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The Happiness Hypothesis Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt - Excelent Book

The Happiness Hypothesis Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt - Excelent Book

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Published by: kellyi889 on Dec 23, 2011
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The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt

First Class Survey Of The Field

In his widely praised book, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines the worlds philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science, showing how a deeper understanding of enduring maxims-like Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, or What doesnt kill you makes you stronger-can enrich and even transform our lives. Features: This is the ONLY book I have read twice (and will definitely read again). Why? Because everything in it is so interesting, practical and useful. Not only that, the writing is top-notch. (I mean look at the reviews - as of my writing this - there is not one single 0 star review. I haven't seen any book on Amazon with that kind of record.) Haidt begins with this excellent metaphor, "Modern theories about rational choice and information processing don't adequately explain weakness of the will. The older metaphors about controlling animals work beautifully. The image that I came up with for myself, as I marveled at my weakness, was that I was a rider on the back of an elephant. I'm holding the reins in my hands, and by pulling one way or the other I can tell th e elephant to turn, to stop, or to go. I can direct things, but only when the elephant doesn't have desires of his own. When the elephant really wants to do something, I'm no match for him." From here Haidt goes on to talk about the Divided Self: Mind vs. Body, Left vs. Right, New vs. Old and Controlled vs. Automatic. This is as good an introduction to psychology as I have ever come upon. Haidt concludes with this, "If you listen closely to moral arguments, you can sometimes hear something surprising: that it is really the elephant holding the reins, guiding the rider. It is the elephant who decides what is good or bad, beautiful or ugly. Gut feelings, intuitions, and snap judgments happen constantly and automatically...but only the rider can string sentences together and create arguments to give to other people." Just further along in the book Haidt discusses some very interesting concepts: naive realism, problem of evil, dualism, monism, Manichaeanism, and the myth of pure evil amongst others. All of this sets up the discussions on Happiness that comes starting in about Chapter 5.

The remainder of the book includes a lot of information that comes from the research of Marting Seligman (author of Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Reali ze Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life & The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and BuildLifelong Resilience). It's a great fusion of wisdom, research and ideas. I can't recommend this book enough; it's invariably the first book I recommend to people. "To understand ourselves fully we must study all three levels - physical, psychological, and sociocultural...Here is one of the most profound ideas to come from the ongoing synthesis: People gain a sense of meaning when their lives cohere across the three levels of their existence." I am recommending the following books because they are similar to The Happiness Hypothesis in many ways and you may like them if y ou liked this: Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, The Mind of the Market: How Biology and Psychology Shape Our Economic Lives (or any book by Micheal Shermer), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (or any book by Malcolm Gladwell), Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (P.S.), Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious or How W e Decide.

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