Book Report on HAPPIER by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.

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I selected this book at a time when I needed some insight into myself. What this book revealed is there is no quick or easy answer to finding happiness. It is necessary to do some serious soul searching and self-evaluation and then applying various techniques suggested to assist with a person’s quest. No one can be happier 100% of the time and like with life there are peaks and valleys and you have to have faith that you will come out of the valleys.

The author came up with 4 categories for people and it is necessary to apply the descriptions to oneself. We need to look for ourselves within these categories.

Rat Race

These people are constantly chasing goals and seeking achievements, yet once they achieve a goal or have a achieved something major they feel momentary happiness but not sustained happiness and then are off seeking that next “high.” They constantly live for the future and cannot be satisfied with the present.


These people live in the present and run from pleasure to pleasure, constantly seeking that stimulation. These people cannot feel satisfaction. They too are always seeking the next “high.”


These people have given up on happiness and no hope of achieving happiness. These people live in an environment of “learned helplessness” and cannot imagine attaining happiness.

Happiness Archetype

These people find happiness in the present and future. These people tend to be realistic in their approach to life. They are not extremists.

Professor Tal Ben-Shahar states “happiness is overall an experience of pleasure and meaning.” Happiness should be the ultimate currency, not fame or fortune and it is possible to be happy without fame or fortune by seeing work and education as a privilege and not a duty to help achieve self satisfaction and ultimately happiness.

He gives a task of making lists of items that give a person meaning, pleasure and listing strengths and then determining what items in the lists overlap and then applying those items to our lives to assist with finding our calling. This is very similar to The 3 Point Solution To Finding Your Community Niche.

Many people can find happiness when they pursue activities that provide us with meaning and pleasure and that help others. People should create a list of things that provide happiness and should refer to these items when necessary.

So overall I cannot say that I learned anything that knocked my socks off but the book helped to reinforce what I already knew to be of true of myself and gave me items to remind myself when those valleys seem too deep to climb out of.