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The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

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In his widely praised book, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines the world’s philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science, showing how a deeper understanding of 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.

297 pages, Paperback

First published December 1, 2006

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About the author

Jonathan Haidt

28 books3,152 followers
Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business. He is the author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion and The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. He lives in New York City.

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Profile Image for Paul.
50 reviews53 followers
December 6, 2021
EDITED PREAMBLE: It's been 13 years since this review and somehow it continues to be a popular introduction. Given the change in Haidt's trajectory from psychologist to pop-political and cultural commentator, this makes me a bit uncomfortable. Similar to Steven Pinker, Haidt has diverged from his area of study to become a public intellectual, pontificating confidently on on all of what ails contemporary society (mostly college kids who boo his friends at Yale). This is somewhat ironic as it's in this period that psychology has experienced a massive replication crisis. Many of the studies that provided the juicy contrarian results and takeaways for pop-psychology and behavioral economics were indeed not robust, if not fraudulent.

Looking back now, I don't warn against reading this book, but I would note that in this book and others like it are the seeds of a type of a unhelpful self-delusion, wherein you (with Haidt as your literary avatar) are able to achieve a true objective vantage to look upon society, freed from the emotions, personal interests, and unconscious biases of the common person by virtue of your rigorous mind and taste for reading William James.

In the review below, you will see the metaphor of the elephant and the rider, where the rider is the rational mind trying to rein in the emotional elephant. For Haidt, Pinker, and a broader class of the TED talk cognoscenti, they are to the masses as the rider is to the elephant. For example, in his later work Haidt serves as judge and jury of what injustices are worthy of protest. He then insists that protestors presume that institutions and people are operating in good faith (and therefore not to be criticized), while presuming, I kid you not, that these protestors are criticizing his friends at academic institutions because they have mental health issues due to poor parenting. Through it all, he appears wholly unaware that every opinion on popular culture he holds aligns entirely with the narrow economic and social interests and connections he holds, and the magnitude of every problem he considers is directly related to the extent to which it affects him and his colleagues.

In a way, his example is a helpful post-script to this book. If writing such a book on how your brain operates is not enough to free you from the biases and self-serving instincts within, reading it certainly isn't enough either. You may agree or disagree with his views on "cancel culture", but it's hard to maintain that Haidt is the humble bringer of ancient wisdom to find modern truth.

When pitching Jonathan Haidt's "Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom" to friends, I often find myself explaining away the title -- no, it's not another self-help book and yes, it's about more than just plastering a silly smile on your face. With that said, the title is appropriate; Haidt is chiefly concerned with what's responsible for making humans happy.

The title fails, however, to convey the breadth and depth of Haidt's search, which touches on philosophy, psychology, economics, evolution, and cognitive science, and skips effortlessly across the centuries, from the Stoics' philosophical minimalism to Ben Franklin's pragmatism to Robert Cialdini's work on Influence.

Haidt documents the evolution of the human mind, producing an overarching narrative that explains everything from the use of gossip and prozac to mental tendencies that steer men away from their stated values and towards self-destruction.

Along with Kluge, this book has profoundly shaped the way I view my brain. Before Haidt, I was aware that our brains appeared to systematically work against our best interest, and that these tendencies manifested in more general cognitive biases. Haidt, however, takes you behind the curtain, and provides a look at what exactly is going on in your brain and the evolutionary logic behind it. This book provided a more systematic take on cognition than the discrete observational work I had previously encountered.

My interest in correcting my cognitive failings largely emanates from my concern with my ability to grasp the truth. Haidt rightly adds that it's profoundly important to happiness in general. Cognitive therapy has allowed many to escape depression by directly attacking distortions in thought. These depressive distortions are direct relatives to those that scare up trouble in all of our lives, and Haidt provides an excellent primer on how to exorcise your cognitive demons through a few different means, thereby improving the way you think and possibly making you happier.

Profile Image for Kate Savage.
669 reviews120 followers
February 9, 2014
I could probably give this book two stars if I hadn't just got my fill of evo-psy smarm from Steven Pinker. Haidt's got the same penchant to 1) explain away the cultural status quo as a natural consequence of biological human nature; 2) present all of his ideas as scientific consensus, when there are very few non-controversial conclusions in positive psychology (it's fine for him to stick with his theory, but his disinterest in bringing up these disagreements leaves me very distrustful of him); 3) make readers shudder a little bit when they recognize the writer is coming from a space of extreme privilege and remains ignorant of the lives that most people live. He tells us his story of being a kid in Scranton, existentially depressed even though he got to drive daddy's Thunderbird, but don't worry he's found meaning now. And you can too, if you find "love, work, and connection to something larger." That's all it takes, everyone -- what excuse could you have for being sad?

The fundamental flaw in the book is the ambiguity between being a science book and a self-help book. It's valuable to point out the science supporting the idea that most happiness depends on the genetic crapshoot, and explain why this is so. But once he begins to tell the losers of this gamble what they can do to be happy anyway, I found myself becoming a crank. It bleeds quickly into the idea that people who are unhappy are 1) a problem to be fixed, and 2) in some way guilty for being that problem. He suggests that Buddhism is right, except for that whole non-attachment thing, because actually people are happier if they have stable relationships. When the entire Buddhist insight, it seems, is that there is no such thing as a 'stable' relationship, and you have to learn how to find internal peace even when death or the other ways of leaving leave you lonely. And if you don't come to peace with that, well -- really, who can? Anyone think it might be fine to be sad about that?

Haidt follows Durkheim's idea that "freedom is hazardous to your health," showing how the more social, familial, religious constraints a person has on them the less likely they'll commit suicide. But if happiness is bought only with conformity, at what point does it become irrelevant to living a life? And what if suicide is driven also by persecution directed at nonconformists? A friend sent this timely article to me which further explains why a person would be distrustful of the pursuit of happiness: http://m.chronicle.com/article/Happin...

I especially got irritated when Haidt ventured into his exploration of "divinity," as an essential piece for happiness, which he commonly equates with the purity ethic, with a Pinker-esque overemphasis on 'decency' and good manners. Though Haidt repeatedly shows that an ethic of purity is tied to racism and misogyny, he thinks it espouses a crucial 'moral dimension,' and without it it's like we're living in Flatland. He has nostalgia for the time when we had universal moral standards and people were afraid of what their neighbors would say if they stepped out of line. Haidt's happy world is achingly bland. Though he at least proposes we find some balance between keeping ourselves pure and not screwing over the oppressed, I find myself far more interested in all the activities he aligns with the Disgusting. Sex and death and bodies feel plenty sacred enough for me.

Large passages of the book are focused on the psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. While I understand the importance of figuring this out, it seemed like a distraction from his topic. It felt like he couldn't create an entire book with his one overwrought metaphor (elephant/rider), and so he took sections from his previous book The Righteous Mind to fill out the pages. Follow that with some repetition of his original ideas, and call it a book.
Profile Image for Amir Tesla.
161 reviews684 followers
June 29, 2021
درباره کتاب:
کار بزرگی که نویسنده در این کتاب انجام داده، بررسی بسیار عمیق تحقیقات علم روانشناسی مدرن و همچنین ایده ها و آموزه های اساتید و پیشوایان باستانی و مذهبی بزرگاز بودا و کنفوسیوس گرفته تا محمد برای پاسخ به این سوالات:
دلایل و شرایط رشد و شکوفایی انسان
موانع موجود بر سر راه خوشحالی
در نهایت اینکه چه طور تحت هر شرایطی، می شه راه رو برای کامیابی و داشتن یک زندگی هدفمند توام با رضایت و شادی باز کرد

ساختار کتاب
نقطه قوت این کتاب بدون شک ریسرچ بسیار عظیم و جامعی هست که نویسنده انجام داده و همچنین پیدا کردن یک فصل مشترک بین خرد باستانی وعلم روانشناسی.
کتاب با شرح مختصری از کارکرد ذهن شروع می شه. پیش زمینه هایی که برای درک بهتر یافته های روانشناختی لازم هست. این پیش زمینه شامل دو حقیقت زیر می شه:
این که مغز انسام شامل قسمت های مجزایی هست که کارکردهای متفاوت و حتی متداخل باهم دارن و از تمثیل یک سوارکار بر روی یک فیل استفاده می کنه که در اینجا سوارکار بخش منطقی و آگاه مغز و اون فیل، بخش احساسی و سرکش ذهن هست که سوارکار صرفا با استفاده از زور بازو نمی تونه اون رو کنترل کنه.

دومین ایده، حقیقتی هست که بزرگانی مثل شکسپیر و بودا به روش های متفاوت بیان کردند:
There is nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so.

بخش دوم کتاب دو ایده بزرگ دیگه از بعد اجتماعی بررسی می کنه. یکی تقابل یا مقابله به مثل و دیگری دو رویی و به خواننده یاد می ده چه طور با شناختشون ازشون بهره ببریم و در عین حال از گزندهایی که بالقوه به همراه دارن در امان باشیم.

از اینجا به بعد کتاب شروع می کنه به پاسخ دادن به این سوال که: خوشحالی از کجا نشئت می گیره و برای پاسخ دادن به این سوال، فرضیه هایی که تا کنون برای رسیدن به خوشحالی ارائه شدن رو بررسی می کنه. فرضیه هایی چون:
1. خوشحالی از رسیدن به چیزهایی که می خواهیم حاصل می شه
در مورد این فرضیه نشون می ده که تحقیقات ثابت می کنن این دسته از خوشحالی ها عمر بسیار کوتاهی دارن. اما یک فرضیه قوی تر این هست که :
2. خوشحالی از درون آدمی سرچشمه می یره و با مجبور کردن دنیا به تن دادن خواسته های ما حاصل نمی شه
این فرضیه مبغانی زیادی داره از بوداییان گرفته تا فیلسوف های رواقی. در این خصوص نویسنده جمع بندی بسیار جالبی رو ارائه می کنه که بخش دوم این فرضیه که عوامل بیرونی تاثیری در خوشحالی ندارند رو رد می کنه و نشون می ده که چه طور عواملی مثل ارتباطات اجتماعی می تونه باعث قلیان خوشحالی و رضایت بشه.

در بخش بعدی، کتاب به سراغ شرایطی می ره که باعث رشد و کمال انسان می شه و این جمله از نیچه که می گه: "چیزی که تو رو نکشه، قوی ترت می کنه" رو نقطه شروع این بررسی قرار می ده و دو جنبه متفاوت اتفاقات ناگوار در زندگی رو بررسی می کنه:
Post traumatic disorder
Post traumatic Growth

در ادامه، نویسنده بعد زندگی انسان از جنبه های فضیلت، و اخلاق نقد می کنه و نشون می ده چرا توصیه بزرگان باستان در خصوص پرورش فضیلت ها می تونه هم زمان باعث رشد و خوشحالی فرد بشه.

نهایتا در بخش آخر نویسنده به این سوال حیاتی پاسخ می ده که چرا یه عده در زندگیشون موفق می شن معنا و مفهومی برای خودشون پیدا کنن و یک عمر رو با دست آوردها و خوشبختی سپری کنن در حالی که اغلب چنین روی خوشی از زندگی رو نمی بینند.

:بررسی و محتوا
این کتاب از نظر محتوا واقعا غنی هست و چشم من رو روی حقیقت بسیاری از مسائل باز كرد.
اینکه ژن، چقدر می تونه تمایلات انسان رو مثل خط روی سنگ هک کرده باشه و رفتارهای مار و تعیین کنه
اینکه چرا ثروت مازاد بر تامین نیازهای اولیه هیچ خوشحالی نمی تونه به زندگی اضافه کنه و جهل به این موضوع بدتر باعث افزایش مداوم استرس بشه
چرا بچه ها دوستان خانوادگی را با عنوانین عمو یا خاله صدا می کنن
چرا تکامل طبیعت، تمایل برای شایعه کردن و غیبت کردن در انسان شکل داده
این که چرا رازداری از نظر روانی کار سختی برای آدم هست
چرا مردم از رسوایی دیگران یک حس درونی خوب پیدا می کنن و خبر های این رسوایی ها محور برنامه های سرگرم کننده هستند
چه طور تفکر سفید یا سیاه (صفر و یکی) در خصوص آدم ها باعث کشتارهای و جنایات عظیمی در دنیا شده
چرا احساس عشق به وجود میاد و چرا آدم عاشق نمی تونه درست تصمیم بگیره و در نهایت چرا این عشق سوزان بعد از وصال از بین می ره و نقطه ای سر خط می شه برای آغاز واقع بینی و اغلب مشکلات.
چه طور پیدایش حس انزجار هم زمان موجب پیدایش مراسم و آیین های مذهبی شده و نفس این موضوع مثل یک شمشیر دو لبه باعث تعامل (درون گروهی) و تقابل و نهایتا دگر ستیزی شده

گزیده های شگفت انگیز و بیدار کننده کتاب

0. نیم کره چپ مغز که زبان رو مدیریت می کنه مفسری هست که کارش داستان سر هم کردن هست. مثلا اگر عبارت "راه برو" (با تکنیکی خاص) به نیم کره راست (که زبان رو نمی فهمه) نشون داده بشه، شخص بلند می شه و راه می ره و خودش متوجه نیست. جالب اینکه وقتی ازش پرسیده بشه چرا بلند شدی راه بری، نیم کره چپ یه داستان سر هم می کنه: مثلا می خوام برم یه لیوان چایی بریزم.

1. برای گرفتن تصیمات هوشمندانه و درست، احساسات نقشه بسیار مهمی رو ایفا می کنن. بر خلاف تصور عموم نداشتن احساس نه تنها منجر به تصمیمات منطقی نمی شه، بلکه فرد رو دچار فلج تصمیم گیری می کنه.

2. به طول کلی ما یک مغز احساسی داریم که اون رو تشبیه به فیل می کنند و یک بخش منطقی که خیر و صلاح امور رو می خواد برای شخص و تشبیهش می کنن به سوار کاری بر روی فیل. حالا اگر فیل به طور مثال دلش غذای شیرین و چرب بخواد، سوارکار صرفا با اتکا به قوه اراده نمی تونه مسیر فیل رو عوض کنه و راهش اینه که با گول زدن یا منحرف کردن فیل (فکر کردن به عواقب اون غذا یا حتی یک چیز مشمئز کننده) اون رو از دنبال کردن خواستش منصرف کرد.

3. ژنتیک و محیط، باعث می شه نسبت به مسائل مختلف از مذهب گرفته تا گرایش های مختلف سیاسی و یا یک نقاشی، احساس خاصی از قبل براشون تعریف شده. مثلا یک نقاشی رو می بینیم و خوشمون میاد، اما وقتی از ما پرسیده می شه چرا؟ نیم کره چپ شروع می کنه به دلیل سر هم کردن. به همین خاطر نمی شه در خصوص مسائل اخلاقی و ... با افراد منطقی صحبت کرد. چرا که اساسا اون موضعی که دارند رو در مرحله اول با منطق و استددلال انتخاب نکردن.

4. Nothing is miserable unless you think it so; and on the other hand, nothing brings happiness unless you are content with it. (Buddha)

5. مغز ما طوری طراحی شده که به طور کلی واکنش ما نسبت به مسائل منفی پنج برابر قوی تر از مسائل مثبت هست. مثلا در بحث ازدواج، برای جبران یک اشتباه مخرب، حداقل پنج اقدام مثبت و پر رنگ لازم هست.

6. وقتی که به خاطر یک اتفاقا می ترسیم یا احساس بدی پیدا می کنیم، این احساسات مثل یک فیلتر جلو دید ما قرار می گیرن و از اون نقطه به بعد همه چیز رو بد و منفی تفسیر می کنیم.
So when Shakespeare's Hamlet later offers his own paraphrase of Marcus Aurelius—" There is nothing either good or had but thinking makes it so." he is right, but he might have added that his negative emotions are 'making his thinking make everything bad' :)

7. تحقیقات نشون می ده که تا 80 درصد خوشحال بودن افراد، توسط ژن و فعالیت مغزیشون تعیین شده و قابل اندازه گیری هست. افراد مثبت فعالیت مغزشون در نیم کره چپ بیشتر هست و هنگام تولد با اندازه گیری این فعالیت ها می شه گفت که این کودک آیا در آینده فردی خوش بین و خوشحال خواهد بود یا خیر. به این وضعیت روانی می گویند:
Affective Style (Affect refers to the felt or experienced part of emotion)
اما خبر خوب این هست که این افکتیو استایل رو می شه باروش های زیر تغییر داد:
I. Meditation
II. Cognitive Therapy
III. Prozac

8. we often use reasoning not to find the truth but to invent arguments to support our deep and intuitive beliefs (residing in the elephant)

9. برای درمان افسردگی به کمک روش دوم یعنی درمان شناختی شرایط زیر باید محقق شوند:
ابتدا افراد باید خود آگاهیی خود را بالا ببرند و افکاری که به ذهنشان می رسند را شناسایی کنند
آن ها را یادداشت کنند
برای انحرافات و احساسات نامی انتخاب کنند
و سپس راه های بهتر و سازنده تری برای فکر کردن در خصوص آن موضوع پیدا کنند

10. چیزی که برای خود نمی پسندی برای دیگران هم مپسند. کنفوسیوس (یادمه کتاب دینی پنجم دبستان این رو نقل قول از حضرت علی کرده بود)

11. شایعه، یک مکانیسم دفاعی و حفظ بقا هست که توسط تکامل در انسان ایجاد شده و تضمین کننده این هست که هر فردی به اصول عدالت پایبند بمونه. اگر شخصی تقلب کرد یا با خودخواهی سهم دیگران را از آن خود می کرد، غیبت کردن در خصوص وی راهی بود برای رسوایی و باز داشتن او.

Dunbar suggests that language evolved as a replacement for physical grooming. Language allows small groups of people to bond quickly and to learn from each other about the bonds of others. Dunbar notes that people do in fact use language primarily to talk about other people, to find out who is doing what to whom, who is coupling with whom, who is fighting with whom. And Dunbar points out that in our ultrasocial species, success is largely a matter of playing the social game well. It's not what you know, it's who you know. In short, Dunbar proposes that language evolved because it enabled gossip.

12. We are motivated to pass on infor- mation to our friends; we even sometimes say, " I can't keep it in, I have to tell somebody." And when you do pass on a piece of juicy gossip, what hap- pens? Your friend's reciprocity reflex kicks in and she feels a slight pressure to return the favor. If she knows something about the person or event in question, she is likely to speak up: " O h really? Well, I heard that he . . ." Gossip elicits gossip, and it enables us to keep track of everyone's reputa- tion without having to witness their good and bad deeds personally. Gossip creates a non-zero-sum game because it costs us nothing to give each other information, yet we both benefit by receiving information.

13. Gossip is a policeman and a teacher. Without it, there would be chaos and ignorance.

14. Scandal is great entertainment because it allows people to feel contempt, a moral emotion that gives feelings of moral superiority while asking nothing in return.

15. In real life, you don't react to what someone did; you react only to what you think she did, and the gap between action and perception is bridged by the art of impression management. If life itself is but what you deem it, then why not focus your efforts on persuading others to believe that you are a virtuous and trustworthy cooperator? Thus Niccolo Machiavelli, whose name has become synonymous with the cunning and amoral use of power, wrote five hundred years ago that " the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are."

16. در خصوص فکر کردن، انسان ابتدا موضع می گیره و بعد به دنبال دلایلی برای توجیه اون موضع می گرده و به محض پیدا کردن ابتدایی ترین دلایل، فکر کردن را متوقف می کنند.

17. آدم ها در تخمین میزان فضیلت های خودشون به شدت اغراق می کنند، اما در خصوص قضاوت کردن در خصوص فضایل اخلاقی دیگران و پیش بینی عملکردشون در خصوص یک مورد اخلاقی یا خیریه، نسبتا دقیق عمل می کنند.
We judge others by their behavior, but we think we have special information about ourselves— we know what we are " really like" inside, so we can easily find ways to explain away our selfish acts and cling to the illusion that we are better than others.

18. هنگام مقایسه کردن خودمون با بقیه در خصوص موضوعی که قوانینش و معیارهاش مبهم باشند، این ابهام به ما اجازه می ده مقایسه رو به نحوی که به نفع خودمون هست انجام بدیم و در نیتجه دنبال شواهدی بگردیم که ثابت کنه ما بهتر همکاری و نقش ایفا می کنیم.
پس وقتی که فکر می کنیم عدالت در حقمون رعایت نمی شه (مثلا در انجام کارهای خونه) باید با دقت و عمق بیشتری نگاه کنیم. چرا که معیار سنجش ما اون بخش از کارهایی هست که خودمون بهش علاقه داریم و همین باعث می شه متوجه سهمی که بقیه در حوزه های دیگه ایفا می کنند رو نا دیده بگیریم.

19. Most people have an inflated view of themselves. Be realistic!" they refuse, muttering to themselves, " Well, other people may be biased, but I really am above average on leadership."
This phenomenon is called "naive realism" : Each of us thinks we see the world directly, as it really is. We further believe that the facts as we see them are there for all to see, therefore others should agree with us. If they don't agree, it follows either that they have not yet been exposed to the relevant facts or else that they are blinded by their interests and ideologies.

20. یکی از جالب ترین نکات کتاب موضوع زیر هست:
The myth of pure evil:
we have a deep need to understand violence and cruelty through what is called " the myth of pure evil." Of this myth's many parts, the most important are that evildoers are pure in their evil motives (they have no motives for their actions beyond sadism and greed); victims are pure in their victimhood (they did nothing to bring about their victimization); and evil comes from outside and is associated with a group or force that attacks our group. Furthermore, anyone who questions the application of the myth, who dares muddy the waters of moral certainty, is in league with evil.
The myth of pure evil is the ultimate self-serving bias, the ultimate form of naive realism. And it is the ultimate cause of most long-running cycles of violence because both sides use it to lock themselves into a Manichaean struggle.
The Pursuit of Happiness:

1. Pleasure comes more from making progress toward goals than from achieving them. Shakespeare captured it perfectly: " Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing."

2. The Adaptation Principle:
Whatever happens, you're likely to adapt to it, but you don't realize up front that you will. We are bad at " affective forecasting," that is, predicting how we'll feel in the future. We grossly overestimate the intensity and the duration of our emotional reactions. Within a year, lottery winners and paraplegics have both (on average) returned most of the way to their baseline levels of happiness.

3. Hedonic treadmill
In every permanent situation, where there is no expectation of change, the mind of every man, in a longer or shorter time, returns to its natural and usual state of tranquility. In prosperity, after a certain time, it falls back to that state; in adversity, after a certain time, it rises up to it.

4. A good marriage is one of the life-factors most strongly and consistently associated with happiness. Part of this apparent benefit comes from " reverse correlation" : Happiness causes marriage. Happy people marry sooner and stay married longer than people with a lower happiness setpoint, both because they are more appealing as dating partners and because they are easier to live with as spouses. But much of the apparent benefit is a real and lasting benefit of dependable companionship, which is a basic need.

Happiness formula:

H = S + C + V where:
S = Set point (our biological state of happiness)
C = Conditions
V = Voluntary actions

There are only few external Circumstances that can lead to a higher level of happiness which are as follows:

1. Noise: Noisy, especially noise that is variable or intermittent, interferece with concentration and ancreases stress. It's worth striving to remove sources of noise in your life (especially if you leave near a noise-polluted area like in proximity of traffic light.

2. Commuting: Even after years of commuting, those whose commutes are traffic-filled still arrive at work with higher levels of stress hormones. So striving to improve your commutes is rewarded by removing the related anxieties involved.

3. Lack of control: One of the active ingredients of noise and traffic is that you can't control them. Having an increased sense of having control over what you do, significantly improves your well being.

4. Shame: Body-related deficiencies (what the person deems as so) like small breasts in case of women makes them self-aware of this fact while providing them with constant anxiety. Being free from such daily burdens may lead to a lasting increase in self-confidence and well-being as patients who underwent cosmetic surgeries repeatedly reported.

5. Relationships: The condition that is usually said to trump all others in importance is the strength and number of a person's relationships. One never adapts to interpersonal conflict; it damages every day, even days when you don't see the other person but ruminate about the conflict nonetheless.

Now the important question, what is the best V in the happiness formula?
It is the actions you act upon that taps into your signature strengths, I refer you to my review on "Authentic happiness" the book from which this section was written.

What kind of monetary action makes us happy?
There are two types of expenditures: conspicuous and inconspicuous, the former involves purchasing goods and materials, while the latter involves buying experiences like going on a vacation or to a theater with friends. It's been reported and proven that inconspicuous purchases make people more happy and that the happiness derived, stays much longer while adds a new shade the person's life :)

To be continued... :D
Profile Image for Richard.
1,147 reviews1,043 followers
February 15, 2016
As I was reading the first few chapters, I put this book on my “to buy” list, but my enthusiasm ebbed as I finished the book, and my natural inclination not to buy books I never expect to re-read has taken over.

But it’s still a book I think I can recommend: it has plenty of interesting and thoughtful points to make, a few that are confusing and disconcerting, as well as some advice towards the front of the book.

The early chapters have a bit of a “self-help” feel that dissipates further into the book. (BTW, A or B ?) But since Haidt substantiates his advice with a great deal of neurological evidence and complements it with some “ancient wisdom”, it isn’t too sappy.

For example, he points out that a majority of us “lost the cortical lottery” and see the world through dun-colored glasses for a good reason: pessimism was a survival trait to our paleolithic ancestors. If you hear a rustling in the brush and worry that it’s not a tasty rabbit but a nasty panther, your caution may save your life. Folks too naturally optimistic tended not to survive many of those circumstances, I guess.

He tells us why that cortical disability can be ruinous, and then explains why each of the three current prescriptions works: meditation, cognitive therapy, and SSRIs. As a glass-half-empty person myself, I’m cognitively meditating on the appeal of SSRIs after that.

Most of the rest of the book isn’t self-help at all, but an extended exploration of the many factors that contribute to what makes us happy. Some of these discussions go far afield, such as into altruism and theories of reciprocity, or into the need for a coherent connection to “something greater”. Near the end of the book, Haidt delves into one of his research topics: the cognitive axis of disgust-to-sacredness. His discussions of how this is related to politic ideology is interesting, but when he seems to be arguing that humans will inevitably suffer if they leave the need for the sacred unattended to, he gets a little confusing.

At the end of the book he returns to one of my pet favorite themes, and explores how moral authority and religiosity arose through evolutionary processes.

Perhaps the most memorable take-away is the powerful metaphor of “the rider and the elephant”. The rider is our conscious self, our narrator; the elephant is the subconscious, which too often follows a path that ignores the rider’s directions. Well, actually while I’m pretty sure the metaphor is about conscious-vs-subconscious, other readers I’ve discussed this with have argued for other dichotomies: will-vs-instinct, or intellect-vs-emotion. I’m not sure Haidt uses the metaphor precisely the same way all the time — one of the problems with using a metaphor, after all — but I think the first is still the strongest reading.

All in all, an excellent addition to the Cognition bookshelf.
Profile Image for Maziyar Yf.
532 reviews280 followers
April 28, 2023

تپیدن‌های دل‌ها ناله شد آهسته آهسته
رساتر گر شود این ناله‌ها فریاد می‌گردد

کتاب فرضیه خوشبختی نوشته جاناتان هایت ، یک اثر به شدت عمیق و تفکر برانگیز است که نویسنده تلاش کرده به پرسش های بسیار مهم فلسفی از قبیل خوشبختی چیست ؟ کجا می توان آنرا پیدا کرد ؟ زندگی و معنای آن چیست ؟ پاسخ دهد . هایت برای یافتن جواب نظریه های کهن را درباره هدفمندی بیرون کشیده اما از تحقیقات جدید هم استفاده کرده . به گفته او کلمه های خردمندانه یا معنای زندگی هر روز بارها و بارها از سرمان می گذرند اما نتیجه یا تغییری برای ما ندارند . او در این کتاب می خواهد این مفاهیم را زیر سوال برده ، آنها را اصلاح کرده و به گونه ای آنها را در زندگی روزانه وارد کند . هدف بسیار مهم او در کتاب این است .
هایت بارها و بارها از نظریه های متفکران گذشته مانند بودا ، افلاطون ، رواقیون و حضرت عیسی استفاده کرده و تعاریف ونظریه های آنان را بررسی می کند ، او نکات مثبت تفکرات آنها را در بستر روان شناسی مدرن ، به گونه ای امروزی برون کشیده است .

فیل و فیل سوار یا فیل یا فیل سوار ؟
هایت بخش تحلیل گر و منطقی ذهن انسان را فیل سوار و احساسات را فیل در نظر گرفته است . در نگاه اول به نظر می رسد که فیل سوار است که هدایت فیل را در دست دارد اما این گونه نیست . در حقیقت فیل یا احساسات وزن وقدرت بسیار بیشتری نسبت به عقل و منطق داشته و در حقیقت تا زمانی قدرت دست فیل سوار است که فیل عزم واراده ای برای دنبال خواسته های خود ندارد . زمانی که فیل قصد انجام کاری را داشته باشد آن وقت فیل سوار تقریبا هیچ کاره است . بنابراین فیل سوار رهبر یا پادشاهی که تمام قدرت را در دست دارد نیست . او یک مشاور و خدمتگذار است . اگر فیل سوار تفکرکنترل شده و آگاها��ه باشد فیل در مقابل نماد هر چیز دیگر است .فیل و فیل سوار هر کدام هوش خود را دارند و وقتی هر دو با هم خوب کار می کنند سبب شکفته شدن استعداد بی همتای بشر می شوند . اما مشکل این است که معمولا چندان هماهنگ نبوده و خوب با هم کار نمی کنند . بنابراین گفته دیوید هیوم ، فیلسوف سرشناس اسکاتلندی که عقل را برده بی چون و چرا احساسات می داند می تواند تا اندازه ای منطق جان هایت را نشان دهد . پس دانستن و پذیرش این اصل که هوشیاری ، منطق و عقل آن چنان هم که به نظر می رسد تصمیم گیرنده نهایی نیستند می تواند به انسان کمک کند که دست از تلاش بیهوده در هدایت فیل برداشته و به جای آن از مجموعه ای از ابزار کمک بگیرد .
قرعه کشی قشری مغز
چرا برخی بیشتر خوشحال هستند ؟ چگونه این افراد اضطراب کمتری داشته و کمتر افسرده می شوند ؟
پاسخ هایت به پرسش فوق شگفت انگیز است . از نگاه او افرادی که میزان بیشتری امواج خاص مغزی از سمت چپ پیشانی شان دریافت می کنند در مقایسه با افرادی که امواج را از سمت راست دریافت می کنند ، شادتر بوده و کمتر احساس ترس ، اضطراب و خجالت می کنند. اما قشر راستی ها در مواجهه با موقعیت های جدید اضطراب بیشتری داشته و از قرارهای عاشقانه و فعالیت های اجتماعی ترس و هراس دارند . بنابراین در این بخت آزمایی بسیار مهم قشر چپی ها زندگی را با برگ برنده شادی و خوشحالی شروع کرده و از قشر راستی ها جلو هستند . با انجام آزمونی ساده خواننده می تواند بفهمد که قشر راستی هستند یا قشر چپی ( من قشر راستی هستم ) . هایت این عقب ماندگی را جدی اما قابل برطرف شدن و یا دست کم بهبود می داند . او سه روش شناخت درمانی ، مراقبه و درمان با دارو ( پروزک ) را پیشنهاد کرده و در ادامه کتاب با صبر و حوصله این روشها را شرح می دهد . او اعتقاد دارد هر سه درمان باید به آسانی در دسترس باشند . هایت تا پایان فصل دو این گونه نتیجه گیری کرده که زندگی چیزی نیست جز همان که تصور می شود و می توان با مراقبه ، شناخت درمانی و پروزاک دید نسبت به زندگی را بهبود بخشید .
معادله خوشبختی
شاید اصل کتاب را بتوان فرمول خوشبختی یا فرمول شادی دانست که هایت آنرا یکی از نظریه های بسیار مهم در روان شناسی مثبت گرا می داند . فرمولی که روان شناسانی همانند لوبومیرسکی ، شلدون و شکاد به آن دست یافته اند :
خوشبختی = وضعیت بیولوژیکی فرد + شرایط زندگی فرد + فعالیت های داوطلبانه فرد
آشکار است که وضعیت بیولوژیکی فرد به عوامل ژنتیکی وابسته است که کنترل آنها در اختیار ما نیست از این رو هایت به دو فاکتور مهم دیگر در فرمول شادی پرداخته در شرایط زندگی تا اندازه ای و در فعالیت های داوطلبانه فرد کاملا در اختیار او قرار دارند . نویسنده به مجموعه ای از تغییرها در زندگی اشاره کرده که کمک می کنند تا مدت بیشتری انسان شاد بماند . این عوامل پرهیز از آلودگی صوتی ، دوری از ترافیک ، رهایی از حس خجالت و البته تعداد و قدرت روابط شخصی انسان است .

اما شرح فعالیت های داوطلبانه فرد کمی سخت تر است و برای درک آن ابتدا باید به مفهوم غرقگی و یافتن آن پی برد . میهای چیک سنت نیهای روان شناس مجاری غرقگی را غرق شدن در کار چالش بر انگیزی که کاملا با توانایی های فرد مطابقت دارد می داند . اما برای رسیدن به غرقگی هم باید تفاوت لذت و رضایت را شناخت .لذت ها شعف هایی هستند که حس های واضح و بخش های اساسی قوی دارند . مانند حسی که پس از خوردن غذا یا رابطه جنسی دریافت می شود اما رضایت مندی ها فعالیت هایی هستند که انسان را کاملا در خود درگیر کرده و به او اجازه می دهد که از خود بی خود شوند .بنابراین رضایت است که می تواند غرقگی ایجاد کند نه لذت .
ابراز قدردانی و مهربانی ، نداشتن وابستگی مادیات از دیگر فعالیت هایی هستند که می توانند رضایت را افزایش داده و در نهایت به افزایش خوشحالی منجر شوند .

افسانه مدرن عشق
بدون شک عشق نقش بسیار مهمی در رضایت و خوشحالی دارد . اما عشق باید وابسته به یار و نه آتشین باشد . عشق آتشین عشقی ایست که انسان ناگهان به دامش می افتد . پیکان طلایی عشق به قلب برخورد کرده و در یک لحظه دنیای اطراف تغییر شکل می دهد ولی عشق وابسته به یار عشق به کسانی ایست که زندگی آنان با هم عمیقا در هم تنیده شده ، تشبیه مناسب برای عشق وابسته به یار درخت تاک است ، عشاق مثل آن با هم رشد کرده ، در هم تنیده شده و به هم پیوند می خورند . برخلاف عشق آتشین که معمولا از اوج سقوط می کند و فرجام خوشی ندارد عشق وابسته به یار می تواند مادام العمر ادامه داشته باشد . بنابراین عشق وابسته به یار است که سبب رضایت و خوشحالی می شود .
چیزی که مرا نکشد قوی ترم می کند ؟
از نگاه هایت ، کلام نیچه نمی تواند دقیقا درست باشد . افرادی که با خطرهای واقعی روبرو بوده و یا شاهد مرگ خشونت بار دیگران بوده اند گاهی به اختلال اضطراب پس از سانحه یا همان پی تی اس دی دچار می شوند . یعنی آنان به آسانی مضطرب شده ، به راحتی ترسیده و گاهی هم از هم می پاشند . از طرفی دیگر تحقیقات نشان داده که عوامل استرس زا به شدت برای سلامتی خطرناک بوده و این عوامل سبب افسردگی و بیماری قلبی می شوند . هایت در مقایسه مستقیم با اختلال پس از سانحه ، مفهوم رشد پس از سانحه یا فایده بدبختی را طرح می کند .طبق نگاه نویسنده بدبختی برای آن که بیشترین میزان سودمند�� را داشته باشد باید در زمان مناسبی ( جوانی ) پیش بیابد ، میزان آن مناسب و بسیار شدید نباشد .
برکت نیکوکاری یا زیستن بر مبنای فضیلت
در هر فرهنگی می توان دست کم چند صفحه متونی که مسیر و جهت آن فرهنگ را به سمت اخلاقیات نشان می دهد پیدا کرد . گرچه قوانین و آیین ها در فرهنگ ها متفاوت بوده اما این مسیرها با هم نقاط مشترک زیادی دارند . خیلی از فضائل مانند صداقت ، عدالت ، جرات ، خیرخواهی ، خویشتن داری و احترام در بیشتر فرهنگ ها باارزش تلقی می شوند . هایت هم فضیلت را در پرورش و تربیت و تمرین روزانه فیل یا همان احساسات می داند . فیل سوار هم باید در تمرین مشارکت داشته باشد . تمرینی که شامل مهارت های درک اجتماعی و احساس اجتماعی باشد از نگاه هایت سبب تشخیص و انجام خودکار کار درست خواهد شد .
الوهیت با خدا یا بی خدا
هایت زندگی روزمره غیرمذهبی را حرکت در دو بعد سلسله مراتب و صمیمیت می داند . او رفتن به کلیسا را برای بسیاری از آمریکایی ها لذتی می داند که به آنها فرصت صعود یا بالارفتن و حرکت در بعد سوم یعنی الوهیت را می دهد . عشقی که از این حرکت تعالی تولید می شود عشق الهی و همانند عشق به نوع بشر است . هایت جامعه علمی و لیبرال ها را به پذیرش مذهبی بودن به عنوان یک جنبه عادی و سالم طبیعت انسان فرا می خواند البته او مخالف به زور هل دادن افراد به سمت بعد سوم است و آنرا خطری بزرگ مشابه آنچه پیشتر بر سر افراد امده می داند .
شادی در تعادل است
هایت برای اثبات مفهوم شادی از تعادل می اید به سوال ابتدا کتاب بعنی معنای زندگی چیست بازگشته. هایت پاسخی برای این پرسش ندارد . او این سوال را به دو زیر مجموعه تقسیم کرده است . اولی سوال در مورد هدف زندگی مانند چرا این جا هستیم ؟ بوده و دومی هدف درون زندگی مانند پرسش چطور باید زندگی کنم ؟ هست .
پاسخ پرسش نخست از نگاه هایت مشخص بوده و می توان آنرا یا با اعتقاد به خدا و یا معنویت و یا باور داشتن به جهانی مادی جواب داد . اما سوال دوم جواب کاملت��ی نیاز دارد . هایت با استفاده از هرم مازلو به این سوال پاسخ داده که زمانی که نیازهای فیزیکی انسان مانند غذا و امنیت برآورده شود او به سراغ عشق و اعتماد به نفس که از طریق کار به دست می آید می رود . بنابراین عشق و کار پاسخ هایت به پرسش دوم است . او کار را در صورتی که بر مبنای نقطه قوت انتخاب شده باشد و به فرد توان احساس غرقگی بدهد را بسیار مفید و حیاتی می داند .در این حالت است که کار به حرفه یا مفهوم ارتباط ، سهیم بودن و تعهد تبدیل می شود.
حال ، هایت آنچه را که بودا و اپیکتتوس رواقی تصور می کردند را رد می کند ، شادی تنها از درون نمی آید ، به صورت ترکیبی از عوامل بیرونی و درونی هم نیست . شادی از تعادل می آید .
در پایان این ریویو باید بگویم که کمتر کتابی مانند فرضیه خوشبختی جان هایت می توان پیدا کرد که سطر سطر آن پر معنی ، جذاب و عمیق باشد . جان هایت با کلامی ساده مفهومی عمیق و شاید بسیار عمیق خلق کرده . کتاب او نمای دیگری از زندگی و معنای آن به انسان نشان داده و او را وادار به تفکردر این شرایط سخت می کند .
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,302 reviews22.1k followers
August 12, 2009
First of all there is a tone to this book that I thought from the beginning was really going to be a problem for me. I guess that is the tone of self-help books. All the same, this book was much more interesting and much more challenging (at least, to me) than most other self-help books I’ve read. I actually found parts of this book quite confronting.

The parts of this book that I liked the most were those where he was discussing his elephant and rider metaphor. Essentially, he believes that we are part instinctual creatures and part rational agent – however, we like to believe that the rational agent (the rider) is in control, whereas the rider is sitting on top of an elephant that rarely sleeps and that has desires and needs that the rider does not always recognise or acknowledge. In the long run the elephant will get its way unless the rider recognises the elephants desires and seeks to redirect them. The rider can only do this, according to this book, by meditation, therapy or drugs.

The other bit I found interesting was the stuff on Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow – which I’ve recently bought, but haven’t gotten around to reading. The idea that if you do what you love (Aristotle’s arête) that you don’t notice time and that this is the source of happiness (Aristotle’s eudemonia).

I also really liked that this book presses home the idea that we are a social animal and that as a social animal we really do need to make contact with other animals of our species to be happy. As someone who spends a lot of time alone this was one of the areas of the book that I did find personally challenging. The other challenging bits, as I’ve mentioned, where were he talked about doing work that was not directed towards your main strengths and interests.

There were parts of this book that didn’t quite work for me. The stuff on religion in particular. It is an interesting point, of course, that religious people tend to be happier than those without religion, but I didn’t feel I came away from reading this section with anything like a good understanding of why that should necessarily be the case or if seeking to be more like religious people would make people without religion more happy or even if that would be a good thing. As someone without religion I can see how having a belief that there is someone (an infinite father figure, generally) watching over you and who is concerned for your well-being, would be a comfort and would probably promote happiness. But even then perhaps not if life started going badly. Some of the things that happen in life are awful and perhaps I’m better off being able to put those things down to pure chance than if I was religious (and assuming I would also remain logically consistent) also having to blame those things on a God who had it in for me for some reason.

Where this book is particularly good is in challenging the movement we have towards working longer hours that seems to have taken over our lives. He points out that people are at their happiest when they are with family and friends, and yet our endless pursuit of wealth and career success takes us away from those we love the most and also where we are most happy. As he points out, this doesn’t make much sense.

So, what is the secret to happiness? Well, surround yourself with people you love, find out what engages your interest and do that, have control over what you do, don’t live in the suburbs where you have to commute to work for hours every day, create ‘religious’ spaces in your life where you value things as holy and do things to connect with both your physical self and with society at large.

See, it’s remarkably easy…

I still think Stumbling on Happiness was a better book, but this one was worth the read.
Profile Image for Maede.
287 reviews412 followers
November 20, 2022
فرضیه‌ی خوشبختی بدون شک از بهترین کتاب‌هاییه که در مورد این موضوع خوندم. اما این تجربه‌ی عمیق از مطالعه‌ی این کتاب رو مدیون چیزی بیشتر از خود کتابم: بوک‌کلابمون، لگو

این بوک‌کلاب فضایی بود که همیشه دوست داشتم بتونم ایجادش کنم. جایی که هر هفته آنلاین به انگلیسی در مورد کتاب‌ها صحبت کنیم و فصل به فصل وارد عمق کتاب بشیم. دوست داشتم یک کتاب زبان مشترک بین من و چند نفر آدم بشه که براساسش بتونیم با هم تبادل نظر کنیم

کتاب فرضیه خوشبختی جاناتان هایت شاید بهترین کتابی بود که می‌تونستیم باهاش شروع کنیم. نویسنده در دو منبع که در نگاه اول با هم در تضاد هستند به دنبال راه‌های خوشبختی و درک بهترش گشته و اون‌ها در کنار هم گذاشته: کتب باستانی و دینی و تحقیقات علمی. ترکیب این دو تا همراه با نویسندگی فوق‌العاده‌ی هایت کتابی شده که با شما درباره‌ی جوانب مختلف خوشبختی صحبت می‌کنه

در فصل اول از این میگه که هر فرد چطور از بخش‌های مختلفی تشکیل شده و این تکه‌ها گاهی با هم در تضادند
فصل دوم در این مورده که آیا ذهن قابل تغییره و چطور باید این کار رو انجام داد
فصل سوم
در مورد اهمیت بده بستان با انسان‌ها و رابطه‌ی متقابله
فصل چهارم
در مورد اینه که ما چطور همیشه دیگران رو مقصر مشکلاتمون می‌دونیم
فصل پنج
در مورد روش‌هاییه که ما سعی می‌کنیم توسط اون‌ها خوشبختی رو در زندگیمون پیدا کنیم و اینکه چرا به هر چیزی در نهایت عادت می‌کنیم
فصل ششم
درباره‌ی انواع عشق و وابستگیه و توضیح میده که این دو چه اهمیتی در خوشبختی ما دارند
فصل هفتم
در مورد فواید مشکلات و سختی‌های زندگیه. آیا از بدبختی ممکنه خوشبختی حاصل بشه؟
فصل هشتم
در مورد پیدا کردن خوشبختی در اخلاقیات و انجام دادن کار خوبه

جاناتان هایت در ابتدای کتاب وجود انسان رو به فیل و سوارکاری تمثیل می‌کنه که غرایز و افکار هر فرد رو می‌سازند. شاید کار کردن ما با این مثال فیل و سوارکار در هر فصل کتاب بهترین ابزاری بود که نویسنده برای مکالمه و درک عمیق‌تر بهمون داد و باعث شد که با این ذره‌بین به تک‌تک موضوعات بالا بپردازیم

این اولین تجربه‌ی بودن من در یک بوک‌کلاب نیست. ولی اولین باریه که تونستم بخش به بخش و گاهی خط به خط راجع به یک کتاب صحبت کنم و کتاب رو وسیله‌ای برای چیزی بزرگتر ببینم
community فرصت ارتباط و ایجاد

اگر دوست داشتید بهمون جوین شید و کتاب بعدی رو باهامون بخونید حتماً به من بگید. خوشحال می‌شیم جمعمون بزرگتر بشه

Profile Image for Nyamka Ganni.
262 reviews118 followers
March 8, 2016
If you are in passionate love and want to celebrate your passion, read poetry. If your ardor has calmed and you want to understand your evolving relationship, read psychology. But if you have just ended a relationship and would like to believe you are better off without love, read philosophy. and if you are unsure about what category falls for you, just read this book! :D
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,283 followers
September 4, 2020
If you read The Happiness Hypothesis after Haidt’s The Righteous Mind, then I think you are bound to be a little disappointed. Whereas the latter is informative, original, and at times challenging, this book waters down Haidt’s genuine insight with a good deal of pop psychology and self-help.

According to Haidt, science has finally revealed how to be happy. All of the following factors are likely to boost happiness: enough money, ample free time, short commutes, a loving family, and meaningful work. Being virtuous and even spiritual can also help; and perhaps a touch of adversity, too. But the biggest advantage of all is being constitutionally—i.e. genetically—optimistic (which is not very useful to people who are not). If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of satisfying all of the conditions and yet unhappy, then the best advice is to meditate, go to therapy, or take antidepressants.

It is hard for me to imagine much of this being especially revelatory. Are there people who think that long commutes, long hours, frigid relationships, and meaningless work are the keys to happiness? Furthermore, the potentially more controversial chapters—on virtue, spirituality, and adversity—I thought were fairly weak. Haidt’s insistence that virtue can lead to happiness is undermined by his own conclusions in The Righteous Mind, in which he details how moral hypocrisy is usually the best evolutionary strategy. And while Haidt’s analyses of spirituality and adversity are interesting, they have few practical takeaways. One can hardly choose to have a religious awakening or endure a crisis.

Where this book shines is where Haidt focuses on his own specialty: evolutionary psychology. Though much of this material is recapped in The Righteous Mind, some of it was new to me, and quite interesting. Haidt’s insistence on mixing this modern research with “ancient wisdom,” however, had the effect of diluting both. Science is exciting when it gives us counterintuitive answers; if it merely serves to confirm what the Buddha said, then I might as well read the Buddha. And if, as Haidt eventually concludes, the Buddha was only partially correct, and that we need a mixture of attachment and detachment, then I am not sure what wisdom is being confirmed—or what that even means in practice.

More generally, this book suffers from a serious case of bothsidesism, which you can see in Haidt’s concluding embrace of the yin yang symbol. He would like to conclude that Jesus, the Buddha, the Stoics, the Romantic poets, modern liberals, and contemporary conservatives are all partially right, and that wisdom lies somewhere “in between” these positions. You might even call Haidt a modern-day Hegelian, for trying to reconcile these through his dialectic.

However, this position rings a false note, since many of these values are not truly reconcilable. For example, Haidt is sympathetic to the conservative argument that we should be teaching values in school; and he sees advantages to societies that embrace hierarchy, tradition, and moral order above tolerance and diversity. A world of strong character and tightknit community may sound nice, but this sidesteps the question of how a highly diverse society could agree on a set of values to be taught. Psychologists may, as Haidt says, have discovered a list of “universal” virtues. But “courage” in the abstract, say, does not mean very much, and normally relies on cultural context to give it meaning (is it “courageous” to stand up to your parents and teachers?).

Perhaps I am disappointed because I am comparing this book to the short section on happiness in Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. There, without any pretense of rediscovering ancient wisdom, Kahneman presents some surprising conclusions about what it means to be happy, based on psychological studies. Haidt’s conclusions, by contrast, were either too generic or too vague to be very interesting. And if his conclusions do sound surprising—if, say, the claim that commuting in heavy traffic in a shiny red Ferrari to work 10 hours, and then coming home to an empty mansion, will not make you happy—then I think this is a measure of something strangely wrong with the our world.
Profile Image for Paul H..
819 reviews310 followers
October 25, 2020
My pop-psychology bingo card was full by like page 30 . . . did you know that humans are most comfortable with a social circle of 150 people? Did you know that children who can resist stealing a cookie have better self-control later in life? Did you know that we have two 'minds' that are often in conflict with each other? Did you know that half-assed evolutionary psychology just-so stories can be presented as a plausible explanation for absolutely anything?

Well, if you've read Kahneman or Gilbert or Gladwell or literally anything else in this genre, then yes, you already knew. I suppose it may not be fair to Haidt that I happened to read the others first, but even so, Haidt's presentation is particularly shallow -- this book convinced me that his later work must be somehow worse than I thought?
Profile Image for Ali.Deris.
91 reviews37 followers
August 4, 2023
✔️ کتابی سرشار از اطلاعات علمی جامع و مفید و کاربردی . از اساس کارکرد مغز گرفته تا روش های صحیح زندگی .

✔️ سه روش درمان و بهبود حال روحی رو مراقبه - شناخت درمانی و پروزک اعلام می کنه و مانور زیادی روی پروزک میده و معتقده کار آمدی زیادی داره . چقدر صحیح باشه این مورد رو اطلاع دقیقی ندارم !

✔️ هر فصل با دو جمله تاثیر گذار شروع میشه که قابل تامل هستن و بعد مفصل اون جمله ها توضی�� داده میشه و اثراتشون هم بیان میشه .

✔️ یکی از آموزه های کتاب اینه که در مشاجرات و اختلافات سهم تقصیر خودتون رو بپذیرید و به همان مقداری که مقصر هستید برای بهبود رابطه تلاش کنید .

✔️ فلسفه ی اخلاقی کانت و بنتام رو به خوبی توضیح داده . مبحثی که خیلی میشه در موردش صحبت کرد و شاید چندین صفحه توضیح و تفسیر بخواد تا در ذهن بشینه .

✔️ چکیده اصلی کتاب رو میشه در فرمول خوشبختی خلاصه کرد که حاصل جمع ه سه مورد ه : وضعیت بیولوژیکی+شرایط و محیط زندگی+انتخابهای خود فرد

✔️ استفاده از فیل و فیل سوار برای تشبیه انسان و ذهنِ انسان بسیار کارا بود و بهترین از این نمی شد فصل ها رو بر این اساس تشریح کرد . هنرمندانه ست 👍

📖 بریده ی کتاب :
همه ما اعمال کوته بینانه و خودخواهانه انجام میدهیم اما وکیل درونیمان ما را متقاعد میکند که خودمان یا متحدانمان را بابت آن سرزنش نکنیم؛ پس ما کاملاً از بابت فضیلت خودمان توجیه شده ایم، اما در دیدن تعصب و حرص و دورویی در دیگران تیز هستیم. اغلب در مورد انگیزه های دیگران حق با ماست که کشمکشی بالا میگیرد شروع به اغراقهای بزرگی میکنیم تا داستانی بسازیم که در آن فضیلت محض یعنی چیزی که از آن ماست، با شرارت محض چیزی که از آن دیگران است در جنگ باشد.

🗯 پ.ن : به نظرم کتاب جمع بندی خوبی نداره و بعد از بیان این همه مطالب بهتر بود به یه جمع بندی برسه . از ترجمه هم رضایت کافی ندارم و ممکنه برخی مخاطبان رو دل زده کنه . ترجمه ی بهتری نیاز داره کتاب . در کل اطلاعات مفید زیادی داره و بدون شک مفیده 👍

🗓 02/05/08
Profile Image for Петър Стойков.
Author 2 books284 followers
May 5, 2020
Единствената книга на еволюционния психолог Джонатан Хайд преведена на български. Тъжно е, че книга на такъв добър автор може да бъде издадена у нас само защото най-вероятно са я помислили за селф-хелп/духовно израстване/сила на духа четиво, каквито най-много се харчат сред по-голямата част от населението (не само у нас).

Всъщност, книгата най-добре може да се разбере съпоставена с цялостната работа на Хайд по отношение на разбирането на това от къде идва човешкият морал и как се проявява. Според автора и описаното в основната му книга, човешкият мозък е програмиран от еволюцията с няколко основни начина, по който вижда света, които използва в зависимост от ситуацията и колкото и да се опитваме, не можем да избягаме от тази човешка природа.

В Хипотеза на щастието авторът разглежда основните световни религии и изучава как всяка от тях се справя с ограниченията на човешката природа така, че да помогне за постигането на щастлив живот. Така Хайд ни показва как предците ни са успели, доколкото им е възможно без да са разбирали как точно работи човешкият ум, да извлекат от опита си и от древните традиции основни поуки за него и самите нас, които са валидни и днес.

Това е важна книга за съвременния човек, който (като мен) не е религиозен и като цяло смята, че повечето традиции се нуждаят най-малко от преосмисляне, ако не и от тотално отхвърляне. Тя показва, че хората едно време може да не са били напред с науката и технологиите, но човешкият ум и душа не са се променили особено през хилядолетията и предците ни са ги познавали доста добре, може би по-добре от самите нас.
Profile Image for Jan Rice.
533 reviews460 followers
July 4, 2012
If I hadn't read Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, first, I may not have been able to get into The Happiness Hypothesis. Although they mine some of the same territory, The Happiness Hypothesis is an ordinary book. Kahneman's book, on the other hand, is a land mine. I think he wrote it using the knowledge that was his subject matter, giving it its penetrating power. Haidt, on the other hand, comes across as attempting to "convert" the reader, which can set up some resistance. Also, while Kahneman speaks of System 1 and System 2 to represent intuitive vs. effortful thinking, he explains that these are not actual physical systems in the brain but, rather, ways of picturing and understanding the way the mind works. Haidt, in speaking of "the rider" (rationality) and "the elephant," is a lot less careful. I think that's one example of why I felt a little as though he was trying to suck me into his way of thinking, while I perceived Kahneman as enlightening me.

Also, "The Happiness Hypothesis" strikes me as a title that would tend to attract women readers disproportionately, while "Thinking, Fast and Slow," being more scientific sounding, would not turn off (some) men.

Well, fortunately, I had read Kahneman first, so I could take the wealth of information Haidt has to give and plug it in as I liked. Really, all of us could benefit from reading some of these books on cognitive science that are being written these days. Then our inclination to enshrine our intellects and idolize our own rationality might be tempered. We would be more humble and be able to become more wise.

Some examples of Haidt's thinking which I love:
We need each other because each of us has a blind spot regarding ourselves. As human beings we are expert at seeing the mistakes of others but not our own. We are all hypocrites in that respect. That is how we are made. Listen to others who don't think like we do or like us as well as we like ourselves--that's the ticket.

I liked his depiction of our three dimensions of experience--the dimension of closeness/distance, hierarchy (superior/inferior), and, last, the one he says we in the West have forgotten about since, roughly, WWII, the spiritual dimension, the dimension that stretches from degradation to elevation. He says we try to incorporate all our strivings into the rubric of autonomy, which, while maximizing our freedoms, also flattens our experience of the world.

He also wrote about the seeming paradox that religions, which teach loving kindness, are also responsible for the greatest outpourings of hate and violence. That is because they do teach loving kindness--to insiders. Outsiders beware!

Then there is this: There are four main causes of violence and cruelty. The first, greed and ambition, is obvious, but explains only a small part of the violence that occurs, and the second, sadism, causes little to none of it. A third source of violence is--surprise--self-esteem (especially the kind that is shaky and undeserved). Being easily threatened by reality, such people, whose ranks are often made up of young men, are prone to retaliate against the perceived cause of their angst. Fourth, according to Haidt, to really get a mass atrocity going, you need idealism. Just what we wouldn't expect to hear! You need those who believe they are creating a perfect society or those who believe they are fighting the source of evil. You need the true believer for that, because the true believer believes the end justifies the means, and that his or her group has a "moral mandate" to disregard "ordinary" rules and "do what hast to be done."

Good stuff, huh?

Oh, and "the myth of pure evil," and the relevance of Manichaean thinking to today's terribly polarized political reality....

And in Haidt, unlike Kahneman, the reader meets illustrious people from history and their ideas--prophets and poets and philosophers. The reader gets to meet Boethius again, he of "The Consolation of Philosophy" whom I'd come across recently in the Odyssey of the West series on medieval times. Not to mention Buddha and Jesus (with obvious relevance to the "blind spot" discussed above--the log in one's own eye) and Thomas Jefferson and Shakespeare and Benjamin Franklin and Plato....
Profile Image for Donakrap Dokrappom.
108 reviews25 followers
September 24, 2021
ผมละชอบหนังสือแบบนี้จริง ๆ เลย ให้ตายซิ!

ถ้าหนังสือความยุติธรรมของ Michael Sandel เป็นหนังสือที่ฉายภาพการถกเถียงทางศีลธรรมได้อย่างรอบด้าน หนังสือวิทยาศาสตร์แห่งความสุขเล่มนี้ให้ความรู้สึกคล้าย ๆ กันคือฉายภาพขอบคำถามใหญ่และยากที่สุดคำถามหนึ่งของมวลมนุษยชาติ คำถามที่ว่าความสุขคืออะไรได้อย่างคลอบคลุมและรอบด้านไม่ต่างกัน

ผู้เขียนได้หยิบยกปรัชญาที่ว่าด้วยความสุขตั่งแต่โบราณไล่มาเลย พระพุธเจ้า ขงจื๊อ อริสโตเติล สโตอิก และอื่น ๆ อีกมากมาพูด แต่ถ้ามีแค่นั้นมันก็จะเป็นแค่หนังสือดาษ ๆ ที่วางเกลื่อนแผงหนังสือ เพราะหนังสือพาเราไปไกลกว่านั้นมาก

ใครพูดถึงความสุขว่าอย่างไร พี่แกก็จะหยิบในประเด็นนั้นมาพูดพร้อมบทวิเคราะห์วิจารณ์ในมุมมองเชิงภววิสัย เหนือกว่านั้นคือยกผลการศึกษาเชิงวิทยาศาสตร์เข้ามาจับ เช่น พระพุธเจ้าบอกให้เราปล่อยวางและละทิ้งตัวตน พี่แกก็จะบอกว่าแกเห็นด้วยกับพระพุทธเจ้าและบอกว่าเป็นหลักการที่ดีมาก ๆ แต่มันไม่จบแค่นั้น พี่แกจะถามต่อว่า ทำไมคนเราถึงปล่อยวางยากนัก ทำไมยังมีคนที่ต้องทนทุกข์ คนเราสมารถละทิ้งตัวตนได้จริง ๆ หรือ? ไม่มีทาง ไม่ง่ายขนาดนั้นหรอก มีคำอธิบายทางวิทยาศาสตร์มากมายเกี่ยวกับพฤติกรรมมนุษย์ 1 2 3 4

85% ของเนื้อหาทำได้อย่างยอดเยี่ยม เปิดโลก เปิดมุมมอง เพราะเนื้อหารอบด้านมาก ๆ แต่ก็มีบ้างที่พี่แกหลุดออกทะเลไปไกลเหมือนกัน ความเห็นส่วนตัวจะใส่มาก็ได้ แต่ถ้าใส่มาแล้วมันเปลี่ยนอรรถรสในการอ่านไม่ใส่มาก็น่าจะดีกว่า แต่ไม่เป็นไรหนังสือทำได้อย่างยอดเยี่ยมในตัวมันเองอยู่แล้ว เอาไปเลย 5 ดาว
Profile Image for Masoud.
38 reviews17 followers
December 29, 2020
This book is about the top ten theories of modern research on happiness. Each chapter of the book is an attempt to get acquainted with a theory that has been discovered by a number of world civilizations. Also, with the information we have gained from scientific research today, this book critiques these theories in parts. The author also tries to draw lessons from these theories that are still applicable in our lives today.
715 reviews13 followers
July 28, 2011
Finished reading this last night. Two things first - 1) the book is not really about ancient wisdom. It's primarily about current research/thinking in the field of Psychology on emotional happiness. 2) The first third of the book is among the most depressing things I have ever read. The book starts by focusing on the view that humans have virtually no control over our own ability to be happy (or miserable). It's genetic - we are born with an innate predisposition towards personal happiness or misery.

In addition, the author focuses on a psychological view that people don't take moral or ethical actions out of an essential human goodness. Rather, we are programmed through evolution only to take actions that benefit us personally and even when we act ethically our moral compass may be off (that is, we may convince ourselves that we are being kind and morally upstanding when our objectively tested actions show that we are not). Haidt cites research that even those accused and convicted of history's most heinous crimes acted only out of the pursuit of some type of twisted greater moral good.

At this point, I nearly put the book down. How can one embrace an outlook on life that implies both that we have no choice in how we act and that our actions are entirely self-serving in any case. That is a sad world.

Yet, I'm glad that I didn't put the book down. After this worldview was described, the book began to change and some wonderful and powerful images began to surface. For example, Haidt talks about posttraumatic stress growth - a circumstance in which people respond to tragedy and trauma by finding a path to personal growth and in the process change their lives in fundamental ways that allow them to lead happier, more meaningful lives.

Even better, he cites research that people who maintain strong social connections, belong to groups, have religious faith, have strong marriages, and help others are more optimistic and happier. Here then, he suggests, are lessons in how we can overcome our genetic limitations.

He also touches on virtue and character and poses an interesting idea. The liberals have it right when it comes to diversity. Demographic diversity, as he calls it (diversity of race, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religious faith), creates a more just society. On the other hand, conservatives have it right on the need for agreement on a set of core societal values because in our effort to embrace diversity, moral diversity has disconnected us from our cultural moorings. He suggests we need a core of moral values and virtues to teach our children if we expect them to live lives of character and value.

If you can get through the first third of the book without falling into a deep depression, you will find a truly interesting and valuable read. Both an intellectually interesting view on the personal and societal infrastructure that can make us happier and a world view that refuses to give in to factionalism (he is an atheist, but sees important value in religious beliefs and a liberal who embraces some of the ideas from conservatives).

Whether you agree with any of his ideas or not, read it because it will stimulate your thinking and encourage personal introspection.
16 reviews19 followers
February 22, 2014

This book starts off as great. It neatly draws from the ancient philosophy and extrapolates the relevance of ancient wisdom to modern life. For example, the elephant-rider analogy, for which it gets one star. But somewhere in the middle, it loses itself in theological arguments. The scope of the book is so broad that the title becomes misleading.

The book gets another star for the valuable insights into human psychology, morality and life in general that lie interspersed in between elaborate digressions into religion and drugs. But it gets no more because far from finding modern truth in ancient wisdom, it equates the latter to religion and gets ahead of itself as it delves into the religion vs science argument seeking ,rather circuitously, to derive a common ground between the two without finally offering anything valuable to the reader as a result of this rumination.

A book has to be like a discovery, either revealing something new to the reader or making her see what is obvious and plain in a way that it is “elevating” as the author might have put it. The Happiness Hypothesis does that in the beginning but fades halfway through only to end in a whimpering attempt at revival of its initial zest.
Profile Image for Karson.
184 reviews11 followers
January 21, 2013
The short conclusion at the end of this book was really good. I wish the rest of the book stuck to the author's concise summary a little bit better. In some of Haidt's best advice within the whole book he says, "Just as plants need sun, water, and good soil to thrive, people need love, work, and a connection to something larger." He adds, "You have to get the conditions right, and then wait." There are a lot of other good insights in the book, but I find them to be burried in piles of other not-so-compelling somewhat dry information. I would prefer something a little more contemplative. Something that quotes the ancient wisdom, but doesn't add as much commentary.
Haidt has another insight that jives closely with an insight in another book I reviewed called, "Finding Clarity" by Jeru Kabbal. Basically the observation is that humans are like icebergs. There is a little portion that sticks above the water that we are aware of and in control of, and then there is a huge mammoth of a hunk of ice under the water that we are not aware of or in control of. We would like to think that our awareness steers our ship, but, in truth, it is the huge portion hidden under the water that directs our actions and hardens them into habits that become the building blocks of our personality. The most we can do is become aware of our subconscious selves, accept it for what it is, respect it, and work with it. Twas a good book, if you are willing to wade through some dryness to get to the good stuff.
Profile Image for Hossein.
224 reviews95 followers
January 1, 2021
کتاب واقعا چیزهای زیادی برای آموختن داشت. اگر به جنبه های تحقیقاتی روانشناسی مدرن و خارج کردنش از تفکر روانکاوانه علاقه مند باشین، خوندنش تجربه دلپذیری خواهد بود.
اما ترجمه کتاب به شکل باورناپذیری بد بود. کتاب به شکل گفتاری ترجمه شده بود و خوندن هر صفحه، عذابی بود وصف ناپذیر.
صمیمانه آرزو می کنم که مترجم و نشر دیگری دست به ترجمه دوباره این کتاب بزنند.
Profile Image for Mehrsa.
2,234 reviews3,649 followers
July 3, 2016
You've heard of every single study in this book--marshmallows, monkeys and moms, etc. But Haidt's book is one of the best in this genre--he mixes modern psychological research (which I think by itself does not lend to a coherent worldview though many have tried to weave one) with some ancient ideas as well as some evolutionary truths. The point of this book, as he says, is not to tell you the meaning of life (why are we here, where do we go, etc), but how to have a meaningful (or happy) life. He's very realistic. We all have a happiness setpoint and the only way to move it is through meditation, cognitive therapy or Prozac--though he seems most sold on the latter. That's my one quip on the book--for some reason, it just can't be that Prozac is the secret to happiness. Though I have never taken it myself so I may be missing out.
Profile Image for Mario Tomic.
159 reviews319 followers
August 4, 2014
5 star, pure wisdom! This book gave me great insights on how our mind works. It's a great combination of scientific research, philosophy and psychology of today diving deep to figure out what really makes us happy. I highly recommended reading this book, if someone would say that I had only 3 books to pick for them this would be one of them. If you're wondering about the reasons for our seemingly never-ending pursuit of happiness and meaning "The Happiness Hypothesis" will give you very solid answers.
Profile Image for JJ Khodadadi.
401 reviews95 followers
December 10, 2020
اگه کتابای روان شناسی میخونید حداقل کتابای زرد توی بازار رو نخونید و پژوهش های علمی مثل این رو دنبال کنید که البته بجز مبنای علمی اون با نثر خوبی هم نوشته شده
Profile Image for Phakin.
459 reviews152 followers
June 23, 2019
ติดลิสต์หนังสือแห่งปีแน่นอน เขียนเก่งมาก เต็มไปด้วยการทดลองและตัวอย่างงานวิจัย อยากเห็นกระบวนการมากว่าก่อนจะเขียนได้แบบนี้ วางโครงเรื่องและเลือกประเด็นกันยังไง กราบงามๆ
Profile Image for Orton Family Foundation.
8 reviews12 followers
August 7, 2009
I’ve often marveled at how seemingly rational people can forgo reason when engaged in public debate over a land use issue. A few years back I was involved in a community meeting about a new village scale project being proposed for the center of a small Vermont town. Even faced with a plethora of facts, figures and testimonials to the contrary, many people held fast to their belief that the project—designed to mimic the design and spacing of the clustered houses already in the village center—would result in traffic congestion, loss of views and lost sleep due to noisy neighbors. People too easily ignored the positive aspects of the project—avoidance of sprawl, better traffic flow from a new street network—and dwelled only on potential, if unlikely, negative effects. It proved difficult for people to think openly and rationally about this project. Thanks to a new book about happiness, of all things, I am beginning to understand why.

In his book, The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt (a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia) offers insight into where this type of irrational response comes from and why it is so hard for us to change our opinions and our behavior. Combining the wisdom of the past (from Freud to Buddha, Shakespeare to the Bible) with the latest cognitive research, Haidt engages the reader in an insightful exploration of what makes us happy and how we find meaning in our lives, and offers clues to understanding erratic personal and social behavior along the way. Many of the clues come from an understanding of the workings of the human mind—much of the book is devoted to this, starting with a very readable discussion of brain physiology and its impact on human responses. Throughout the book, Haidt provides a menu of things that we need to consider, work on, and ultimately achieve in order to find happiness. This could have resulted in a “self help” book but, thankfully, The Happiness Hypothesis avoids that fate.

Of particular usefulness to the planning field, or at least for understanding the dynamic of the meeting I attended, is the description of how the human mind is divided and often in conflict, resulting in a situation where feelings take preference over reasoning. Haidt uses the analogy of a rider (our rational and conscious self or ego) trying to control an elephant that often has its own desires and agenda (our unconscious, emotional self) to explain why we often have difficulty behaving in a rational way. It turns out it is sometimes very hard to control what our elephant does.

Haidt takes this concept further by looking at the evolution of the brain. In order to survive, humans have learned to take quick action when faced with a threat (“that is something that can eat me”) and respond slower when faced with opportunity (“should I catch and eat that frog now or later?”). As our species evolved, the fearful and cautious response was reinforced because it helped us survive and has now been hardwired into our brains. Consequently, our brain’s automatic system, our survival mechanism, is much stronger and more developed than our controlled system which reasons and plans, weighing pros and cons before taking action. The result is that we respond first, and rational thought comes later.

We don’t necessarily need such a strong automatic response today, but remnants of it give us what Haidt refers to as a “negative bias” and explain why we react strongly to threats, like a new kind development next door, that we fear may impact our quality of life, even if our reaction is irrational or pre-rational. This makes it difficult for us to engage in new or forward thinking. It also reduces the likelihood that we will be influenced by facts or arguments that speak to the rational rider, but not to the emotional elephant. To make matters worse, our brain is hard-wired to invent a rational argument or justification for our irrational behavior (i.e., the rider will invent an explanation for why the elephant does something that makes no sense).

The take-home message—as it relates to planning and bringing about changes in attitude and behavior—is to not focus so much on conscious thought (the rider), and the typical rational analysis of a situation in order to influence a decision, but rather to find ways to train the elephant to think and behave differently. Haidt suggests personal work to understand and improve ourselves as individuals, offering up meditation, cognitive therapy and Prozac as the three main pathways to this retraining. Although a part of me is really tempted to find out what would happen if all planning meeting participants were given a mood altering drug prior to public debate, I think there are less controversial approaches worth exploring first. Perhaps we need to de-emphasize the facts and set the ground work for a better public process by finding ways to help people in our communities understand their social lives, and habitual responses and behaviors, in a way that makes it possible for them to be less influenced by the behavior of their elephant. Then maybe they can engage with others more effectively. Complete Buddhist enlightenment may be too much to hope for, but if everyone worked a little harder to acknowledge and rein in their elephants we’d all be better off.

Read more reviews by the Orton Family Foundation in our Scenarios e-journal at http://www.orton.org/resources/public...

-Karen Yacos
Profile Image for Bon Tom.
856 reviews58 followers
September 5, 2022
Above all expectations. Don't let the cover fool you (it's a bit new-agey), but makes sense when you get into the book. This is a real science, hard psychology and lots of intelligence, common sense and depth in between. Ok, maybe the cover isn't that bad :) And it's not even all about happiness. It's a lot wider than that.
317 reviews
September 12, 2016
I was recommended this book by a friend. Going in, I was skeptical - the premise sounded like some sort of self-help hand wavy junk. When I realized the ambition of the book, I got much more interested. To me, the concept seemed great: "here's an ancient theory on life from an important philosopher, here's some modern science that provides empirical evidence for this theory so it seems they were correct and we should follow his / her advice." However, I think this book may have reached too far and ultimately failed in its intention.

First, the book slipped between using modern studies to buttress the arguments of philosophers and using modern studies to extend these arguments. For me there's a big difference between saying 'look! modern psychological experiments suggest that Aristotle was right about X!' and 'experiments say X, when combined with Aristotle's Y we can infer A.' You can't assume that Y is correct! He picks and chooses theories from his favorite philosophers and combines this with science to tell a nice story, but it too often takes these initial unsupported arguments for granted. As someone who also studied some philosophy in college, I can say that ancient philosophers were wrong about quite a lot, and calling it 'Wisdom of the Ancients' doesn't make me any more inclined to accept these arguments at face value. So when Haidt would give a suggestion, I would feel like the premise was still unsupported. So in the end, it felt kind of self-helpy and hand-wavy after all.

Second, I just don't like the way the book was written. Haidt tries to take a Gladwellian approach to his book: here's an idea, here's some cherry-picked research, here's an insightful quote, and here's a relevant anecdote to hammer the point home. Without turning this into a rant about the intellectual bankruptcy of Malcolm Gladwell's arguments, Haidt tries to do something similar and ultimately is just not as good at it. Gladwell is a great storyteller. For all the selective inclusion and overlooked counterarguments in his books, he finds some very colorful and engaging stories to include. Haidt attempts to enhance his arguments using personal anecdotes about his own life journey that just aren't as interesting. I think Haidt's arguments may have more intellectual honesty behind them than Gladwell but I'm still not convinced - and at least with Gladwell I got a good story out of it.

It's a shame this book was written before "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahneman, because there are a lot of overlaps between the two, especially in the first couple chapters. "Thinking Fast and Slow" does a better job of both explaining contemporary research and drawing conclusions from it. Supplementing what is shown in that book with parallels in ancient philosophy could have made this book more of a success. Additionally, Kahneman's heuristic of "System I" and "System II" work so much better for me than Haidt's more forced metaphor of an "Elephant and it's Rider".

If you're looking for books to understand the human mind and how we work, I would recommend "Thinking Fast and Slow" (Kahneman), "Predictably Irrational" (Ariely), and "Drive" (Pink) ahead of this book. While none directly address 'life fulfillment', you can use what you learn there to better understand how your mind works, how to interact with other people (hint: give people the benefit of the doubt more), and feel more motivated in your life. These books are backed up by experimental evidence instead of just conjecture and in the end you can leave the philosophy behind.
Profile Image for Pipat Tanmontong.
111 reviews13 followers
February 25, 2021
เป็นหนังสือที่พออ่านจบแล้วคิดหนักมากก่อนจะเขียนรีวิว สำหรับเรามันชัดเจนมากว่าเล่มนี้จะติดหนึ่งในหนังสือซึ่งดีที่สุดเท่าที่เคยได้อ่านมาในชีวิตนี้แน่ๆ แต่การจะแนะนำและบอกต่องานที่เป็น Masterpiece ขนาดนี้เราต้อง”ขาย”ยังไงกันนะ? เราอยากเขียนให้ได้ดีเพราะเราเห็นว่าเล่มนี้เป็นหนังสือที่อ่านสนุกและทรงคุณค่าในระดับเดียวกันกับ”เซเปี้ยนส์”(ผลงานของ Noval Harari ที่สร้างปรากฏการณ์ยอดขายถล่มทลายนั่นล่ะ) เลยทีเดียว

เรารู้สึกว่า Jonathan Haidt เริ่มเขียนหนังสือเล่มนี้เพื่อที่จะตอบคำถามใหญ่ๆ ที่ข้องเกี่ยวกับความสุข ทั้งที่ทางของ”ความสุข”ในมุมของวิทยาศาสตร์ ทั้งปัจจัยที่ช่วยเสริมสร้างความสุข รวมไปถึงอะไรคือความหมายของชีวิต?(สำหรับมนุษย์เรา ความสุขเป็นผลพลอยได้ของชีวิตที่มีความหมาย ดังนั้นเมื่อพูดถึงความสุขมันจึงหลีกเลี่ยงไม่ได้ที่จะตอบคำถามใหญ่เบิ้มข้อนี้ด้วย) ทั้งนี้ผูเขียนได้เขียนงานนี้ขึ้นด้วยหัวใจที่เปิดกว้างมาก แกไม่ละเลยปัจจัยใดเลยแม้ตัวแกจะไม่มีความเชื่อในปัจจัยนั้นๆ ก็ตาม

เพื่อตอบคำถามใหญ่ข้างบนตัวผู้เขียนเริ่มตั้งต้นจากคำสอนของปราชญ์โบราณผู้มีชื่อเสียงก้องโลก ไม่ว่าจะเป็น เหล่าศาสดาพยากรณ์ของศาสนาทั้งหลาย, นักปรัชญาเมธีผู้จารึกชื่อไว้ในหน้าประวัติศาสต���์ อาทิ ขงจื้อ อริสโตเติล เบนจามิน แฟรงคลิน ฯลฯ นำเหล่าคำสอนเหล่านั้นไปศึกษา ค้นคว้า เชื่องโยงศาสตร์ต่างๆ ไม่ว่าจะเป็น ปรัชญา เทววิทยา ทฤษฎีจิตวิทยา ฯลฯ แล้วยืนยันแนวคิดที่ตกผลึกด้วยผลการทดลองทางประสาทวิทยาการรับรู้ ซึ่งมันทำให้สิ่งที่เป็นนามธรรมอาทิเช่น ความสุข ศีลธรรม ความศักดิ์สิทธิ์ กลายมาเป็นสิ่งมีที่มีทางที่จับต้องและพิสูจน์ได้ในภววิสัยของวิทยาศาสตร์

เราชอบการจัดวางเนื้อหาของผู้เขียนมาก เริ่มจากชวนเราทำความเข้าใจการทำงานของสมองต่อการรับรู้และการให้เหตุผลของเราก่อน จากนั้นจึงพาเราไปตามหาที่มาของ”ความสุข”ว่าความสุขวางตัวอยู่บนพื้นฐานอะไรบ้าง? พันธุกรรมมีผลต่อระดับความสุขของเรามั้ย? สภาพแวดล้อมที่เราอาศัยอยู่รวมไปถึงเงื่อนไขต่างๆ ของชีวิตเราล่ะมันส่งผลตอความสุขของเราอย่างไรบ้าง? การเข้าร่วมพิธีกรรมอันศักดิ์สิทธิ์ทางจิตวิญญาณของศาสนาต่างๆ สามารถช่วยเราให้ค้นพบความสุขได้จริงหรือ? จากนั้นผู้เขียนจึงชวนเราออกตามหาความหมายของชีวิต การเรียงเนื้อหาแบบนี้ช่วยให้เราสามารภเข้าใจเนื้อหาหนักๆ ได้เป็นขั้นเป็นตอนอย่างไม่เหลือบ่ากว่าแรง

Jonathan Haidt เป็นนักเขียนที่รอบรู้หลายศาสตร์อย่างกว้างขวาง เขาอธิบายสิ่งที่เกิดขึ้นกับประสาทการรับรู้ของเราผ่านทฤษฎีวิวัฒนาการ ใช้บริบททางสังคมศาสตร์ประกอบการอธิบายองค์ความรู้ด้านจิตวิทยา ใช้การอุปมาช่วยเติมเต็มความเข้าใจให้เรา”อิน”ได้กับเรื่องที่เขาเขียนได้อย่างลึกซึ้ง หนังสือเวอร์ชั่นพากย์ไทยโดยสำนักพิมพ์ Salt ก็สำนวนดี เนื้อหาหนักๆ นั้นสามารถอธิบายออกมาได้ด้วยภาษาที่เข้าใจง่าย ทำให้อ่านลื่นไหลไม่สะดุด
Profile Image for Amy.
2,631 reviews417 followers
October 19, 2018
Using psychology, philosophy, theology*, and some biology, Jonathan Haidt digs into what brings true happiness and how we define it.
I like how intellectually engaging this book was. Most of the studies, philosophies, and ideas he presents should be familiar to anyone who keeps up with the topics. However, I've never seen them combined like this. It really is about "modern truth" born from "ancient wisdom."
Now, while I found this book engaging, I did not agree with all of it. This is pretty understandable, considering Jonathan Haidt and I approach the world from two very different worldviews. (He could really do with some C.S. Lewis.) But I respect and I appreciate his willingness to engage with ideas and worldviews he disagrees with and doesn't understand.
I find it interesting he looks to The Purpose Driven Life as a sort of "Christian" voice and if I have one critique there, it would be that he seems to consider the "religious right" in a very narrow, 1990s era way. Being seeped in the "religious right", however, I know a shift has taken place generationally in how we talk about faith, politics, and a meaningful life. However, that is not a nuance I would expect from someone looking in.
Accordingly, I acknowledge he does the best he can to understand it considering how far he disagrees with it. I do not understanding why he felt the need to repeatedly reference fundamentalist homeschooling their children, but that can be debated another day.
I like Haidt's take on wonder. I think he demonstrates a healthy understanding of awe and the role in plays in our world. I particularly appreciate the way he traces science "shift" from awe and move to categorize. It was very intriguing.
Overall, I recommend this one. The phrase "intellectually engaging" keeps coming to mind. But perhaps, emotionally engaging too. I didn't discover any new truths within its pages, but I learned to think about things differently and see commonality where previously I might be inclined to make a quick assumption.

*I use the word loosely. I don't know that the author would consider it theology, especially as he doesn't seem to understand it (like his description of good v. bad.)
Profile Image for Danielius (Debesyla).
Author 1 book245 followers
January 14, 2018
Ar tai gera knyga? Paaiškinsiu - tai knyga, kurią skaičiau 7 MĖNESIUS. Nes kas antrą pastraipą turėjau sustoti, pasižymėti, apgalvoti.

Man, kaip informacijos žiurkei, tai nuostabi knyga.

Kas daro žmones laimingais? Nuo filosofijos iki... Na, čia apkalbama viskas. Tokia išsami ir nuorodų, citatų, tyrimų pilna knyga, kad..! Žodžiu. Įsimylėjau knygą.

Jei po metų išleisiu knygą apie laimę, žinokit iš kur rinkau mintis :)
May 12, 2015
“Do people have a tendency to dump on you?
Does your group have more cavities than theirs?
Do all the hippies seem to get the jump on you?
Do you sleep alone when others sleep in pairs?
Well there’s no need to complain
We’ll eliminate your pain
We can neutralize your brain
You’ll feel just fine
Buy a big bright green pleasure machine!

Do figures of authority just shoot you down?
Is life within the business world a drag?
Did your boss just mention that you’d better shop around
To find yourself a more productive bag?
Are you worried and distressed?
Can’t seem to get no rest?
Put our product to the test
You’ll feel just fine
Buy a big bright green pleasure machine!...”

(The Bright Green Pleasure machine, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme)

Okay, maybe Johnathan Haidt’s not selling a bright green pleasure machine. Haidt, researcher and social psychologist explains a lot about how people have grown and developed. He gives no preference to any religion, or to no religion but looks instead at the ties that bind relationships together from those of citizens, to genetically linked groups and families, to people of religious faith. Or as he said in his famous “Ted Talk”.. “it explains why would agree that anyone might go to Applebee’s, just not anyone that you know.”

It is an insightful read, backed up by empirical data from research, both his and by others. Haidt breaks down how humans have developed and lived together. How we can ascend to great heights or fall to tragic depths. All of this is in search of one question asked two ways, “what is the meaning of life.” For some people that is better asked, “what is the purpose of life,” for others, “how do we get meaning out of the our lives?”

Haidt’s a good writer and he has a sense of humor. His description of the human psyche, personality or brain as an Elephant and a rider is based on modern research (1970s and later) but does not ignore our past. It is also a wonderful metaphor that helps understand why people do things as they do them. He works on a macro level to categorize things like virtues that seem to be universal but are not always, and also takes very specific journeys.

Perhaps best is that Haidt, an atheist, is incredibly respectful of religion and people of faith. He explores different cultures both in religion and in other developmental aspects and comes up with his own Happiness Hypothesis. If I were to take issue with what Haidt has strung together it is that, though I feel he understands this, what he wrote about genetic behavior does not translate in a way that reflects the science on it. This may because we haven’t learned how to discuss genetic behavior in a way that does not sound “black and white.” Genetic behavior is not characterized by, if you have the gene, you have the behavior. It is more that you have the potential for this genetic behavior to develop. There are also other potentials and the environment in which you live plays a role in activating these potentials. In the grand scheme of things, that should not take away from Haidt’s message.

Another issue would be, “how does this help us be happy.” Haidt’s book, if it were intended to be a tool to help people find happiness rather than inform, works by the theory that “awareness is the key to change.” That only works for some people. Though there is plenty of information for those who have to “do to achieve change,” the perspective is more suited to people who are by nature introspective and, willing to challenge themselves and explore new beliefs. Even Haidt discusses in his book how that description does not apply to everybody.

Those two things aside, there is much worth reading here about how our cultures and societies formed and what holds relationships together or what is “innate” in the natural make up of Mankind. It’s a good read and I recommend it. It reflects modern thinking, modern science and a modern look at how people, groups and personalities are put together. What comes naturally to us, and what that is based on and what comes through hard lessons? I give it 5 stars as the best short book about social psychology and the meaning of life in a while.

Open-mindedness helps.
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