Trainer, Facilitator and Coach
The practical exercises in this book, particularly the daily What Went Well exercise, are deceptively simple yet so powerful. I have listened to the book several times, applied the exercises and introduced them to my workplace and the courses we teach with remarkable impact. For anyone looking to apply the techniques the I Journal app and daily reminder to do the What Went Well exercises also help.
The stories are so well told by the engaging and often humorous author it's easy to get enthused by the material. The practical, evidence based and easy to apply techniques make this book stand out.
I'm a happy believer in the scientific ideas of positive psychology, I have sometimes been called a motivational speaker, and decided to listen to this book to get the view from the 'other side' and negative thinking. I expected each element of positive thinking to be examined and taken apart in detail with counter evidence yet this was not the case. I did find one extremely useful example of the use of negative visualisation, an excellent counterweight to excessive positive thinking and goal fixation.
Other than that I found a book that mirrored my own path of discovery and search for the truth about happiness albeit with the positive as my starting point. I agree with Oliver's concerns about the worst excesses of positive thinking but then I tend to believe that the truth in life is usually somewhere in between any two schools of thought.
This book is a delight, so well balanced and inquisitive rather than dismissive or defensive as I feared it might be. The ideas covered from Buddhist meditation, Eckhart Tolle, to Alan Watts ideas on the true nature of the self, to Carol Dweck's work on Mindset and Keats negative capability are all ideas I personally associate with the positive path in life - to find them here examined from another perspective was enlightening. I see nothing here that conflicts with the ideas of positive psychology, I'd go so far as to say they align completely.
Albert Ellis's idea of 'musterbation' is brilliant, we 'must' on ourselves all the time and get in all kinds of self defeating behaviour. This idea that stands out most for me along with the courageous examination of death.
So the book is really only an antidote to the smiley yellow face and painted on smile of superficial positive thinking. I'm still a little more generous towards the 'positive thinkers' as I have seen them set many people on the path to searching out their own deeper truth. That aside I agreed and found a great deal of well written and entertaining wisdom her
Inspired, enthused and encouraged is how this Before Happiness made me feel. This audibook is about how we can all move toward positive genius written by the positive genius himself. Shawn Achor has an incredible ability to breath life into research using his own and other compelling stories. He then guides us by the hand through the practical steps to create our own positive reality.
For someone with such great academic ability he is also down to earth making this material accessible to anyone with even the slightest interest in becoming happier. If you enjoyed the Happiness Advantage this book updates and makes those ideas even more powerful by revealing the mindset that makes happiness possible. The fact that every idea is linked back to solid research that you know works adds even greater credibility.
Shawn has a great sense of humour too. I was genuinely surprised to find they let kidnappers into Harvard. I’d like to hear his sister Amy’s side of some of these stories one day too I’m sure they will be quite different and revealing. Remembering some stories from the first book about video games I did wonder if this sense of humour was also responsible for releasing the audiobook in the same week as Grand Theft Auto 5. Mike Chamberlain does a good job of the narration but for the humour and emphasis on some points I'd have preferred Shawn had read this himself (but I know he's been busy inspiring many so that is only a minor point).
I place Shawn Achor's books alongside others who are challenging us to think beyond our current reality such as Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, Carol Dweck, Jim Collins, Gary Hamel, Barbara Fredrikson and Tim Harford. They all share that rare ability to see what is truly possible if we reach toward our potential and use all forms of intelligence.
I was inspired by how easily we can create a more positive reality for ourselves, enthused by the practical ideas to increase success and reduce noise and encouraged that Shawn wants us to share this research and inspire others through ‘positive inception’. This book has doubled my enthusiasm for sharing these ideas with others and to play my part in a more positive and engaged world. I'm already applying these ideas in my own life and looking forward to sharing the practical steps with many others. A must listen, thank you Shawn.