We must stop waiting for happiness, and we must stop being terrified of the potential for unhappiness…When your attention is narrowly focused on something disagreeable or distressing, it may help to consider the bigger picture. When you are overwhelmed and obsessing with particular images and thoughts, you should strive to redirect your attention to something else. Finally, it would serve you well to look on the bright side of negative situations, but to be creative about how you do it; to inject variety and novelty in your life; and to pursue intrinsic, authentic, and flexible goals and make them your own...In short, after you recognize the extent to which your beliefs about what will make you eternally happy and unhappy have been driving your reactions to life’s challenges and transitions, you will be prepared to decide how to behave in ways that promote happiness, flourishing, and growth—to think instead of blink, relying on reasoning rather than instinct. Exploding the myths of happiness means that there’s no magic formula for happiness and no sure course toward misery—that nothing in life is as joy producing or as misery inducing as we think it is. Appreciating this truth can not only liberate us, empower us, and broaden our horizons, but it can grant us our best opportunity to choose well, to get it right.” (pp. 250-251)And, getting it right starts with diving into this book to dispel those happiness myths. Truth be told, you might just find yourself very, very happy too. [☺ ☺]
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  • Timo
    January 1, 1970
    I like to read one of these Positive Psychology books every year or so just to remind me that we have actual science that can help guide our lives. Most of us follow mythologies, instead; be it religious or secular mythologies. And the vast majority of our mythologies have not been squared with the latest in social science (a problem I'm working on: storyofexistence.com). But one of the troubling aspects of much of these books, though they use research-based ideas to help illuminate our current I like to read one of these Positive Psychology books every year or so just to remind me that we have actual science that can help guide our lives. Most of us follow mythologies, instead; be it religious or secular mythologies. And the vast majority of our mythologies have not been squared with the latest in social science (a problem I'm working on: storyofexistence.com). But one of the troubling aspects of much of these books, though they use research-based ideas to help illuminate our current paths toward this idea of happiness, few of them ever point that same weapon directly at the core foundations of our western society and its myths.She gets close in this book. I just wish she'd be more explicit about such efforts. Western Culture is proving deeply troubling for the long-term stability and satisfaction of our lives. And though she must deliver this news gently, for those of us who have moved past this understanding, it can feel a bit sophomoric. But alas, many many people need to understand the research behind the ideas that their current pursuits are leading them in the wrong direction. So read this and other books like it. Again and again.
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  • Carlos
    January 1, 1970
    While I was worried to find Lyubomirsky describe the book as a self-help book in the introduction, given my distaste for them, I was happy to find that she does not fall into the same clichés that plague that genre. Lyubomirsky manages to make the book be both a lay-friendly introduction to the psychology of happiness and a wonderful tool to help the reader find his or her own happiness. By studiously basing her advice on multiple psychological studies she manages to give weight to her advice While I was worried to find Lyubomirsky describe the book as a self-help book in the introduction, given my distaste for them, I was happy to find that she does not fall into the same clichés that plague that genre. Lyubomirsky manages to make the book be both a lay-friendly introduction to the psychology of happiness and a wonderful tool to help the reader find his or her own happiness. By studiously basing her advice on multiple psychological studies she manages to give weight to her advice and convince the reader that she is not pedaling any new fad. Lyubormirsky also manages to address most of the crisis points that any adult is likely to go through: marriage, parenting, divorce, illness, job dissatisfaction, financial worries and aging. Similarly, she constantly highlights the varied paths that can lead a person to happiness and the importance of defining one’s own happiness instead of passively accepting that of our family or our culture. Overall I found this book quite enlightening and highly recommend it.
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  • Mohammad Ali Abedi
    January 1, 1970
    The book has both a great title and a great subtitle. Made me real curious. What are the myths of happiness? What should make us happy, but doesnt? But shouldnt make you happy, but does?Unfortunately, the book is not as deep as I was hoping it would be. I didnt find the myths to really be myths. Most of the myths are basically the sort of motivational Instagram/facebook posts you will see. Does money make you happy? Well, here is a shocking truth bomb you have never heard beforeNO!Woaaaaah. That The book has both a great title and a great subtitle. Made me real curious. What are the myths of happiness? What should make us happy, but doesn’t? But shouldn’t make you happy, but does?Unfortunately, the book is not as deep as I was hoping it would be. I didn’t find the myths to really be myths. Most of the myths are basically the sort of motivational Instagram/facebook posts you will see. Does money make you happy? Well, here is a shocking truth bomb you have never heard before…NO!Woaaaaah. That’s some major myth busting. How about if you are alone and you think being married and having kids? That will certainly guarantee happiness, as I am sure every single person who is reading this assumes. Well, hope you have recovered from the previous myth busting, because I’m about to blow our mind. IT…MIGHT…NOT!So, if you are still in shock over those two extremely surprising answers, than this book is probably for you.
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  • Taylor Caruso - Bucher
    January 1, 1970
    The Myths of Happiness was not what I expected as a psychology student moving toward a doctorate. I was actually let down with what I thought was a lack of educational resources and appropriate references, studies, and applicable examples. The given examples were more for the middle class and upper-class people and did not touch base on the world outside of the United States. The author could have acknowledged traditions and expectation of other cultures that value the practice of happiness The Myths of Happiness was not what I expected as a psychology student moving toward a doctorate. I was actually let down with what I thought was a lack of educational resources and appropriate references, studies, and applicable examples. The given examples were more for the middle class and upper-class people and did not touch base on the world outside of the United States. The author could have acknowledged traditions and expectation of other cultures that value the practice of happiness where most Americans do not. This books also didn't teach me anything new about the concept of happiness of the human mind and behaviors. I was hoping for more of an educational read than a self-help book for someone who doesn't really know much about therapy or psychology.
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  • Gauchoholandes
    January 1, 1970
    Explains in a pragmatic and structured way, backed by ample scientific research, why the good stuff doesnt last (hedonic adaptation) and why the bad stuff doesnt have to (practical coping strategies), indeed counterintuitively busting some myths along the way. Includes a useful bad news response model (flow chart), explains very clearly why its better to regret what weve done than what we havent done, the pros and cons of decision-making maximizers vs satisficers, and confirming there is no Explains in a pragmatic and structured way, backed by ample scientific research, why the good stuff doesn’t last (hedonic adaptation) and why the bad stuff doesn’t have to (practical coping strategies), indeed counterintuitively busting some myths along the way. Includes a useful bad news response model (flow chart), explains very clearly why it’s better to regret what we’ve done than what we haven’t done, the pros and cons of decision-making “maximizers” vs “satisficers”, and confirming there is no happiness in comparison (and how to minimize doing it anyway). Not earth shattering, but a useful reference.
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