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The Happiness Advantage
Cover of The Happiness Advantage
The Happiness Advantage
How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER An engaging, deeply researched guide to flourishing in a world of increasing stress and negativity—the inspiration for one of the most popular TED Talks of all time

“Powerful [and] charming . . . A book for just about anyone . . . The philosophies in this book are easily the best wire frames to build a happy and successful life.”—Medium

Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that once we succeed, we’ll be happy; that once we get that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But the science reveals this formula to be backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.
 
Research shows that happy employees are more productive, more creative, and better problem solvers than their unhappy peers. And positive people are significantly healthier and less stressed and enjoy deeper social interaction than the less positive people around them.
 
Drawing on original research—including one of the largest studies of happiness ever conducted—and work in boardrooms and classrooms across forty-two countries, Shawn Achor shows us how to rewire our brains for positivity and optimism to reap the happiness advantage in our lives, our careers, and even our health. His strategies include:
 
The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility so we can see and seize opportunities all around us
Social Investment: how to earn the dividends of a strong social support network
The Ripple Effect: how to spread positive change within our teams, companies, and families
 
By turns fascinating, hopeful, and timely, The Happiness Advantage reveals how small shifts in our mind-set and habits can produce big gains at work, at home, and elsewhere.
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER An engaging, deeply researched guide to flourishing in a world of increasing stress and negativity—the inspiration for one of the most popular TED Talks of all time

“Powerful [and] charming . . . A book for just about anyone . . . The philosophies in this book are easily the best wire frames to build a happy and successful life.”—Medium

Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that once we succeed, we’ll be happy; that once we get that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But the science reveals this formula to be backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.
 
Research shows that happy employees are more productive, more creative, and better problem solvers than their unhappy peers. And positive people are significantly healthier and less stressed and enjoy deeper social interaction than the less positive people around them.
 
Drawing on original research—including one of the largest studies of happiness ever conducted—and work in boardrooms and classrooms across forty-two countries, Shawn Achor shows us how to rewire our brains for positivity and optimism to reap the happiness advantage in our lives, our careers, and even our health. His strategies include:
 
The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility so we can see and seize opportunities all around us
Social Investment: how to earn the dividends of a strong social support network
The Ripple Effect: how to spread positive change within our teams, companies, and families
 
By turns fascinating, hopeful, and timely, The Happiness Advantage reveals how small shifts in our mind-set and habits can produce big gains at work, at home, and elsewhere.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book I applied to Harvard on a dare.

    I was raised in Waco, Texas, and never really expected to leave. Even as I was applying to Harvard, I was setting down roots and training to be a local volunteer firefighter. For me, Harvard was a place from the movies, the place mothers joke about their kids going to when they grow up. The chances of actually getting in were infinitesimally small. I told myself I’d be happy just to tell my kids someday, offhandedly at dinner, that I had even applied to Harvard. (I imagined my imaginary children being quite impressed.)

    When I unexpectedly got accepted, I felt thrilled and humbled by the privilege. I wanted to do the opportunity justice. So I went to Harvard, and I stayed . . . for the next twelve years.

    When I left Waco, I had been out of Texas four times and never out of the country (though Texans consider anything out of Texas foreign travel). But as soon as I stepped out of the T in Cambridge and into Harvard Yard, I fell in love. So after getting my BA, I found a way to stay. I went to grad school, taught sections in sixteen different courses, and then began delivering lectures. As I pursued my graduate studies, I also became a Proctor, an officer of Harvard hired to live in residence with undergraduates to help them navigate the difficult path to both academic success and happiness within the Ivory Tower. This effectively meant that I lived in a college dorm for a total of 12 years of my life (not a fact I brought up on first dates).

    I tell you this for two reasons. First, because I saw Harvard as such a privilege, it fundamentally changed the way my brain processed my experience. I felt grateful for every moment, even in the midst of stress, exams, and blizzards (something else I had only seen in the movies). Second, my 12 years teaching in the classrooms and living in the dorms afforded me a comprehensive view of how thousands of other Harvard students advanced through the stresses and challenges of their college years. That’s when I began noticing the patterns.

    Paradise Lost and Found

    Around the time that Harvard was founded, John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost, “The Mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

    Three hundred years later, I observed this principle come to life. Many of my students saw Harvard as a privilege, but others quickly lost sight of that reality and focused only on the workload, the competition, the stress. They fretted incessantly about their future, despite the fact that they were earning a degree that would open so many doors. They felt overwhelmed by every small setback instead of energized by the possibilities in front of them. And after watching enough of those students struggle to make their way through, something dawned on me. Not only were these students the ones who seemed most susceptible to stress and depression, they were the ones whose grades and academic performance were suffering the most.

    Years later, in the fall of 2009, I was invited to go on a monthlong speaking tour throughout Africa. During the trip, a CEO from South Africa named Salim took me to Soweto, a township just outside of Johannesburg that many inspiring people, including Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have called their home.

    We visited a school next to a shantytown where there was no electricity and scarce running water. Only when I was in front of the children did it dawn on me that none of the stories I normally use in my talks would work. Sharing the research and experiences of privileged American college students and wealthy, powerful business leaders seemed inappropriate. So I tried to open a...
About the Author-
  • Shawn Achor is one of the world’s leading experts on happiness, success, and potential. His research has graced the cover of Harvard Business Review, and his TED Talk is one of the most popular of all time, with more than 15 million views. Shawn spent twelve years at Harvard before bringing this research to nearly half the Fortune 100, as well as places like the Pentagon, impoverished schools in Africa, and the White House. His research has also been published in top psychology journals and featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fortune. His interview with Oprah Winfrey and his PBS program have been seen by millions. He now serves on the World Happiness Council and continues his research.

Reviews-
  • Rom Brafman, bestselling co-author of Sway and Click

    "Achor transports us to his virtual classroom, a journey along which we glean the seven secrets of happiness. The Happiness Advantage reveals the most important discoveries coming out of modern psychology."

  • The Boston Globe "Shawn Achor is funny, self-deprecating, and devastating to my notions of what his field is all about.... I'm butter to his knife."
  • -Wall Street Journal " Achor bases his training on a burgeoning body of research on the positive psychology movement, which emphasizes instilling resiliency and positive attitudes...."
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The Happiness Advantage
The Happiness Advantage
How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life
Shawn Achor
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