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The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
 
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The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom [Format Kindle]

Jonathan Haidt
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, lamented St. Paul, and this engrossing scientific interpretation of traditional lore backs him up with hard data. Citing Plato, Buddha and modern brain science, psychologist Haidt notes the mind is like an "elephant" of automatic desires and impulses atop which conscious intention is an ineffectual "rider." Haidt sifts Eastern and Western religious and philosophical traditions for other nuggets of wisdom to substantiate—and sometimes critique—with the findings of neurology and cognitive psychology. The Buddhist-Stoic injunction to cast off worldly attachments in pursuit of happiness, for example, is backed up by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's studies into pleasure. And Nietzsche's contention that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger is considered against research into post-traumatic growth. An exponent of the "positive psychology" movement, Haidt also offers practical advice on finding happiness and meaning. Riches don't matter much, he observes, but close relationships, quiet surroundings and short commutes help a lot, while meditation, cognitive psychotherapy and Prozac are equally valid remedies for constitutional unhappiness. Haidt sometimes seems reductionist, but his is an erudite, fluently written, stimulating reassessment of age-old issues. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Booklist

Using the wisdom culled from the world's greatest civilizations as a foundation, social psychologist Haidt comes to terms with 10 Great Ideas, viewing them through a contemporary filter to learn which of their lessons may still apply to modern lives. He first discusses how the mind works and then examines the Golden Rule ("Reciprocity is the most important tool for getting along with people"). Next, he addresses the issue of happiness itself--where does it come from?--before exploring the conditions that allow growth and development. He also dares to answer the question that haunts most everyone--What is the meaning of life?--by again drawing on ancient ideas and incorporating recent research findings. He concludes with the question of meaning: Why do some find it? Balancing ancient wisdom and modern science, Haidt consults great minds of the past, from Buddha to Lao Tzu and from Plato to Freud, as well as some not-so-greats: even Dr. Phil is mentioned. Fascinating stuff, accessibly expressed. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 619 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 323 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0465028012
  • Editeur : Basic Books; Édition : First Trade Paper Edition (26 décembre 2006)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003E749TE
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°62.485 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Just read it! 14 octobre 2012
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Everything (or almost everything) you always wanted to understand about yourself! A "must read"!

A serious and documented approach of our internal psychological engine.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  301 commentaires
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Enjoyable Read! 15 octobre 2009
Par Dan Wallace - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I saw Chris Anderson (Wired Editor and TED co-founder) asked by Charlie Rose to name his favorite book of the last few years. "The Happiness Hypothesis" was the immediate response. Now this book is one of my favorites, too. The Happiness Hypothesis compares traditional philisohpical traditions with the lastest scientific discoveries, and the two ends meet well in the center. The author's own experiences provide narrative glue.

A major finding is that happiness is a set point for us, and that after good times and bad, we tend to return to our general level of happiness. At the same time, we can do things that help or hurt our happiness, and we can understand better how our minds and emotions work.

Factors that decrease happiness include persistent noise, lack of control, shame, dysfunctional relationships, and long commutes. Strong marriages, physical touch, meaningful relationships and religious affiliation tend to improve happiness. Activities with others enhance our happiness; status objects tend to separate us from others.

In terms of parenting, Haidt finds that secure children are well supported by parents who are nearby, providing safety and security. Avoidant children are neglected by their parents. And resistant children have parents who alternate between support and neglect. Haidt also shows how moral relativism is not good for children.

I was also fascinated by Haidt's observation that modernity and commercial culture slowly replaced the ideal of character with the idea personality, leading to a focus on individual preferences and personal fulfillment. This movement reached a height during the "values clarification" movement of the 1960s which taught no morality at all. The result of this is "anomie," a lost sense of self and right or wrong and feeling of being detached from other people and the world.

One of the most hopeful sections of the book talks about Martin Seligman's work on positive psychology, and the rediscovery of virtue. Seligman and Chris Peterson researched wisdom traditions and found that these six virtues are common across almost all cultures: (1) Wisdom; (2) Courage; (3) Humanity; (4) Justice; (5) Temperance; (6) Transcendence. These six categories serve to organize 24 character traits. (You can find the complete list on Wikipedia.) The conclusion is that you should work to cultivate your strengths, not your weaknesses. This area of study is a great breakthrough after 100 years of the psychological study of mental illness.

There were also many insightful nuggets I found in the excellent book, including:

- How oxytocin, cortisols and endorphins effect health and behavior.
- Haidt's belief that the chief causes of evil are moral idealism and high self-esteem.
- Letting off steam makes you angrier, not calmer.
- Wisdom is the ability to adapt, shape the environment, and know when to move to new environments.
- Pleasure comes more from making progress toward goals than from achieving them.
- Social constraints enhance happiness; total freedom decreases happiness (an insight seconded in "The Paradox of Choice").
- Trauma has benefits in that it shows how much adversity you can cope with. It also filters out false friends and changes priorities and philosophies toward the present.
- Passionate love cannot last; companionate love is what lasts.
- Haidt sees two types of diversity, demographic and moral.
- The three major dimensions of social relationships are liking, status and morality/ transcendence. Coherence across these spectrums leads to happiness.
- The six basic emotions that can be read on the face include joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust and surprise.
- Happiness often results from the collective elevation in a church or political rally.
- The three levels of work are a job, a career and a calling. The more autonomy at work, the more happiness.
- Vital engagement in the world leads to love made visible, which is a sign of deep happiness.
- Work that does good for others and leads to income and recognition will enhance happiness.
- Apostates who try to leave a group and traitors who undermine a group are subject to atrocities.
- Group chanting can lead to mystical experiences, which provide a sense of spiritual connection that leads to happiness.
- Eastern views and conservative politics focus on the collective, while Western views and liberal politics tend to focus on the individual.
- Volunteerism increases happiness, and service learning in schools reduces dropout rates.

This is a brilliant and sweeping narrative, and well worth the read. The cross-disciplinary nature of this work reminds me of EO Wilson's seminal work, Consilience. And parts of this book remind me of one of my favorite books of contemporary philosophy: Status
Anxiety, by Alex de Bouten.

Status Anxiety
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
244 internautes sur 265 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the BEST BOOKS I've read in the past year 18 janvier 2006
Par Intuition_Gal - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book is absolutely incredible - so much fascinating information, and so readable!!

First of all, the main hypothesis, that people make decisions with their gut and then use their brains to rationalize those decisions, is well supported. The examples are clear, real, and alive. You'll walk away from the book thinking, there are so many things that I do that I'm completely unaware of.

Secondly, my favorite thing about this book was that it was SO READABLE: it sounds like Jon Haidt is sitting across from you and speaking to you. (For example, you may have heard of the one and two marshmallow studies, but the story-like way that Haidt describes it will really capture your attention). Even the headings and section titles kept my curiosity up: what could that next section be about?

Third, the section on why human beings are hypocrites (ch. 4) is extremely interesting.

Finally, there is so much philosophy and history of psychology interwoven into the hypothesis of the book that you feel like you keep entering a new theatrical stage: one stage after the other, going to the center of a performance. And the best thing is, all the history, etc. is presented as "here is this story that shows why this happens" and "here's this other story."
32 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An amazing tour of old and new ideas about happiness 20 février 2007
Par Richard A. Lowe - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Jonathan Haidt has written a brilliant exploration of modern and ancient ideas about happiness and the inner workings of the human behaviors that affect it.

This book reads like a great conversation with the reader. From the beginning he employs the right balance of simple explanation - such as the central metaphor of the 'Rider and Elephant' (the conscious and autonomous aspects of your mind, respectively) - and deep, nuanced examinations of the ancient ideas and what the light of modern research shows about them.

The chapters are structured to first present a couple of quotes that encapsulate an ancient idea, such as "The Golden Rule" (do unto others...). He explains the ideas, gives some of the ancient context in which they developed (sometimes at very interesting length) and then starts to weave in the nuance and finer detail that modern study has brought to these ideas. He usually frames things in the context of their effect on happiness and other continuums of human state of being (such as spiritual elevation). Haidt is pretty balanced even when he has to point out problems that some of the ancient ideas have. There's never a sense that `science is right' and `the ancients were wrong' in an absolute way. Often he does quite the opposite, he points out what ancient intuition did get right compared to the very unbalanced thinking behind some of the past popular movements within his profession, such as Behaviorism.

Also, Haidt is laugh-out-loud funny a couple of times in the book!

I would encourage anyone to seek out Jonathan Haidt's interviews (the CBC radio program "Tapestry" is a very interesting one - Googling "Haidt Tapestry" will pull it up) as he is also very witty and funny conversationally - hardly surprising considering the ease of flow of his writing.

Although this book isn't a self-help book, I feel I've gotten more practically out of it than most self-help psychology books - and certainly there are ways to apply what you learn here. I believe I've benefited more because I felt so engaged and so hopeful that I now know what `works' and (perhaps more to the point) what doesn't in a clinically demonstrated way. I felt that because the book wasn't trying to change me, I resisted its information much less - it was a pleasure to read and not a `utility' for my life.

I highly recommend it!
160 internautes sur 182 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Terrific! Likely to Be in My Top Ten Books of the Year: An Outstanding Contribution 12 mars 2006
Par Dr. Richard G. Petty - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is a remarkable book, that gives the lie to the old statement that people who have something to say can't normally express themselves, but those who are good at expressing themselves don't normally have much to say!

Using delightful sparkling prose, Jonathan Haidt has written a meaty and worthwhile book about happiness, emotion and the creation of personal meaning. It is so rare nowadays to find people who can place their work in a broad historical and cultural context. Yet Haidt does just that. Here we have a book in which discussions of the brain rub shoulders with the sayings of the Buddha.

I am sure that nobody is going to agree with everything that he says. But neither would he want us to: he is informing and provoking discussion and understanding. I worry a little about the scientists and writers who try to reduce complex behaviors to neurons and hormones alone, and Jonathan avoids that trap.

This is an insightful book that belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in some of the fundamental problems of living a happy, fulfilled life, and of making a positive contribution to the world.

Very highly recommended.
157 internautes sur 179 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing book........HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 28 décembre 2005
Par Ethan J. Appleby - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is flat out one of the most interesting, entertaining, and educational books I have read. Haidt has the true ability to bring truth and understanding to difficult issues. For some, it will make them think about things in ways they probably never have, for others it will make sense out of things that confused them, for me it did both. I can honestly say it made me look at certain aspects of my life and the world around me in a very different way and helped me grow as a person.
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