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The Happiness Hypothesis

Narrated by: Ryan Vincent Anderson
Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Philosophy
4.5 out of 5 stars (221 ratings)

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Summary

The best-selling 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 an audiobook 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2006 Jonathan Haidt (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"An erudite, fluently written, stimulating reassessment of age-old issues." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"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)

"[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." (Darrin McMahon, The Washington Post)

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Great book, shame about the narration

Very odd that Haidt didn't narrate this himself. His performance is The Coddling is excellent, but this one is droning and somewhat monotonous. Its still listenable, but would benefit massively from a better performance. The book itself is superb - full of fascinating info and insights. Haidt is a brilliant thinker

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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interesting listen

Good but not great. Main takeaway were meditate, be part of community, spend money the right way.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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interesting listen

enjoyed the book, I did have to have alot of breaks as it's quite alot to take in.

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Really good book, but lacks good delivery

This one delvles into the mind and how our thinking shapes our lives. What we experience, situations, people and how we talk can have an overwhelming impact on us. The elephant and the rider is a very interesting analysis of how our mind can sometimes override our natural reactions and visversa.
Overal this book is a very good listen, but does lack the delivery of the narrator. It might be a better idea to get the book to read. There is not much feeling or expression put in, but if you can overcome that, it's an interesting listen.

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Very interesting

Very interesting and enjoyable book. Good insights into psychology and the history of human nature

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Great content if only delivery could match

Possibly one of the best books put there on happiness. exceptionally lucid and well informed. broad without lacking depth and above all, practical.

the delivery though sounded so monotone I thought at some point this was an experiment in using AI to read books. I am no naysayer and I think negative reviews are mostly pathetic but it actually affected the experience.

if ever you thought reading an audiobook is not a craft, try this book. if the content wasn't so life altering, I would not have endured it.

If you can read, get the print version or wait until there is another reader for this.

that said, I would experience it a thousandfold if it meant I could get access to the content. it is worth it.

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deeps your understanding of yourself and others

I knew most of what this book was putting forward but to hear it all together and explained as the rider and the elephant really helped put this into context of understand the behaviour of myself and others.

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Great content. a shame not narrated by author

Great content. a little academic at times, but worth a read /listen for sure if you are interested in human psychology and how we operate. A pity it was not read by the author as the tempo of the narrator sometimes didn't flow with the text. A very balanced approach...

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Worth a read

To sum this book up I’d say: it was interesting but also boring at times.

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Good but not what I expected

It started greatly, with beautiful scientific and/or psychological explanations.... But it took an unexpected turn into religion and spirituality, that I think didn't need so much stress on. Or maybe I haven't understood the message yet.
Great book nevertheless, and great author.

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  • Smaranda Nicolau
  • 19-06-18

Awesome book, poor performance

Incredibly well-researched book, compelling arguments, perhaps at times a little bit too self-assured but definitely very valuable for our times and extremely common-sensical. Would have enjoyed much much much more had the performance caught any of the humor and irony obvious in the tone of the writer and sadly completely absent in this monotonous reading... so, a much better read than a “hear”, too bad. Still, I listened to the whole thing and am the better for having gained the knowledge in this book.

75 of 81 people found this review helpful

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  • RRivas
  • 27-02-19

a bit of a mishmash of ideas, but interesting

Overall pretty interesting notions and ideas. Bits on the structure of the brain and the activities that different brain components control was fascinating and may have merited its own book. However, aside from that the book became tedious. The author seemed to skip around ideas about what are the elements of happiness, what are the emotional states that constitute elation associated with religious activity, and where to find wisdom. Overall it was a probably a better listen than it would have been a read. On those activities associated with happiness, specifically strong relationships, fulfilling work, and religious belonging, it seems he didn't have a lot to add that hasn't been discussed in other books. Although an athiest, he does a somewhat spirited defense of those who are religious, arguing that our brains and society have evolved to put us in emotional states that we connect to religious experience. It came off as a bit condescending to religious people, but I'll give him credit on this, since any sort of defense of religiosity probably gets him looked at cross eyed by his academic peers. I had also read his more recent, "The Coddling of the American Mind", which discusses how youth, particularly college age youth, is so much less resilient and more willing to look a the the splinters in others rather than the logs in their own eyes. I was hoping that this book might touch on how the drop in religiosity among youth may have contributed to them less resilient. But alas, the author does not make this connection as I recall. Overall, an interesting book, if a bit sloppy in its organization and presentation. The narrator was also only okay and his presentation didn't seem to fit the material. I would give this a recommendation though, but caveat emptor.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • L.D.
  • 22-11-18

Amazing & Beneficial - A Must Have!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I first purchased it, but considering the fact that I highly enjoyed another book that was co-authored by Haidt I decided to give this book a try and am so glad that I did! Not only was this an intriguing book that continuously gave rich information about the mind and how people’s view of the world matters, it also broke down complicated subjects in a way that allowed me to follow along easily and thus reap the benefits of this book’s message. I actually have already listened to it twice and will be going for a third round after finishing a few others.

This book is without a doubt one of my new favorites because of the life-changing advice I was able to absorb, not to mention the fact that it was a delight to get through because of the entertaining way such advice is presented to the reader/listener by the author.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • josh colvert
  • 18-10-18

A message our divided culture needs

This is one of the most fair-minded and intellectually honest books I have read. The author does an excellent job of laying out his thesis without ever becoming dogmatic or didactic. The content is well researched and academically sound yet engaging and easy to read. Throughout the book, Jonathan Haidt hits the nail on the head again and again and again.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Kristen Hagar
  • 23-08-18

I feel happier already

I really enjoyed the way this book chose a few main topics to focus on from ancient ideas, then brought forth evidence for or against these ideas from scientific literature. Haidt is truly brilliant and I could stop and think about every few sentences in his writing and get so much out of it. I’m sure I will keep listening to this one in the future.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-12-18

The origins of "The Righteous Mind"

I first read Haidt's "The Righteous Mind" and so this book goes over much of what he goes into further detail in that book. Given this, I think this book is likely an easier beginning to the ideas more developed in "The Righteous Mind." Overall fascinating ideas, and it's exciting to see the current and ongoing development(s) between science and religion. This book is a taster of Haidt and other moral psychological insights, and then his later book is a home run, in a sense. After reading both this and his other book I no longer really viewed things in what I now perceive to be a weird 'religious' vs. 'secular' mindset. I now think of almost all human group activity in a wider range, so that any radical group behavior, secular or religious, takes on the term 'fundamentalist' or 'radical,' among other useful ways of viewing the problems and limits in any perspective (and specifically the very heated US political Republican vs. Democrat positions). I now find myself in a spot in which I am pretty moderate with a libertarian flare, without agreeing fully with a lot of various policy issues (more so thinking that living personally in a libertarian manner promotes more self-respect and choice, but understanding that many libertarian policies may in actuality just be bad... this gets into Haidt's great distinction between useful and often correct personal intuitions in interpersonal relations but that on the scale of policy trusting intuitions is often terrible and has bad results).

In short: read or listen to this book and Haidt's following book, "The Righteous Mind," and (hopefully) expand your mind and worldview a bit further beyond limited partisanship and tribalism.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Frida
  • 07-03-19

Just wonderful!

I learnt so much from reading this book.There were so many good points! It references a lot of books I had read before such as Attached, Influence, Flow etc. So this was like all the major points from different books and philosophies gathered in one. Really liked it! A few of my take away:
- The elephant vs The rider metaphor. I have previously been thinking about it as a circle/yin yang picture where it is 50/50 automatic and conscious. I like the elephant and the rider a lot more, and it feels very clear on which part of you is responsible for what. The rider being an adviser for the elephant for example.
- Happiness comes from within and without, and I think he has sold me on this one. I wasn’t guilty of thinking it came from without, I had already shifted to thinking it came from within, but I have now come to realize that both are important. Such as creating flow in your work, your relationships with other people, but also how extreme personal freedom can be dangerous.
- PTSD / Adversity / Coping style spoke to me on a personal level, and changed my viewpoints.
- The Passionate love vs Companionate love was a funny chapter. My take away is “DO NOT GET ENGAGE IN THE FIRST 6 MONTHS” haha… No but in all honesty, it is good to know that Companionate Love is really what to strive for.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 17-02-19

Fertilizer for the mind

This is a great thought provoking book. It had me questioning my purchase on more than one occasion only to bring me right back to understanding a few lines later.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Greg
  • 07-02-19

Excellent Book; Highly Recommend

This book was a long read, BUT nearly every chapter was full of riveting examples and useful knowledge.

I’m going to reread this again in a few months; I enjoyed it that much!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • the dude
  • 28-02-19

good book not great

great few chapters i love the binomial mind analogy of the rider and the elephant, then he seems to go deep with religion as it becomes the dominant focus of the last 4 chapters. I recommend it up to chapter 4 or 5 then skip to last 2 minutes of chapter 10 and the whole last chapter.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful