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The BTM Book Report: ‘The Happiness Advantage’

'The Happiness Advantage' cover

About the Book
Title: The Happiness Advantage
Author: Shawn Achor
Length: 256 pages (hardcover)
Publisher: Currency
Copyright Year: 2010

Shawn Achor’s The Happiness Advantage is a book on the power of positive psychology. This isn’t to be confused with mere “positive thinking.” Rather, it focuses on real-world applications and research into the psychology of success and happiness. The author outlines how a person’s happiness is a key predictor of success in almost any domain.

Research shows that those who are primed with more positive thoughts are better at solving problems, in part due to their expanded ability to hold multiple ideas in their mind. In this way, positive emotions can make us more creative and more mentally flexible, and they can create new neural pathways for improved learning.

The author lists several key ways that a person can access these happiness advantages. Meditation is one such key. As little as five minutes per day can help lower stress, improve immune function, and raise our levels of awareness and empathy. Another happiness key is finding something to look forward to. Studies have shown that the anticipation of an enjoyable event raises people’s happiness. Intentional acts of kindness are a third surefire way to improve happiness. A fourth key that is mentioned is creating a positive environment. You might not have complete control over your surroundings at all times, but simple touches like personal items and other reminders of joy can go a long way to bring happiness and calm. Finally, exercise is mentioned as a happiness key. Study after study shows the positive benefits of physical exercise on a person’s level of happiness and performance in all areas of life.

The author uses the analogy of a fulcrum and a lever to discuss the power of having a positive mindset. The fulcrum is the power we believe we have in a situation, and the …

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