In 1998, the field of positive psychology was essentially born. The research and science answers questions like “What makes people happy? Does resilience matter, and how can you approach setbacks and crises in a way that encourages your growth and helps you find solutions? Are successful people happy? Or are happy people more successful?”
Because this field is relatively new, most of our current social, business, and education systems don’t teach us how to have the Happiness Advantage. But Shawn Achor brings us years of experience and wisdom from working with companies around the globe, with students, and with community organizations that show us that we really can train our brains to have happier, more fulfilling lives. Told with lively stories and lots of wit and humor in clear and easy-to-understand advice, this book will open your eyes into how to think differently and show up in the world in a new way to get more satisfaction and success out of anything you do.
We are raised in our current culture to believe that if you are successful, then happiness will follow. If you work hard to get the coveted position on the sales team that 400 other people are competing for, then you’ll be happy. If you study hard in school, ace your exams, get into college and get a business degree, then you’ll be happy.
This is the relationship between success and happiness that we have been taught in our homes, our schools, our communities, and our workplace. If you are successful, the happiness will come after the success.
But it’s the other way around. After more than a decade of indisputable research in the field of positive psychology and neuroscience, we now know this:
The most successful people are happy first.
The more optimistic you are, the more you have a growth mindset, the more you see possibilities instead of roadblocks, the more you develop gratitude in your life . . . the better chance you have at becoming successful.
This book was written in 2010—nearly a decade ago—but the evidence, the applications, and the advice is just as helpful today as it was 10 years earlier. In fact, I believe that the information given in this book is even more critical not only to our happiness today, but maybe even to our health and existence. With the rates of depression and anxiety soaring to all-time highs and with loneliness, lack of fulfillment, and disconnection continuing to increase, the formula for happiness and the exploration of the teachings of positive psychology are even more critical.
Whether you are looking to have a better outlook on life in general, manage and lead your team at work more efficiently and with better financial returns, raise kids who are well-adjusted, or have a closer, more satisfying relationship with your partner, this book is for you.
Why go through life wondering, “Is this as good as it’s ever going to get?” when modern science has given us the tools and cracked the code on how to live a better life starting today? I encourage all my readers to grab this one and devour its pages. Start living the life that brings you more satisfaction. You’ll be glad that you did.
What You’ll Learn
The seven principles:
- The Happiness Advantage
- The Fulcrum and the Lever
- The Tetris Effect
- Falling Up
- The Zorro Circle
- The 20-Second Rule
- Social Investment
Here’s the coolest thing about this book: you won’t just get principles that are just there to educate you on the facts and research. You’ll get actionable plans and tools on how to have the Happiness Advantage. How many times have you read a book (especially in business and personal growth genres) that informs you but doesn’t give a recipe for lasting change in your life?
Well stop scrolling and go buy this book, my friend.
Want to incorporate a new habit to learn a new skill, lose weight, or break an old pattern? It’s in the book. Check out the 20 Second Rule.
Want to learn how to take what feels like an overwhelming and gargantuan project and break it down into small “circles” of manageable tasks? Read the chapter on the Zorro Circle on how to declutter your Inbox, your space, or how to master a really tough goal or skill.
Are you really struggling with your mindset or how you see the world? Or maybe the mindset of those around you? Then check out the chapter on The Fulcrum and the Lever or the one on The Tetris Effect.
I would highly recommend taking notes and writing up an action plan for incorporating the principles of positive psychology into your life. Pick one thing to start such as the desire to move to a growth mindset or to learn a new foreign language. Start with just one action item, and then pick a principle or principles that will help you achieve your goal. If you apply the principles and stick with it for at least 30 days, I’ll bet that you’ll see some results!
For even more in-depth learning, the reference section in this book is chockfull of books and articles if you want to take a deep dive into the fields of positive psych, organizational behavior, or human behavior.
About the Author
Shawn Achor spent years at Harvard studying human behavior & positive psychology, his TED talk is one of the most popular ever, and he has lectured and consulted in dozens of countries with major billion dollar companies on happiness in the workplace. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, and on CNN and NPR. Shawn is unquestionably one of the most knowledgeable experts on how to get more out of life, prosper, have the right mindset, and love the journey along the way.
I have to mention that Shawn is a fellow Texan (all hail to my fave Texan authors and experts), and that he grew up in Waco, Texas. He has that straightforward, no nonsense style of writing and delivery that is so characteristic of the Texans I know and love, which makes his work highly readable and easy to digest and understand. Achor captures your attention with his wit and humor as well, which, I have to say, left me hoping that I get to see him speak live on stage someday just so I can see his expressions as he delivers his one-liners. But better yet, he’s the kind of guy you just want to sit down over a cup of coffee with and riff endlessly about his take on human nature and all things related to joy, fulfillment, and a good life. As scholarly and highly educated as he is, Shawn comes off as relatable, likeable, and deeply compassionate about humans and helping us all live better, longer, and happier.