5 Great Books on Happiness

Aug 15, 11 5 Great Books on Happiness

Posted by in Books, Featured, Psychology, Videos

Summer is usually a quieter time, that most of us spend recharging our batteries. It can also be a time for introspection and reading “for the soul”. That’s why I’m happy to recommend 5 great books on happiness, perfect for summer reading and full of ideas to keep us “charged” for the rest of the year. 1. Gretchen Rubin – “The Happiness Project” This is definitely the greatest book I’ve read this summer. It’s a funny and authentic tale of Gretchen Rubin’s year-long quest for happiness – a year in which she tested the most famous studies and theories on the subject. You’ll definitely identify with many of Rubin’s stories and examples and get the tools to start your own happiness project. This book will likely give you some great ideas on how to increase happiness in your own life. Here is Gretchen’s Happiness Project story in her own words: 2. Martin Seligman‘s – “Flourish“ This is the follow up to the famous “Authentic Happiness”. Seligman, the father of positive psychology, updates and refines his theory on human happiness, renaming it, more appropriately – human well-being or flourishing. It’s probably the best scientific account of what makes life worth living. I really appreciate Seligman’s scientific rigor – I think it makes his conclusions even more worthwhile – the instruments of positive psychology are proven, beyond doubt, to improve human well-being – and they have now been applied in schools, in the workplace and even in the army, with remarkable results! I highly recommend this book to all who are looking for a scientifically validated perspective on maximizing human potential. Here is a video of Seligman, detailing the book’s key concepts: 3. Jonathan Haidt – “The Happiness Hypothesis“ This is perhaps one of the best books on happiness that you could find! Haidt, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, tests 10 great ancient ideas about happiness that he questions in the light of the latest scientific research. The book takes the reader...

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Is There a Science of Happiness?

Jul 01, 11 Is There a Science of Happiness?

Posted by in Books, Featured, Psychology, Videos

For a very long time, psychology, the branch of science which was supposed to be concerned with human behavior and mental processes, had a surprisingly narrow focus – researching only human misery and mental illness. All efforts were concentrated on understanding and alleviating mental disorders, and this in turn led to a whole revolution in pharmacology (with unimaginable profits for drug companies). For decades, countless drugs were developed to aid psychotherapy in its battle with disorders ranging from depression to much more debilitating conditions, such as schizophrenia. All this changed some 13 years ago, when Martin Seligman became the President of the American Psychological Association. Seligman, a psychologist who had devoted his career to subjects such as “learned helplessness”  took a sharp turn in focus. He realized that the human condition might benefit much more if psychology started researching what makes people happy, what makes up the good life, the accomplished life, the meaningful life that, ultimately, all humans were striving toward. Seligman’s monumental insight was that researching human suffering and alleviating it was far from equal with increasing human wellbeing. Less pain did not mean more joy. So where did joy come from? This is the question that Marty Seligman has been striving to find an answer to for the past decade. His quest has led to a whole new science of happiness, a new branch of psychology – Positive Psychology, a wave of research done in schools, communities and in the workplace. He documented his journey in two books – “Authentic Happiness”, published 10 years ago and, recently, this year, “Flourishing”. In his latest book he takes the science of happiness one step further and arguments that a fulfilling life is about more than happiness – it’s about well-being. He identifies the elements of well-being and supports with solid scientific evidence the ingredients that lead to human flourishing. Here is a speech held at Google Zeitgeist, where he reveals his latest findings. I hope you enjoy it and I’m looking forward to...

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Do You Have a Job, a Career or a Vocation? Or…Science’s Lessons for Putting “Meaning” Into “Work”

Feb 14, 11 Do You Have a Job, a Career or a Vocation? Or…Science’s Lessons for Putting “Meaning” Into “Work”

Posted by in Books, Psychology

Alexandra works in an office every day, from Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. Her first and foremost motivation is to earn enough money to be able to “live” after work – she uses her income to finance her hobby, painting, and to afford small joys – like going out with her friends, short weekend trips to the mountains and, once a year, a holiday abroad. If money were not a problem, she’d change jobs in an instant and do something different. To her, work is a necessity of life, like eating or sleeping, only less pleasant. She feels as if she pays a daily 8 hour fee in exchange for freedom after 5 pm. Alex is happiest on Fridays because the weekend is coming, and hates almost nothing more than the sound of the alarm clock on Monday mornings, announcing the beginning of another week. Diana enjoys her work, but doesn’t expect to do the same job a few years from now. Then she will definitely be higher up the corporate ladder, in a better paid position. She has clear objectives for her future and knows exactly what her next professional step will be. Even though sometimes her day to day work feels like a waste of time, the hope for promotion keeps her going. To her, being promoted is the ultimate recognition of her value and victory over the colleagues with whom she is competing. For Anna, work is a natural part of life. In fact, if you asked her, she’d tell you she’s not working, but is lucky enough to be paid for doing what she likes best. To her, there is no clear separation between work and leisure – the two make up a harmonious whole – and many of her friends are also colleagues at work. She would never conceive changing her profession, because it represents her and she honestly believes that what she does for a living actually has meaning and makes the world a better place. So…which...

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