Book Review: Happiness

By Christine Carter | December 1, 2008 | 0 comments

by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener
Wiley-Blackwell, 2008, 304 pages

Are you one of those people who question whether it’s really important to be happy? Perhaps you’d rather spend your time cultivating other emotions? Or deep down, you suspect that the cheerful among us are a bit on the, um, shallow side?

In their new book, Happiness, father-son team Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener thoroughly document not just what it is that happy people have in common, but the concrete benefits of happiness. (For starters, happy people are more successful and more creative, and they have more friends.)

Happiness is slightly less practical than many of the other new research-based happiness books on the market right now, but it does a terrific job explaining loads of scientific findings related to happiness, making this research clear and accessible. The authors also tackle a series of critical questions. For example, why might extroverted people be happier? Does being happy bring you more friends, or does having more friends bring more happiness?

At a time when many of us are worrying about our financial wealth, the Diener team has redefined wealth in psychological terms and explained how people can build their psychological affluence. Are you psychologically wealthy? Take the quiz at the end of the book to find out where you rank among America’s happiest people.

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About The Author

Christine Carter, Ph.D. is a Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center. She is the author of The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work (Ballantine Books, 2015) and Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents (Random House, 2010). A former director of the GGSC, she served for many years as author of its parenting blog, Raising Happiness.


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