The bestselling author of The Righteous Mind draws on philosophical wisdom and scientific research to show how the meaningful life is closer than you think
The Happiness Hypothesis is a book about ten Great Ideas. Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations--to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives and illuminate the causes of human flourishing. Award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt, the author of The Righteous Mind, shows how a deeper understanding of the world's philosophical wisdom and its enduring maxims--like "do unto others as you would have others do unto you," or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"--can enrich and even transform our lives.
"[T]he psychologist Jonathan Haidt shows in his wonderfully smart and readable The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom [that] modern science and history have a lot to say to each other."
, The Washington Post
"[An] inspiring nuanced study."
"[A] marvelous book.... I don't think I've ever read a book that laid out the contemporary understanding of the human condition with such simple clarity and sense."
"This unusual book sets itself apart from the self-help category with its extensive scientific references, and intelligent, neutral prose, while the author's illuminating illustration of how the human mind works is both educational and refreshing."
—Sunday Times (London)
"With singular gusto, Haidt measures ten 'Great Ideas' against past/present research in psychology and science. LJ's verdict: Dr. Phil et al. don't have diddly on the old-school sages. No man is an island, indeed, and no modern reader should be without this carefully considered demystification of life."
—Library Journal, Best Books 2006
"This is a delightful book.... Haidt's writing embraces spiritual and mystical viewpoints while retaining scientific and rational coherence."
"A disarming, original book, reassuring to those more conversant with worriment than merriment.... Smart and serious without pomposity."
"Haidt's remedy for the modern glut of frivolous self-help literature is to review and revise the classics, examining the ideas of thinkers like Plato, Buddha and Jesus in light of modern research into human behavior. Along the way, Haidt, a social psychologist, provides practical advice for parenting, romance, work and coping with the political and cultural divisions currently preoccupying the country."
The Happiness Hypothesis is a wonderful and nuanced book that provides deep insight into the some of the most important questions in life--Why are we here? What kind of life should we lead? What paths lead to happiness? From the ancient philosophers to cutting edge scientists, Haidt weaves a tapestry of the best and the brightest. His highly original work on elevation and awe--two long-neglected emotions--adds a new weave to that tapestry. A truly inspiring book."
—David M. Buss
, author of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating
"This fresh and original book goes to the heart of what people have found out about happiness, across cultures and times. Enjoyable, important, and eminently readable."
, author of FLOW
"Jonathan Haidt leaves no doubt about the importance of emotion in the creation of personal meaning. This is a delightful and courageous book."
, author of Looking for Spinoza
"In this beautifully written book, Jonathan Haidt shows us the deep connection that exists between cutting-edge psychological research and the wisdom of the ancients. It is inspiring to see how much modern psychology informs life's most central and persistent questions."
, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
"Should we live our lives by age-old wisdom or the latest discoveries? Haidt gives us the luxury of not having to choose, bringing together both sources of insight in this sparkling investigation into the psychology of life and happiness."
, author of The Illusion of Conscious Will
"It would be something of an exaggeration to say that Jonathan Haidt has found the final answer to happiness, but he has come as close as any other writer of our times. Every page of his book provides gems of insight about the good life and where to look for it. Anyone who is interested in humannature and its potential must read this book."
—William Damon, Director, Stanford Center on Adolescence
, and author of The Moral Child
"An intellectual tour de force that weaves into one fabric wisdom that is ancient and modern, religious and scientific, Eastern and Western, liberal and conservative all with the aim of pointing us to a more meaningful, moral, and satisfying life."
—David G. Myers, Professor of Psychology, Hope College
, author of Intuition: Its Powers and Its Perils
"The Happiness Hypothesis... has more to say about the pleasures and perils, the truths, of being alive than any book I've read in a long time."
—San Francisco Bay Guardian
"Haidt's is an open-minded, robust look at philosophy, psychological fact and spiritual mystery, of scientific rationalism and the unknowable ephemeral--an honest inquiry that concludes that the best life is, perhaps, one lived in the balance of opposites."
"An erudite, fluently written, stimulating reassessment of age-old issues."—Publishers Weekly, starred review