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Nonfiction Review: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Title: The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life
Author: Shawn Achor
Year published: 2010
Category: Adult nonfiction
Pages: 256 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (MA)

Summary Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that once we succeed, we’ll be happy; that once we get that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But the science reveals this formula to be backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.
Research shows that happy employees are more productive, more creative, and better problem solvers than their unhappy peers. And positive people are significantly healthier and less stressed and enjoy deeper social interaction than the less positive people around them.
Drawing on original research—including one of the largest studies of happiness ever conducted—and work in boardrooms and classrooms across forty-two countries, Shawn Achor shows us how to rewire our brains for positivity and optimism to reap the happiness advantage in our lives, our careers, and even our health. His strategies include:
• The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility so we can see and seize opportunities all around us
• Social Investment: how to earn the dividends of a strong social support network
• The Ripple Effect: how to spread positive change within our teams, companies, and families

Review: My new boss, Chris, brought his copy of this book by my house a few weeks ago and suggested I read it since the ideas behind his app were inspired by this book. I said I could buy my own copy, but he said to just read his. I am so glad as I get to read his annotations and see what he found relevant. And, the author's mentor (the Happiness professor at Harvard, Tal Ben-Shahar) is also working with my former clients who have created The Happiness Studies Academy. It's all connected.

My initial thoughts as I read the introduction and beginning of the book were: finally! Someone is talking about how important it is to know how to be happy. That you aren't happy because you accomplish something, but rather you accomplish things because you are happy. It's so interesting to me that his work was done on Harvard students who have so much pressure on them to "succeed" and the fact that people who are under such pressure don't actually take the time to appreciate and just "be."
I took weeks to read this book and am glad I took my time. I'd read one of the happiness principals, walk around with it for a while then move on to the next. I like that the ideas are backed up with studies and statistics and a little bit of lay-person neuroscience.

I've really started to notice my attitude and those of people around me (both strangers and friends) and how we are on a happiness spectrum, how it affects my approach to life, etc. Am I getting it right all the time, heck no. But, I am paying attention and making an effort so that's a good start.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Nonfiction--Health

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