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The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom Paperback – 26 December 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,328 ratings

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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

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

[An] inspiring nuanced study.--
People

[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. --
Guardian, (UK)

[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

A disarming, original book, reassuring to those more conversant with worriment than merriment.... Smart and serious without pomposity. --
Seattle Times

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

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

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. --
Bookpage

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. --
Psychology Today

I really can't recommend this book enough. It's one of the best and most insightful books I've ever read.--
Joe Rogan

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. --
Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

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

Jonathan Haidt leaves no doubt about the importance of emotion in the creation of personal meaning. This is a delightful and courageous book. --
Antonio Damasio, author of Looking for Spinoza

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. --
Daniel Wegner, author of The Illusion of Conscious Will

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. --
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of FLOW

This is a delightful book.... Haidt's writing embraces spiritual and mystical viewpoints while retaining scientific and rational coherence. --
Nature

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

About the Author

Jonathan Haidt is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. His research examines morality, the moral emotions, and the intuitive foundations of politics and religion. He is the co-editor of Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived, and the author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Basic Books; 1st edition (26 December 2006)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0465028020
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0465028023
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 13 years and up
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 3.05 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 2,328 ratings

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Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and then did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and in Orissa, India. He taught at the University of Virginia for 16 years before moving to NYU-Stern in 2011. He was named one of the "top global thinkers" by Foreign Policy magazine, and one of the "top world thinkers" by Prospect magazine.

His research focuses on morality - its emotional foundations, cultural variations, and developmental course. He began his career studying the negative moral emotions, such as disgust, shame, and vengeance, but then moved on to the understudied positive moral emotions, such as admiration, awe, and moral elevation. He is the co-developer of Moral Foundations theory, and of the research site YourMorals.org. He is a co-founder of HeterodoxAcademy.org, which advocates for viewpoint diversity in higher education. He uses his research to help people understand and respect the moral motives of their enemies (see CivilPolitics.org, and see his TED talks). He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom; The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion; and (with Greg Lukianoff) The Coddling of the American Mind: How good intentions and bad ideas are setting a generation up for failure. For more information see www.JonathanHaidt.com.

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