10% Happier
7 hrs and 50 minsNightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable. After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out. We all have a voice in our head. It's what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we're not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we're stuck with this voice that there's nothing we can do to rein it in but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It's a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it's something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness. 10% Happier takes listeners on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America's spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives. ©2014 Daniel Benjamin Harris (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers

10% Happier Details

Title10% Happier
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 11th, 2014
PublisherIt Books
ISBN-139780062265425
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Self Help, Psychology, Autobiography, Memoir

10% Happier Review

  • Dan Harris
    January 1, 1970
    A heartbreaking work of staggering genius.
  • Jason Schofield
    January 1, 1970
    I fucking loved this book. It's the most compelling introduction to meditation I've seen, after spending hundreds of dollars buying books on the subject. I have a therapy practice that is mindfulness-based. I often recommend informative-but-boring mindfulness-related books to people that they don't often finish. They'll almost certainly finish this one. It's terrific.
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  • Will Byrnes
    January 1, 1970
    Dan Harris is a bit of a jerk. You don’t have to take my word for it. He says it himself, more than once, in his book. A lot of 10% Happier is about Harris trying to be less of a jerk.Among his other journalistic accomplishments, which include more than a few in-country assignments in hot-fire war zones, hosting gigs on Good Morning America and Nightline, and scoring interviews with some very scary people, Harris is known for a live on-camera meltdown that was seen only by close family members, Dan Harris is a bit of a jerk. You don’t have to take my word for it. He says it himself, more than once, in his book. A lot of 10% Happier is about Harris trying to be less of a jerk.Among his other journalistic accomplishments, which include more than a few in-country assignments in hot-fire war zones, hosting gigs on Good Morning America and Nightline, and scoring interviews with some very scary people, Harris is known for a live on-camera meltdown that was seen only by close family members, co-workers and oh, maybe 5 million viewers. I have added a link at the bottom. This is a road trip of self-discovery tale, and the path Harris takes is extremely interesting. Of course the self he discovers is still a self-centered jerk, but a jerk who can really, really tell a story, fill it with fascinating, meaningful information, add in considerable dollops of LOL humor, much at his own expense, and emerge with what, for himself and many others, is a life-changing way of going about his life. Dan Harris - photo from ABC news One of the nifty things about the book is that Harris is a seasoned media pro and can deliver a snappy line with the best of them I might have disagreed with the conclusion reached by people of faith, but at least that part of their brain was functioning. Every week, they had a set time to consider their place in the universe, to step out of the matrix and achieve some perspective. If you’re never looking up, I now realized, you’re always just looking around. Of course this presumes that everyone who is looking up is seeking something celestial and not doing so merely to fit in with the pack, or being distracted by a passing drone. Still, my cynicism notwithstanding, the man has a way with words. And that makes this a very easy book to read. He is a charming guide on this search for a better way and you will meet some familiar names and learn of some others who should be.Harris offers small bits on Peter Jennings and Diane Sawyer, among other ABC news folks. No surprises are to be had there. Jennings assigned the young Harris to the religion beat, over his (silent) objections, just in time for the post 9/11 world to give a damn about religion as news fodder. Harris covered a range of stories while on this gig, and met many interesting people, but was very impressed with Ted Haggard, who, off-camera, comes across as a pretty reasonable sort, which was surprising. Of course Haggard, who publicly preached against same-sex relationships, was practicing the fine art of total hypocrisy, as he was enjoying the company of a paid male escort. But he comes across as having much more substance than his gawker-headline downfall would lead one to suspect. Harris meets with a few more folks in the self-help biz, whether of the religious, secular, or woo-woo sorts. The up-close and personal here is riveting. But the business at hand is not just about getting a fix on people like Deepak Chopra, it is about Harris trying to find his way past his personal limitations. He does a bit of a pinball route, bouncing among several of today’s self-help gurus in search of a way to quiet the inner anchorman who offers running commentary during every waking moment. The first step, of course was to realize that the ego was on camera all the time, offering a live feed, an internal, personal, and less than wonderful 24/7 personal news channel. One of the first people whose work he found illuminating was a weird but compelling German, Eckhart Tolle, who offered a take on how to live in the now. It was a little embarrassing to be reading a self-help writer and thinking, This guy gets me. But it was in this moment, lying in bed late at night, that I first realized that the voice in my head—the running commentary that had dominated my field of consciousness since I could remember—was kind of an asshole. He finds elements of Deepak Chopra illuminating as well, but with reservations. Chopra was definitely more fun to hang out with than Tolle—I preferred Deepak’s rascally What Makes Sammy Run? style to the German’s otherworldly diffidence—but I left the experience more confused, not less. Eckhart was befuddling because, while I believed he was sincere, I couldn’t tell if he was sane. With Deepak it was the opposite; I believed he was sane, but I couldn’t tell if he was sincere. What he arrives at is meditation. In particular a state called “mindfulness”, in which one observes the thoughts and feelings that are occurring, but at a remove, so that one can respond without relying on immediate, visceral and ego-driven reactions. There are different forms of meditation, but he finds one that does the trick for him. And puts it into practice. How he goes about this is sometimes LOL funny, particularly when we are privy to the snarky ramblings of his ego while he is attempting to not lose his mind during a lengthy meditation retreat. At end he learns a very useful skill, and even offers a very accessible step-by-step set of directions for having a go yourself. No beads, sandals, incense or robes required, really. Corporations and even the Marines are promoting meditation among their people. Turns out there are real-world benefits. It is probably worth at least a try.There is an old saw that goes “Sincerity, if you can fake that you’ve got it made.” I do not think that Harris is faking anything here. He is definitely into meditation, and tells lot about the very real benefits to be had. Of course, as a self-centered jerk, it is the self-benefits that get the air-time in his book. There is another realm, which involves compassion. While Harris does talk about this, it is pretty clear that meditation is a way for Dan Harris to do better in the world for Dan Harris. And while there are collateral benefits for those around him as a result of his evolution, the whole compassion thing remains for Harris a means to an end. In 10% Happier, a term he came up with to explain the benefits of his mindfulness practice and stop people from looking at him as if he were an alien, Harris offers a revealing portrait of himself as far, far less than perfect (his meltdown, for example, was made possible in large measure by considerable intake of cocaine and ecstasy), tells a tale of personal seeking and growth, and shares with us the very concrete techniques he has gleaned. So, while self-interest remains the beneficiary of his new knowledge, and while Dan Harris remains, IMHO, a jerk, he is a curious, articulate, and entertaining jerk who has shared some useful experiences and knowledge with the rest of us. Nothing jerky about that. Review posted 11/21/14=============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s Twitter and FB pagesDan Harris’s vid on how to Hack Your Brain's Default Mode with Meditation Harris's on-air report about the book on ABCHarris is interviewed on Colbert Somehow it seems wrong that people are using meditation as a networking tool. Check out this 11/21/14 NY Times piece, How to Find a Job With Meditation and Mindfulness, by Laura M. Holson.Check out this interesting short item from the NY Times Wellness section - How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body By Gretchen Reynolds - 2/18/16
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  • Raquel Moss
    January 1, 1970
    I've been under a fair bit of stress lately. Nearly a year into self-employment, work has become steadier, sometimes more than steady. Although I love it, I've finally come to understand why people yearn to meditate. With my mind racing with mostly unproductive worries and nags, I've been thinking that I should try mediation to calm the tumult and find 'flow' again.The problem has been finding a guide to meditation that isn't complete granola claptrap. I loaded Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now o I've been under a fair bit of stress lately. Nearly a year into self-employment, work has become steadier, sometimes more than steady. Although I love it, I've finally come to understand why people yearn to meditate. With my mind racing with mostly unproductive worries and nags, I've been thinking that I should try mediation to calm the tumult and find 'flow' again.The problem has been finding a guide to meditation that isn't complete granola claptrap. I loaded Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now onto my Kindle but gave up almost immediately. His meanings were almost completely opaque to me, and I didn't have to fortitude to stick through it. So when Dan Harris popped up on The Colbert Report (where he was a more eloquent guest than most on the show) to promote his book 10% Happier, I figured I'd give it a try.Writing the above paragraphs, I've come to appreciate Dan Harris' book a little bit more. It's hard to write about mediation without sounding like a complete asshole. Dan gave it a fair shot, and his book was useful, though I never felt entirely compelled by his voice. Preci Journalist/News Anchor, extrovert, and work-a-holic Dan Harris becomes intrigued by meditation, and seeks to cut through the hippy-dippy bullshit in search of something more practical that he can apply to his daily life. He journeys, he stumbles, but eventually manages to create a mediation practice that fits within, and enhances his life. He says it makes him 'about 10% happier'. What I liked This isn't a life-hacking book. I was afraid that I was in for another Tim Ferris wank-fest, but I was pleasantly surprised by Harris' respect for the subject matter. Although Harris doesn't become a Buddhist, he explores Buddhism, and the role of meditation therein with care, and ultimately decides that while the spiritual aspect of Buddhism isn't for him, the mechanics of mediation are useful to him. From what I know of Buddhism as a whole, this is absolutely kosher (though correct me if I'm wrong).I like that Harris clung to his misgivings about Eckhart Tolle (whom he  finds a bit too whack-a-doodle) and Deepak Chopra (whom he considers to be insincere), and sought meditation practitioners and teachers whose practise is more deeply rooted in 'the real world'. In his words:"After months of swimming against the riptide of bathos and bullshit peddled by the self-help subculture, it was phenomenally refreshing to see the ego depicted with wry wit."Amen, brother.He frequently mentions that meditation has a terrible marketing issue in that its most vocal advocates are a bit too crunchy and/or otherworldly for the mainstream. He suggests several works for further reading which are rooted in science rather than mysticism, for folks who would prefer to read about meditation from that viewpoint.I also found the chapter on 'hiding the zen' to be useful. Although I'm blogging about it, one's self-help forays aren't always what you'd like discussed in the public sphere. It's nice to be able to slip under the radar as a meditator without showing your 'woo woo-ness' in public. What I didn't like I'll be honest, Harris is not someone I'd like to hang out with. While I enjoyed his journey from bro-ish asshole to a more self-aware being, I couldn't really relate on a personal level. Honestly, even a redeemed Harris seems like a bit of an asshole to me.I also wasn't too interested in the extensive personal narrative. While I appreciate it was important to illustrate his journey, I believe it could have been edited more thoroughly. As a non-USA reader, I had never heard of the guy, and don't really care about the internal politics of USA news networks.Moreover, Harris' writing is serviceable, but his forays into poetic description most often fall flat. Take this one, for example:"With the Klonopin on board you could have marched an army of crazed chimps armed with nunchucks and ninja stars into my apartment and I would have remained calm."His asides often devolve to a Barney Stinson meets College Bro level of sophistication"The real mindfuck, though, was this: almost as soon as he said something brilliant, he would say something else that was totally ridiculous"While other paragraphs head almost into (the much maligned) Eckhart Tolle territory -- behold:"Failure to recognize thoughts for what they are -- quantum bursts of psychic energy that exist solely in your head -- is primordial human error" Observations Harris is very much an extrovert. Throughout the book I found myself thinking that although I have never really meditated, I have already mastered some of the techniques he mentions. I think it comes down to the fact that I am an introvert and am very comfortable within my own mind -- I know how to observe my thoughts and emotions and 'lean in' to them, responding rather than reacting. I get the sense that for an extrovert, the inner mind can be a scary and alien landscape, and that a large part of Harris' journey is simply getting to know his inner mind. Verdict Overall, this book was a useful start for my foray into meditation, though I'll need to do a lot more reading, I think. This is the book for the everyman, and I'd like to gain a more academic insight.While the tone was a bit too alpha-male and bro-ish for me, I appreciated the practical look at meditation.Bonus points for a relatively obscure Simpsons reference. 3/5
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  • Dan Dinello
    January 1, 1970
    This bestseller annoyed me over and over. It's more of a memoir than a book about learning to meditate - something I do. But to read this book you must read about the life of this privileged rich white guy who has no social conscious and little interest in the people around him other than what he can exploit for a story. His arrogance is present in the subtitle - he reduced stress and kept his edge. But he never had an edge as far as I could tell. While the encouragement to meditate is positive, This bestseller annoyed me over and over. It's more of a memoir than a book about learning to meditate - something I do. But to read this book you must read about the life of this privileged rich white guy who has no social conscious and little interest in the people around him other than what he can exploit for a story. His arrogance is present in the subtitle - he reduced stress and kept his edge. But he never had an edge as far as I could tell. While the encouragement to meditate is positive, he has nothing new to say about the process. He mostly hates it until he has these wonderful break-throughs. I didn't like the author and, since the book focuses every page on the author, I didn't like the book.
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  • Heidi The Hippie Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Dan Harris had problems, like all of us, but unlike all of us, he was beginning to experience some of the messier symptoms of his dysfunctional inner world in front of millions of people.He sought help and jumped into the meditation world with both feet. I think its why most people find their way into spiritual practices- something isn't working quite right in their life and they need to change from the inside out. So, they look for a process of inner change and run smack into meditation.However Dan Harris had problems, like all of us, but unlike all of us, he was beginning to experience some of the messier symptoms of his dysfunctional inner world in front of millions of people.He sought help and jumped into the meditation world with both feet. I think its why most people find their way into spiritual practices- something isn't working quite right in their life and they need to change from the inside out. So, they look for a process of inner change and run smack into meditation.However, Dan isn't drinking the kool-aid of the new age movement. He questions every practice for its practical benefits and searches for scientific experimentation to back up those benefits.In essence, he brings the investigative skills that he applies to his job as a news anchor to the practice of meditation and it's a delight to read.I loved this. Dan had the same initial reaction to Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra that I did. One of them seems too mellow to be real and the other seems to market himself too well to be that spiritual.Over time, I've come to love both of those authors/gurus for their wisdom, but they are both just out of this world. Harris isn't afraid to point that out.In conclusion, I'd recommend 10% Happier to anyone who wants to become 10% happier- isn't that all of us?Also, anyone who has read Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra may also enjoy this, if only for the surprisingly accurate descriptions of their foibles. Anyone who wants to try meditation but feels like they don't have time, couldn't do it if they tried, or doesn't know where to start may find some inspiration from this book.And, finally, anyone who is fed up with the hippie-dippie-trippie feeling that most spiritual memoirs give them, will find a kindred soul in Dan Harris.
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  • Veronica Belmont
    January 1, 1970
    I am a self-help cynic. I've never read any self-help, but I knew I needed to get a handle on my stress, anxiety and anger. When I read the description of this book (I listened to the audio version) I said, "OK, newsman, tell me how to be happier."Dan Harris is an anchor for ABC, and in this story (which reads more like a memoir than a self-help guide) he details his own struggles early in his career. I related to many of these difficulties (particularly the fear of freezing up while live on the I am a self-help cynic. I've never read any self-help, but I knew I needed to get a handle on my stress, anxiety and anger. When I read the description of this book (I listened to the audio version) I said, "OK, newsman, tell me how to be happier."Dan Harris is an anchor for ABC, and in this story (which reads more like a memoir than a self-help guide) he details his own struggles early in his career. I related to many of these difficulties (particularly the fear of freezing up while live on the air) and so I immediately felt a kinship. However, I don't think you need to work in media to get where Dan is coming from; anyone in a high-stress situation, be it work or personal life, can find connections.For me, this book really opened my eyes to ways that I can relieve stress while still maintaining my "edge" in the workplace. My two biggest takeaways from this book are "Enlightened self-interest" and "Respond, not react." I kind of want to make posters of these for my office. Dan is personable and funny, but he looks at the world of self-help and meditation with the eyes of an investigative reporter, which I greatly appreciated. If you want to start your own journey of becoming at least 10% happier... well, this is a good place to start.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    When a book means a lot to me, I have a more difficult time reviewing it. I finished this memoir a week ago and have been pondering it ever since.Dan Harris is a reporter and anchorman at ABC News. Back in 2004, he had a panic attack on air while trying to read the morning headlines. He admitted to a therapist he was very stressed about his career, and that he had previously used recreational drugs. Harris decided he wanted to find some peace of mind, and being a reporter, he researched differen When a book means a lot to me, I have a more difficult time reviewing it. I finished this memoir a week ago and have been pondering it ever since.Dan Harris is a reporter and anchorman at ABC News. Back in 2004, he had a panic attack on air while trying to read the morning headlines. He admitted to a therapist he was very stressed about his career, and that he had previously used recreational drugs. Harris decided he wanted to find some peace of mind, and being a reporter, he researched different ways to get there. Coincidentally, he was assigned to cover religion for the network, and he had the opportunity to interview spiritual leaders from a variety of different faiths. On the advice of a friend, he read Eckhart Tolle's bestselling book, A New Earth, which then led him to Deepak Chopra's books, and then Harris became interested in meditation. He started his own daily meditation practice, and even attended some retreats. In the end, Harris was able to reduce his stress and estimated he had increased his happiness by at least 10 percent (clever title, by the way).This book worked for me on several levels. I spent 10 years working in news, and I enjoyed it as a memoir of the TV news industry. I understood the stress and anxiety Harris felt in his job, and how it can drain a person. The book also works as a primer to meditation, and Harris includes some good tips to anyone interested in trying to meditate. Additionally, I enjoyed the book as a spiritual journey, and was rooting for Harris to be successful in his quest to find some peace.This book is well-written, humorous and insightful, and I would highly recommend it. Favorite Quotes"It finally hit me that I had been sleepwalking through much of my life — swept along on a tide of automatic, habitual behavior. All of the things I was most ashamed of in recent years could be explained through the ego: chasing the thrill of war without contemplating the consequences, replacing the combat high with coke and ecstasy, reflexively and unfairly judging people of faith, getting carried away with anxiety about work, neglecting Bianca to tryst with my Blackberry, obsessing about my stupid hair. It was a little embarrassing to be reading a self-help writer and thinking, This guy gets me. But it was in this moment, lying in bed late at night, that I first realized that the voice in my head — the running commentary that had dominated my field of consciousness since I could remember — was kind of an asshole.""Meditation was radically altering my relationship to boredom, something I'd spent my whole life scrambling to avoid ... Now I started to see life's in-between moments — sitting at a red light, waiting for my crew to get set up for an interview — as a chance to focus on my breath, or just take in my surroundings. As soon as I began playing this game, I really noticed how much sleepwalking I did, how powerfully my mind propelled me forward or backward. Mostly, I saw the world through a scrim of skittering thoughts, which created a kind of buffer between me and reality. As one Buddhist author put it, the 'craving to be otherwise, to be elsewhere' permeated my whole life.""It struck me that the voice in my head is still, in many ways, an asshole. However, mindfulness now does a pretty good job of tying up the voice and putting duct tape over its mouth. I'm still a maniacally hard worker; I make no apologies for that. I still believe firmly that the price of security is insecurity — that a healthy amount of neuroticism is good. But I also know that widening my circle of concern beyond my own crap has made me much happier. Paradoxically, looking inward has made me more outward-facing — and a much nicer colleague, friend, and husband."
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  • Maxine
    January 1, 1970
    A fun read, albeit one that gets bogged down in too many internal monologues to make it a truly great book.Harris is a fun writer, yet I found this entire book to be strangely narcissistic. Which is ironic, as 'ego' is why he first started meditating in the first place.His interactions with Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra are, however, hilarious - and I sincerely enjoyed how skeptically he approached the entire topic. Perhaps a bit too skeptically at times - his distrust of the entire subject ha A fun read, albeit one that gets bogged down in too many internal monologues to make it a truly great book.Harris is a fun writer, yet I found this entire book to be strangely narcissistic. Which is ironic, as 'ego' is why he first started meditating in the first place.His interactions with Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra are, however, hilarious - and I sincerely enjoyed how skeptically he approached the entire topic. Perhaps a bit too skeptically at times - his distrust of the entire subject had more to do with his own discomfort, instead of true skepticism of the science behind mindfulness.There was a bit too much name dropping for me, and I found the discussions on mindfulness, mediation and Buddhism a bit cursory. Yet, an enjoyable and easy read on a very timely topic.
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  • Justin
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I watched that ol’ Minimalists documentary on Netflix, and there’s ol’ Dan Harris talking about having a panic attack on live TV. He mentions this book he wrote about being 10 percent happier, and I thought “Hell, I’d love to be 10 percent happier. Please, Dan, by all means, enlighten me.” See what I did there? Maybe not. Anyway, Danny Boy starts his book sharing insights from his career, jobs he’s held, and stories he’s covered. In fact, some of the most interesting stuff found within the Well, I watched that ol’ Minimalists documentary on Netflix, and there’s ol’ Dan Harris talking about having a panic attack on live TV. He mentions this book he wrote about being 10 percent happier, and I thought “Hell, I’d love to be 10 percent happier. Please, Dan, by all means, enlighten me.” See what I did there? Maybe not. Anyway, Danny Boy starts his book sharing insights from his career, jobs he’s held, and stories he’s covered. In fact, some of the most interesting stuff found within these pages is Harris pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being on TV and reporting the news. He jumps pretty quickly into how his panic attack came about and the rough roads he went down to try and put himself back together. It was nice to follow along with him on the journey toward meditation. Harris talks about some of the new age thinkers and writers he comes into contact with, people I’ve heard of, but this crash course was really helpful. I also loved his sense of humor throughout the whole thing as well as his skepticism. He approaches new ideas and techniques, but hits the brakes when he feels people are crazy or take things too far. What I took away from this was that meditation really helped the guy out, and he didn’t buy into everything fully and go off the deep end into a new religion. He just talked to a lot of different people and tried some very interesting, weird stuff to lead him to a place where he’s happier. He’s nicer to be around. He lives in the moment and doesn’t stress about what’s happening next. He takes care of his mind and his body. He’s landed in a good spot. I appreciate Harris not ending the book with some sort of three-step process for how to be happy. A lot of times these books can turn into some new system to try to rake in more cash, but this is more like reading his blog. There’s more than just meditation stuff here. The behind the scenes look at the news and some of his experiences were pretty fascinating. His quick synopsis of these new age thinkers is helpful as an introduction to other ways of thinking or seeing the world. All in all, this was not necessarily helpful, but it was a good story to read, and exposed me to new ideas and philosophies out there. That’s 10 percent of my thoughts on this book. See ya.
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  • Michael Palkowski
    January 1, 1970
    A news anchor memoir spliced with banal ruminations about discovering meditation and the author's experiences with the self help industry. His insights are trite, boring and at times obnoxious. He marketed the book around a standard life trope, which was an unexpected meltdown (this time on live television) which resulted in self seeking discovery. This isn't how the book is structured at all and his "meltdown" seems to have had no clear effects on him at all, especially since his "discovery" co A news anchor memoir spliced with banal ruminations about discovering meditation and the author's experiences with the self help industry. His insights are trite, boring and at times obnoxious. He marketed the book around a standard life trope, which was an unexpected meltdown (this time on live television) which resulted in self seeking discovery. This isn't how the book is structured at all and his "meltdown" seems to have had no clear effects on him at all, especially since his "discovery" comes mainly because he is assigned to cover religion as part of his job as a news anchor. Who has a meltdown, has a "self discovery" and yet retains the same life structures as before. This is called stretching the truth for marketing purposes.He rightly critiques the absurd claims made by a variety of self help gurus but seems entirely unaware that he is selling a memoir under the guise of a self help book for again marketing reasons, effectively using their tactics. Look at the subtitle!His shtick and writing style becomes tedious, especially when he pontificates on insights he has gained on religion. Despite his uprooted lifestyle as a war corespondent, he has nothing constructive or interesting to say about those experiences other than tenuously conveying his distanciation with emotion by focusing on his drug use. Is this the decent into the underworld? Or a privileged interpretation of what a difficult time would consist of? In short the book doesn't accomplish any of its set goals and anyone with a working knowledge of meditation or Buddhism will be thoroughly disappointed at his school boy appropriation and analysis of its concepts and philosophy.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    Dan Harris wanted to title this book "The voice in my head is an asshole." When I heard that line I knew I was in good hands. Harris, whose celebrity has escaped me since I don't watch much television, is the perfect blend of smart-ass skeptic and spiritual seeker. The great thing about this book (essentially a memoir) is that Harris is in perfect alignment with my own cynical view and utter fascination with the world of self-help and Buddhism. His writing is sometimes overly mocking in tone but Dan Harris wanted to title this book "The voice in my head is an asshole." When I heard that line I knew I was in good hands. Harris, whose celebrity has escaped me since I don't watch much television, is the perfect blend of smart-ass skeptic and spiritual seeker. The great thing about this book (essentially a memoir) is that Harris is in perfect alignment with my own cynical view and utter fascination with the world of self-help and Buddhism. His writing is sometimes overly mocking in tone but overall he really opens up about some remarkably personal stuff. To sum it up...I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to quiet their "monkey mind" and learn from sincere and unaffected teachers.
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  • Rebecca McNutt
    January 1, 1970
    I've never really gone in for the self-help genre much, but Dan Harris' writing is incredibly genuine and this book is as much a personal memoir as it is inspirational. Harris as an anchorman made headlines himself after having a panic attack live, and decided it was time to overcome not only the stress of his career, but also the stigma of having a bad day as a professional. With a positive and often humorous outlook, his book is a strong reminder of why it's important to not let the little thi I've never really gone in for the self-help genre much, but Dan Harris' writing is incredibly genuine and this book is as much a personal memoir as it is inspirational. Harris as an anchorman made headlines himself after having a panic attack live, and decided it was time to overcome not only the stress of his career, but also the stigma of having a bad day as a professional. With a positive and often humorous outlook, his book is a strong reminder of why it's important to not let the little things in life matter so much.
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  • Perry
    January 1, 1970
    Don't You Know You've Gotta Shock the Monkey! Step Back, Then Move Forward with More FocusI need to re-commit to the concepts of meditation and mindfulness. My "monkey mind" has returned. "Monkey mind" is the term Dan Harris and some others in the field use to describe in himself and his fellow Type A's (as I am), the crazy internal dialogue that no one but you could ever follow, in which your mind swings from one unrelated branch of thought to another, preventing you from fully honing in on an Don't You Know You've Gotta Shock the Monkey! Step Back, Then Move Forward with More FocusI need to re-commit to the concepts of meditation and mindfulness. My "monkey mind" has returned. "Monkey mind" is the term Dan Harris and some others in the field use to describe in himself and his fellow Type A's (as I am), the crazy internal dialogue that no one but you could ever follow, in which your mind swings from one unrelated branch of thought to another, preventing you from fully honing in on any one thing and taking enjoyment out of present moments as each comes, since your thoughts always roam in the past or travel to the future. The author Dan Harris is the anchor for the U.S. network ABC's Nightline and an ABC News correspondent. He has a good personality and personable writing style. Now, what was I saying?O yeah. If you've never used meditation and the principles behind it for self-awareness, I really recommend this book to you and to me. Doing a few simple things during a day, as suggested herein, can make a significant change in your thought processing and lead to better focus on key decisions and in that way positively impact your future. Overall, I agree with Harris' assessment: when I've used meditation and its principles, I could quantify it as feeling generally 10% happier, definitely less stressed. The problem for me, as usual, is keeping with the gameplan. I'm glad this popped up again on my radar so I can re-commit myself to mindfulness.
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  • da AL
    January 1, 1970
    He does a great job of demystifying meditation. In an enjoyable way he recounts his own experiences, from skepticism to belief in, & explains what he's learned from others along the way.
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    Dan Harris is a television journalist and news-anchor for the ABC network. He currently is the co-anchor of the Nightline show and the weekend edition of Good Morning America. He has gone into numerous war zones around the world, bringing back incredible stories from the front. He found this type of reporting to be thrilling, and often brought on an emotional "high". When he came back home, however, he found the need to self-medicate, with cocaine or other drugs. At one point in his career he ex Dan Harris is a television journalist and news-anchor for the ABC network. He currently is the co-anchor of the Nightline show and the weekend edition of Good Morning America. He has gone into numerous war zones around the world, bringing back incredible stories from the front. He found this type of reporting to be thrilling, and often brought on an emotional "high". When he came back home, however, he found the need to self-medicate, with cocaine or other drugs. At one point in his career he experienced a panic attack while on national television. which triggered his quest for reducing his stress.Harris was given the assignment to cover stories related to religion and faith. So, he used these opportunities to look for techniques that could help himself. He realized that he needed to reduce his stress, without, as he says, "losing my edge." He found some use for the things he learned from Eckhart Tolle and from Deepak Chopra. But it wasn't until he found meditation, that he realized that this was the magic technique that worked for him. Harris even went to a ten-day silent meditation retreat. Most of his time there was pure torture. But for a day or two, he experience the highest high of his life.This isn't really a self-help book. The book describes Harris' journey through his journalist and television news career, and the enlightenment that he gradually attained. It was fascinating, fun, entertaining, and I recommend it to everyone.I didn't read this book; I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Dan Harris. While his narration is excellent, the audio quality is not. It is obvious that the volume level was saturated, giving rise to distorted sound. Harper Audio should be ashamed of its audio engineering department. If it weren't for this audio defect, I would have rated the book 5 stars.
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the title and combined with the positive GR ratings, I picked this one up. As one of my GR friends said, this came across more like an autobiography than self-help, which I really liked. During the first part when he is talking about his journalistic travels in the Middle East, I wondered what that had to do with being 10% happier. But he tied it all together.I liked his humor. He had a nice balance of honesty and self-deprecating humor. I really felt happy for him when he got a girlfrie I liked the title and combined with the positive GR ratings, I picked this one up. As one of my GR friends said, this came across more like an autobiography than self-help, which I really liked. During the first part when he is talking about his journalistic travels in the Middle East, I wondered what that had to do with being 10% happier. But he tied it all together.I liked his humor. He had a nice balance of honesty and self-deprecating humor. I really felt happy for him when he got a girlfriend. It also would have been easy for him to hide his drug addictions and even his depression, but I liked that he told his story without making it all sound highly dramatized. I read a lot of autobiographies and what stood out with this one, is that the events he chose to include were just that...it wasn't a story about them, but about him. Sometimes that is a fine line that gets lost in this genre, but I didn't feel that for this one.
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  • Paul O'Neill
    January 1, 1970
    Surprisingly good read and not what I was expecting. Recommended for anyone curious about meditation and mindfulness. Harris does a great job of breaking down all the fluffy and ‘hippy’ terminology that usually get associated with meditation. He also brings the benefits to life by showing how it helped him. A very honest account and nicely told.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    A Meditation Book Designed For A True Skeptic. This is the first book that I've read on meditation that approached meditation through a severely skeptical eye. Dan Harris has asked all the questions you would have thought to ask and gets all the answers for you. This is also the first book that I've read on meditation that was approached from a journalists point of view. Using Dan's connections he has managed to interview and talk to most of the meditation community you wish you could talk to. F A Meditation Book Designed For A True Skeptic. This is the first book that I've read on meditation that approached meditation through a severely skeptical eye. Dan Harris has asked all the questions you would have thought to ask and gets all the answers for you. This is also the first book that I've read on meditation that was approached from a journalists point of view. Using Dan's connections he has managed to interview and talk to most of the meditation community you wish you could talk to. For these two reasons I strongly recommended reading this book if you are considering Meditation or if you are an experienced veteran and anyone in between! If Dan Harris ends up writing another book I will definitely be interested in reading it. He has a very fluid, humorous and honest writing style. Dan gets bonus points for originally wanting to name the book: "The Voice In My Head Is An Asshole."Thank you for reading my review! As a bonus here are a few status updates I wrote while reading the book:"Dan Harris takes a big dump on self help gurus for a couple chapters. I went through the same process as Dan, being suckered into buying those books only to realize they were based on no real substance other then made up words and empty promises. Then when it doesn't work the explanation you get is that it's your own fault because you don't believe hard enough in whatever confusing theory they're selling you.""Dan Harris is just as big a skeptic as I am about religion and self help gurus apparently. Unless at some point in this book he's going to tell me he became enlightened. Haha.""Wow! Who knew Dan Harris partied so hard? I wouldn't have guessed."
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  • Anthony Cospito
    January 1, 1970
    New title suggestion: "90% egotistical"
  • J. Schmidt
    January 1, 1970
    Very disappointing! All fluff, no substance!First I have to admit, I am not a US citizen and I had never heard of Dan Harris before. I realized reading some of the reviews here, he is somewhat of a celebrity in the states, which may explain why so many people found his anecdotes fun and interesting. In my opinion they were largely boring. I read it because I was hoping for some more insights on the topic of happiness and meditation, but this was certainly one of the most shallow books on this to Very disappointing! All fluff, no substance!First I have to admit, I am not a US citizen and I had never heard of Dan Harris before. I realized reading some of the reviews here, he is somewhat of a celebrity in the states, which may explain why so many people found his anecdotes fun and interesting. In my opinion they were largely boring. I read it because I was hoping for some more insights on the topic of happiness and meditation, but this was certainly one of the most shallow books on this topic. If you see me reading list so far, you may agree that Dan Harris' book adds nothing new.
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  • Mat
    January 1, 1970
    Great, down-to-earth "regular guy's" introduction to meditation. Also, a quick, fun read. For me, the book came into my life at a unique time. I'm a Stage IV melanoma patient. I've been meaning to enroll myself in a MBSR program (ala Kabat-Zinn) as I know meditation is an important tool. Reading Dan's book sealed it for me. I've enrolled in a program and, in preparation, have been practicing for 10 minutes/day using one of Kabat-Zinn's CD programs. Thanks Dan.
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  • Katherine Esposito
    January 1, 1970
    Ive read countless books on anxiety looking for some new takes on self help and reassurance that I'm not alone with this illness. I couldn't get past the first 3 pages of this book. When I realized this was a famous news anchor I immediately looked up his infamous panic attack on YouTube and felt insulted. If that what is considered a panic attack then what is happening to me? He hardly misses a beat on the air and was admittedly doing a lot of drugs at the time. I may try to pick it up again bu Ive read countless books on anxiety looking for some new takes on self help and reassurance that I'm not alone with this illness. I couldn't get past the first 3 pages of this book. When I realized this was a famous news anchor I immediately looked up his infamous panic attack on YouTube and felt insulted. If that what is considered a panic attack then what is happening to me? He hardly misses a beat on the air and was admittedly doing a lot of drugs at the time. I may try to pick it up again but felt deeply disappointed after reading such strong reviews.
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  • Tania
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. I loved everything about this. I'm not into self-help at all, so Dan's critical and questioning attitude worked really well in convincing a sceptic like me. I have even started meditating on a daily basis. His sense of humour is brilliant, and I can't remember when last I laughed so much while reading. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys A.J. Jacobs writing.The Story: After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some 4.5 stars. I loved everything about this. I'm not into self-help at all, so Dan's critical and questioning attitude worked really well in convincing a sceptic like me. I have even started meditating on a daily basis. His sense of humour is brilliant, and I can't remember when last I laughed so much while reading. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys A.J. Jacobs writing.The Story: After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong non-believer, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists.
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  • Casey
    January 1, 1970
    This book was far, far better than I expected. Actually, I’m not sure what I expected: the title, 10% Happier, suggested to me something akin to Gretchen Rubin’s somewhat inane Happiness Project, which I didn’t care for. Turns out, the original title for 10% Happier was “The Voice in My Head is an Asshole,” which is both far more amusing and a better description of the actual content of the book. Still, though, it doesn’t convey the fact that the book is really a memoir of Dan Harris's life in b This book was far, far better than I expected. Actually, I’m not sure what I expected: the title, 10% Happier, suggested to me something akin to Gretchen Rubin’s somewhat inane Happiness Project, which I didn’t care for. Turns out, the original title for 10% Happier was “The Voice in My Head is an Asshole,” which is both far more amusing and a better description of the actual content of the book. Still, though, it doesn’t convey the fact that the book is really a memoir of Dan Harris's life in broadcast news, of trying to replace the high of war correspondence with cocaine, and of attempting to be happier through meditation. The happier through meditation thing is tough for Harris, though, because he finds it easy to jump to conclusions about soft-spoken hippies named Spring who exhort everyone to love all living beings.I’ve already bought into meditation, hippies named Spring or no, but I haven’t really been able to incorporate it into my life as much as I’d like. I started practicing through yoga, and enjoyed the peace of mind I got at the end of every yoga class. Incorporating this into life, though, was hard. I was lucky enough to go to graduate school in department that had a number of people examining meditation from a cognitive neuroscience point of view, so I also didn’t need to be convinced of the science. That didn’t mean I had started a serious meditation practice, but at the very least it had wormed its way onto the long list of things I knew I should be doing.Harris’s description of the sheer difficulty involved in meditation is spot on. When left to its own devices, my brain seems to bounce between random thoughts (I wonder what the demographics of Antananarivo are like), productive-sounding distraction (it would be a wonderful idea to learn all of the most important viticultural areas in Germany right now, let’s do that, maybe Austria too!!!) and unfounded worry (I can’t believe I still haven’t responded to that email, I’m a terrible person and I’m going to ruin my career and my life, and I won’t even be able to afford to live in the Bay Area anymore so I’m going to have to move to somewhere terrible like Kentucky or New Mexico or at the very least Southern California and I’ll never have a job again and probably In-n-Out wouldn’t even take me as a line cook because they’re all religious and stuff). I recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in self-improvement, but who doesn’t want to hear woo-woo crap about cosmic synchronicity. Although I listened to the well-produced audiobook, I’m planning on buying myself a physical copy to use as reference!
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  • Wiebke (1book1review)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a clear case of: the right book at the right time for me.As a sceptic towards meditation and such practices who finds herself in an unusual state of unhappy this sounded like something I should try.And I was right. I liked the approach of how he first wrote about his life and introduced himself to people like me (who have never heard his name before). I also really enjoyed the journalistic approach to the whole business of meditation and self-help machinery and his own experiences with t This is a clear case of: the right book at the right time for me.As a sceptic towards meditation and such practices who finds herself in an unusual state of unhappy this sounded like something I should try.And I was right. I liked the approach of how he first wrote about his life and introduced himself to people like me (who have never heard his name before). I also really enjoyed the journalistic approach to the whole business of meditation and self-help machinery and his own experiences with this.But the most important part for me was that I realized the state he was striving to reach was what I have lost.So of course now my problem isn't fixed, but it convinced me to look more into meditation and see if it can help me get back into a more happy me.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    As an avowed atheist and skeptic, I’ve always considered meditation to be in the same supernatural ballpark as god, psychics, crystals and divining rods. But then I recalled that one of my heroes, neuroscientist and atheist, Sam Harris (who, much to my pleasure, makes a cameo in this book), is a practitioner of mediation. So I decided to give this book by Dan Harris (no relation) a listen. And I am very happy I did!Harris takes us on a journey of self-discovery into the world of broadcast news, As an avowed atheist and skeptic, I’ve always considered meditation to be in the same supernatural ballpark as god, psychics, crystals and divining rods. But then I recalled that one of my heroes, neuroscientist and atheist, Sam Harris (who, much to my pleasure, makes a cameo in this book), is a practitioner of mediation. So I decided to give this book by Dan Harris (no relation) a listen. And I am very happy I did!Harris takes us on a journey of self-discovery into the world of broadcast news, self-help gurus, war torn regions and a retreat full of earthy-crunchy people looking for enlightenment. He strips away the “woo-woo” in order to demystify the practice of meditation whose benefits are backed up by Harvard researchers. With a dry wit that had me laughing out loud (thus making me look like a maniac on my drive to work), he pretty much accomplishes what he sets out to do.My only complaint is that except for one portion in the book where he describes the breathing process of mediation, I’m not really sure how to go about deepening my understanding of just how to do this thing. I think I’ll tweet him and ask for book recommendations. I would guess it would be from some of the authors he mentioned in his own book. No, not talking about you, Deepak!Now to do what I never do…I’m going to give the book a SECOND listen…. it’s THAT enjoyable and dare I say…enlightening?UPDATE: I tweeted with Dan Harris who informed me that the "how to" section is only available in print form. However, he directed me to this "how to" link that he posted: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/step-bra...Regardless, I will happily buy the hard copy version as well!
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  • Furrawn
    January 1, 1970
    Surprisingly awesome. My friend Susan told me to read this. I was a bit shocked as she seemed the last person to suggest meditation. Since it happened a week after my attendance of the OUAT con where Lana Parrilla mentioned how meditation was important to her happiness which surprised me at the time, I felt like the universe was smacking me with a WAKE UP AND MEDITATE call.This book is awesome sauce on multiple levels. It was fun reading about the experience of a a news person writing stories, e Surprisingly awesome. My friend Susan told me to read this. I was a bit shocked as she seemed the last person to suggest meditation. Since it happened a week after my attendance of the OUAT con where Lana Parrilla mentioned how meditation was important to her happiness which surprised me at the time, I felt like the universe was smacking me with a WAKE UP AND MEDITATE call.This book is awesome sauce on multiple levels. It was fun reading about the experience of a a news person writing stories, exploring the world, and rising the ranks.Dan was resistant to the idea of mediation etc which made me feel better. I'm NOT resistant to the idea of mediation but some of the language seems deliberately off-putting. Harris made me willing to take a step back.I do still maintain the insistence on wincing at phrases like "transformation vortex of the infinite." I'm curious. I was impressed by Dan's honesty. He does seem a bit of an @sshole sometimes which makes the whole book more refreshing and funny. He's a good guy. He's real. I'll be reading the Epstein book next.... after the 5th Louise Penny book for some joy.
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  • Rebecca Foster
    January 1, 1970
    “The Voice in My Head Is an Asshole” is what Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America, initially wanted to title this beginner’s guide to meditation. Instead, he’s named it after the following conclusion: “In my experience, meditation makes you 10% happier.” That might not sound totally life-changing, he admits, but it’s nonetheless a pretty good return on a fairly minimal investment of time and energy.He first investigated Buddhist meditation in 2008, w “The Voice in My Head Is an Asshole” is what Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America, initially wanted to title this beginner’s guide to meditation. Instead, he’s named it after the following conclusion: “In my experience, meditation makes you 10% happier.” That might not sound totally life-changing, he admits, but it’s nonetheless a pretty good return on a fairly minimal investment of time and energy.He first investigated Buddhist meditation in 2008, when prescription drug abuse and panic attacks crescendoed into a full-blown meltdown when he was first a fill-in presenter on Good Morning America. Harris realized he’d been living mindlessly for years; ever since he started at ABC news straight out of college, he’d been focusing on promotion and taking his orders from Peter Jennings. Journalistic experience of religion – spending time at Ted Haggard’s church and getting the first exclusive interview with him after the gay sex scandal broke – hadn’t given him the best impression. More helpful were the mystical, New Agey texts he encountered: Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and The Secret. He also was relieved, during an interview with the Dalai Lama, to learn that there might be selfish reasons behind compassion – ultimately, it makes you feel good – and that that’s ok.As he learned more about Buddhism, meeting with a Buddhist shrink, Mark Epstein (who he calls a “Jew-Bu”), and practicing mindfulness, he decided it offered a noticeably better way to live his life. Rather than being consumed by boredom, he considered any downtime a chance to breathe deeply and focus his mind; he could also take professional rejection in his stride.The diary of a ten-day mindfulness retreat he took is probably the highlight of the book, along with the appendix of information on meditation plus some witty FAQs. In general I thought his conclusions are a bit shallow (basically, don’t be a jerk; and figure out how, as T.S. Eliot wrote, “to care and not to care”), and the whole idea of quantifying a life change seems a mite distasteful. However, for someone looking for a lighthearted introduction to meditation, this should be an enjoyable read.
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  • Sonja Arlow
    January 1, 1970
    I think fans of self-help books should give this one a miss – it will just piss you off when the author makes fun of Deepak Chopra.More memoir than self-help, this made me laugh at many unexpected times. Dan’s retelling of his first attempt at meditation and his stay at the retreat reminded me of A J Jacobs books – self-deprecating and very very funny.I have tried once before to read about meditation and found it informative enough to want to give Eckhart Tolle a try as everyone seems to rave ab I think fans of self-help books should give this one a miss – it will just piss you off when the author makes fun of Deepak Chopra.More memoir than self-help, this made me laugh at many unexpected times. Dan’s retelling of his first attempt at meditation and his stay at the retreat reminded me of A J Jacobs books – self-deprecating and very very funny.I have tried once before to read about meditation and found it informative enough to want to give Eckhart Tolle a try as everyone seems to rave about this uber enlightened man. I downloaded the audio book and started listening only to fall asleep in the Prologue, the PROLOGUE! Clearly that was not for me.This is not a book about spirituality or meditation per se but rather captures the experience of one man trying hard to find himself. If along the way it peaks your interest in meditation then that’s also good.I highly recommend this as an interesting and funny memoir.
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