All-rounded day-course syllabus in happiness—with homework!
192 estimated pages, ★★★★★
The Power of Happiness is excellent value. For $5, I got an ebook, a 32-page PDF workbook, and a series of timely email updates from the author. Compare this $5 ebook package to a day-long coaching seminar, which could set you back $200 or more and cover about the same amount of material (with refreshments included). If you motivate yourself to do the assignments at home (and make your own tea), you could feel a lot of the same benefits (clarity, positive thoughts, direction, knowledge and laughter) for a fraction of the price of a coaching seminar. The Power of Happiness is more than just an ebook—it’s an entire syllabus on happiness.
The PDF workbook asks you to complete ten assignments, such as an eight-point “happiness wheel”, and a list of 99 things that make you happy (very difficult). It also gives you CBT-style exercises based both on your own life and on realistic fictional examples. This book discusses happiness from so many different angles that most readers will not only find comfort in re-reading familiar disciplines, but also discover new slants on happiness, which interested readers can then explore through the abundant references.
The Power of Happiness combines a wealth of research from Buddhism, neurobiology, scientific studies, and self-help guides into a resource-rich home-study syllabus. My most memorable lesson is that happiness is an inside job—that happiness depends on your internal well-being, not on your external circumstances. This lesson is Buddhist by coincidence. The Dalai Lama is quoted in this book as saying, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions”. The Power of Happiness explains how transient pleasures such as money, food, and job titles are incapable of making us happy because lasting happiness cannot come from things that can be taken away.
Another ‘Buddhist-by-coincidence’ lesson was the five types of thinking that make you unhappy: Attachment to Things, Expectations of Others, Expectations of Yourself, Attachment to a Different Time, The Idea that Things Should Be Different Than They Are. Much of this has also been confirmed by neurobiological studies.
This book is not aimed at treating depression. This book is aimed at elevating the majority of us, who are somewhere between ‘happy’ and ‘unhappy’, further up towards ‘happy’. If you fit into this category (and I certainly do), then you’ll find this happiness syllabus well worth your time. Study it diligently, do all the exercises, and you’ll feel lifted. Great value for $5. ★★★★★