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How We Choose to Be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People--Their Secrets, Their Stories (Anglais) Broché – 1 juin 2004

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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page




Chapter 1 - Intention

Chapter 2 - Accountability

Chapter 3 - Identification

Chapter 4 - Centrality

Chapter 5 - Recasting

Chapter 6 - Options

Chapter 7 - Appreciation

Chapter 8 - Giving

Chapter 9 - Truthfulness

Chapter 10 - Synergy



“Foster and Hicks conduct workshops internationally in the development of interpersonal skills. For this book, they interviewed happy people from all walks of life, from the United States to Eastern Europe. The resulting personal stories, writing exercises, and quotes together inform and instruct the reader in the nine principles discovered by the authors in their travels. Recommended.”

Library Journal



“My plan was to read the book long enough to decide whether I would write a testimonial. In a short time I found myself in the middle of a remarkable torrent of brilliant ideas, all delivered in a warm and sturdy format. I realized that at some unnoticed moment I had changed, and was now reading because I was convinced the book would be of great personal value to me—it could help me find more happiness. It is a delightful and boundlessly valuable book, especially for those readers willing to explore the possibility that happiness is something we can all choose.”

-Will Schutz, Ph. D.,
author of Joy, Joy: 20 Years Later and The Human Element.


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 I Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa


Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England


While the authors have made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the authors assume any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


Copyright © 1999 by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks


All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

PERIGEE is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The “P” design is a trademark belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.



G. P. Putnam’s Sons edition / April 1999

Revised Perigee trade paperback / June 2004


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Foster, Rick.

How we choose to be happy : the 9 choices of extremely happy people : their secrets, their stories / Rick Foster and Greg Hicks.

p. cm.

eISBN : 978-1-101-00738-9

1. Happiness. 2. Happiness-Case studies. I. Hicks, Greg.

II. Title.

BF575.H27F-37033 CIP





PUBLISHER’ NOTE: Neither the publisher nor the authors are engaged in rendering professional advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures, and suggestions contained in this book are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision. Neither the authors nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this book.


Most Perigee books are available at special quantity discounts for bulk purchases for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. Special books, or book excerpts, can also be created to fit specific needs. For details, write: Special Markets, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

For our children
Tim and Molly Hicks
Alex and Kathryn Foster


Our happiness journey has run through two eras—first, the research and writing of this book, and next, the amazing developments after its initial publication. From the beginning, it has been graced by so many who have championed it. Thanks to our editor and trusted friend, John Duff, at Penguin who nurtured and supported our work every step of the way, and to our agent Angela Miller. Thanks also for the skill and superb judgment of our independent editors: Marilyn Foster for her careful reading and insightful suggestions and Paula Munier for her knowledgeable and optimistic cheerleading through the writing process.

Ron Luyet, always gentle of spirit and compassionate about our human strengths and foibles, gave generously of his professional understandings and his materials, including the “List of Defenses.” Thanks also to landscape architect Laurie Grassman of Boulder, Colorado, for her invaluable help with flora, to Dr. David Spear for his deep insight into the interaction of behavior and biochemistry, to Philip Turner and Tonda Marton for advice about writing projects in general, and to Tonda for giving us a “writer’s retreat” in New York City.

Our first Happiness Workshops were sponsored by Dr. Barbara Scott in San Luis Obispo, California. Eva Nemeth transformed her physical therapy offices in Marina Del Rey, California, into a conference center on our behalf. A wonderful crew from Shelburne Farms, Vermont, including Emily Morrow, Alec Webb, Megan Camp and Paul and Eileen Growald, supported our work in their community. Thanks to all of them for adding to the demographic depth of the interviews and to our understanding of happiness.

We also have an extraordinary support system of friends and family who gave unconditionally to the early days of the project. Special thanks goes to dear friends—Ellen Tussman, Diane Jarmolow, Russell Kaltschmidt, Herb Kindler, Marilyn Ginsburg and Janet Cobb. Their referrals to interview sources, opinions and reactions were critical to the development of our ideas. Our generous and patient readers were our parents, Lenore and Don Hicks and Harold and Diana Foster. Matt Weinstein and Geneen Roth gave us a much-needed kick-start in the beginning. And “The Men’s Group” continues to provide a superb forum to experiment, try out ideas, and receive loving yet firm feedback.

We also want to express our gratitude to Ailish and the late Will Schutz, who over the years taught us so much, and introduced us to the wonderful acupuncturist, Dr. Van Vu. His work kept us balanced, and gave us the energy to do our research, write a book, raise our children and continue working.

Since the initial publication of How We Choose to Be Happy, a great number of people and institutions have introduced us to professional arenas we couldn’t have previously imagined. Our deepest gratitude goes to Duffy Newman and Joanna Infantine of the Health Forum in San Francisco, who gave us a superb entree to the medical world. There is no way to individually thank all the wonderful people with whom we’re partnering in the medical fields, but special thanks go to Doctors Nicholas LaRusso and Jeanne Huddleston of The Mayo Clinic, who astonish us with their drive for excellence. At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. David Jaques and Aileen Killen provided us with a life-altering view of surgery. Elizabeth Duthie, Director of Nursing for Patient Care Systems at NYU Hospitals Center, has been full of ideas and information and is an encouraging friend. And, Jenny Kirksey, Community Health Director of Wake Forest Baptist Hospitals has been a great supporter. We thank all of you who have become friends and colleagues.

Other faculty and organizational work has also been a source of inspiration and growth. Many thanks to Dr. Joseph Mori and Julie Ryan who have included us as faculty in their MSA program at San Jose State University. Becky Miles-Polka and Gail Hardinger have also given us faculty positions with the wonderful Iowa Community Health Leadership Institute. And James Baraz and Edith Politis have brought us into the unexpected delights of the Buddhist community at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, California. You have all enriched our lives immeasurably.

Above all, we deeply thank the hundreds of “extremely happy people” from around the world, whose love, commitment, words and thoughts appear in these pages. There is no way to express fully our respect and gratitude to them. They have changed our lives, and we thank them deeply for the kindness, honesty and thoughtfulness they shared with us. Although their names and hometowns have been changed, their true spirits soar through every part of this book and continue to inform our lives.

A Note to the Reader

Présentation de l'éditeur

Now featuring new research and the most current information on the science of happiness, this book presents an outline of the nine choices happy people consistently make.

Also included are tools for self-assessment to allow readers to measure happiness-and to find out what might be holding them back from having more of it. Insightful, intimate, and inspiring, How We Choose to Be Happy lets readers learn by example, and take substantial steps toward joining the ranks of the extremely happy.

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Format: Broché
Comme beaucoup de livres américains, le propos est clair, très bien structuré et illustré par de nombreux témoignages. Les auteurs ont fait de vraies recherches approfondies sur le terrain (c'est un aspect qui me plait particulièrement) et en ont retiré les 9 éléments qui sont à la base du vrai bonheur. Chaque chapitre s'attaque en détail à un de ces "secrets" en expliquant le pourquoi, le comment, en l'illustrant par des anecdotes et en proposant à chaque fois plusieurs exercices de réflexion à faire sur soi-même.
Le propos m'a complètement convaincu. J'ai commencé à travaillé plusieurs chapitres ... mais c'est comme tous les livres et stages de développement personnels, si on ne fait pas un travail sur soi, toute la connaissance reste purement livresque, il faut s'investir et pratiquer à haute dose pour espérer intégrer réellement un tel changement (un tel apprentissage) dans sa vie.
Je le conseille vivement, surtout accompagné d'un stylo, d'un cahier et d'un grand désir de changement !
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x97d3bf24) étoiles sur 5 71 commentaires
179 internautes sur 184 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x981d2bf4) étoiles sur 5 Happy People are Wise People 16 septembre 1999
Par Jennifer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I am a happy person. I won't go so far as saying I am wise, but I did not become happier by accident. It was a conscious choice.
I read "How We Choose to Be Happy" to see if the authors had come to the same conclusions I had. They did. I have been carrying a small card around with me since 1996. It says things like "experience & express gratitude," "make happiness a priority," and "be present." It's amazing how many of the choices listed in this book are on my old beat up card. Maybe it's not a coincidence.
In our culture there is this odd belief that you must be an idiot if you're happy. I have no idea how this myth got started but I have found just the opposite to be true. It takes a logical mind to see where choice is involved in our emotions. My life circumstances are not totally how I would like them to be. I decided to not wait for ideal conditions before I experienced joy. I figured out that I could experience happiness WHILE creating the life I wanted. If I waited for everything to be perfectly how I wanted it to be, I concluded I might be waiting a very, very long time.
Get the book. Make it personal by seeing how the choices might apply in your life. Why wait?
72 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x981d2c48) étoiles sur 5 This book changed my life. 30 octobre 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I wish that I could give everyone this book! When I read this book in my mid-30s, I had come to the sad conclusion that I was somehow incapable of being happy. I had everything I'd ever wanted -- a wonderful husband and two adorable children whom I loved very much, a great job with a good income, etc., etc. And yet I kept falling into despair ... I couldn't figure out how to be happy, and finally decided that my brain was just not "wired" for happiness. But when I stumbled across this book a few years ago, it changed everything. Of course, I still have normal bad days, times when I feel sad or discouraged. But it's different now -- I don't despair -- I know that I'm finally learned how to be truly happy, and nothing can take that away from me now. READ THIS BOOK!!
57 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x981d2e1c) étoiles sur 5 Excellent, practical and timely! 19 juillet 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
While many of us work very hard, few of us can sincerely claim to be truely fulfilled and genuinely happy. From analysis of the life stories of many genuinely happy people, Hicks and Foster synthesize a simple yet powerful and practical model for achieving happiness in our daily lifes.
Though "How We Choose to be Happy" is not a psychology book, the Nine Step Model is firmly founded in Human Potential psychology. All we Humans want to be in control of our lives. When we aren't in control we feel powerless, victimized and possibly alienated. When we are in control, we feel powerful, actualized and HAPPY. This well written book helps us recognize a straight forward path toward greater personal control of our lives and the rewarding happiness that results.
I highly recommend for old and young--anyone searching for more complete meaning in their lifes.
Richard Neslund
52 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x981d536c) étoiles sur 5 Practical Resource: Not A Self-Help "Plan" 23 novembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
The author's outline of the "9 choices of extremely happy people" seems fairly complete: intention (to be happy), accountability (for one's own happiness), identification (of what makes one happy), centralization (making working towards happiness central in daily life), recasting (interpretation of tragic or unhappy experiences for redeeming value), options, appreciation, giving, and truth. I like that their "outline" doesn't require one to necessarily rely on a religious or supernatural belief that not everyone will necessarily share, nor do they have a one-size-fits-all approach that equates success with happiness. Although I don't really want some psychologist, self-help author, or religious leader to prescribe a detailed magic formuala for happiness, other people may miss having a detailed course of "what do we do now?" Another weakness (unavoidable) is that the author's acknowledge that perhaps only 50% of happiness is voluntary, the other half may be genetically or biologically determined, that is hardwired into us. Still, we have to start somewhere. I think that the 9 choices are useful to evaluating the way we leading our lives and making some improvement.
31 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x981d52ac) étoiles sur 5 It is a choice 11 décembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I was somewhat on the fence about buying this book, but the "choose" in the title is what sold me. I'd just reviewed Stephen Covey's concept of proactivity being based on choice and I wondered if this would lead in the same direction. I found it did. My experience with Covey was that he was the business leader who expressed a system that focused on balancing what is best for the individual with the organization goals, as opposed to the barrage of downsizing, MBO, reengineering, etc. books that basically preached focus on the bottom line and the process, forget the people.
This book focuses how an indivdual can change their life via the choices made on a daily basis. The examples of leadership and personnal growth that are chronicled in this book are the bedrocks of both happy lives and successful enterprises. Anyone who has worked or lived among morose, downtrodden and dispair ridden coworkers or family members can see the value and potential in people who come to the realizations outlined in this book. The individual transformations outlined in the book are similar to those I have seen in coworkers and family members over the past 20 years. Also, I can say that the areas in my own life that are not all I'd like them to be are in some way "out of alignment" with a principle outlined in this book. Overall, it is right on target.
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