Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment - Tal Ben-Shahar When a friend told me she was taking a university course on "Happiness" I immediately thought it was a fascinating idea. This book was one of the texts and is written by the instructor of a similar class at Harvard. Unfortunately, I can't really take a book as a serious examination of psychology when the author spouts out catch-phrases like "the hamburger model" and "the lasagna principle". In truth, though, there's only one catchphrase that threads itself through the length of the book and that is the idea of happiness as "the ultimate currency". I do like this comparison on some levels. The word "currency" comes from "current", denoting "flow", which strengthens the idea that happiness is a state of being, rather than a goal to be accomplished and then never dealt with again. The downside is that "currency" in our society always seems to connote money, which implies that happiness can be hoarded and spent in similar ways. In the chapter on relationships, Ben-Sharar focuses almost exclusively on romantic relationships, with only a throwaway phrase or two that some of the principles apply to friendships as well. This would be less annoying if he didn't elsewhere imply that all who are not in a romantic relationship must be searching for one. Lastly, the annotations in this book concern me. For instance, despite already being attributed in-line, literary quotes are given a notation, whereas statistics are blithely quoted with no attribution whatsoever. While I understand that this is a book for the general reading public, I do find it concerning when the author only cites select sources, then (purposefully or not) pads the notes section to make it look more substantial. While Ben-Sharar does bring up some interesting points, I found myself too annoyed by the rest of the book to really enjoy them.