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Our most commonly held formula for success is broken. Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.

Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential. Among the principles he outlines:

• The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see—and seize—opportunities wherever we look.
• The Zorro Circle: how to channel our efforts on small, manageable goals, to gain the leverage to gradually conquer bigger and bigger ones.
• Social Investment: how to reap the dividends of investing in one of the greatest predictors of success and happiness—our social support network

A must-read for everyone trying to excel in a world of increasing workloads, stress, and negativity, The Happiness Advantage isn’t only about how to become happier at work. It’s about how to reap the benefits of a happier and more positive mind-set to achieve the extraordinary in our work and in our lives.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307591549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307591548
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces

Customer Reviews

A Year Later

356 people found this helpful.
 on March 4, 2014
By NCC
I saw Shawn Anchor’s presentation on PBS where he explained a simple 5 minute technique called ‘The 3 Gratitudes’.

Life Changing . . . Well Worth The Read

5 people found this helpful.
 on October 29, 2017
By D. Laurence Bunker
I very rarely take time to post reviews. I don’t, usually because I don’t have time to go into an in depth analysis to back up why I did or didn’t find a book was valuable.

Great Resource for those Mentoring Millennials

3 people found this helpful.
 on September 7, 2017
By Danita Bye
As mentors, coaches, and leaders of Millennials, it’s important to have an understanding of key principles that will help them contribute to the flourishing of the world…when it seems that they are surrounded by negativity and fear from every direction. By leveraging the principles Shawn outlines, we can become better at growing our businesses, maximizing the emerging leaders in our sphere of influence and realizing our leadership legacy. Since Millennials Matter to all of our futures, I highly recommend this book.

You’ll be thankful you read this

One person found this helpful.
 on January 21, 2018
By Katie
I loved the TED talk and wanted fyi learn more. This book is so wonderful. Explains the importance of smiling and a positive attitude. The benefits are vast in life, business, health, and beyond. Read it, apply it, share it!

A great book to get you started on the power of positive psychology

5 people found this helpful.
 on December 26, 2012
By J. Schulte
We succeed because we are happy, not that we are happy because we succeed. A positive outlook and optimism helps us be more effective, creative and impactful. Being optimistic and happy is a learnable skill. This book presents the evidence and science behind the power of positive thinking, and provides seven principles to help guide the reader to a more positive outlook.

Happiness is a choice

One person found this helpful.
 on September 7, 2016
By Craig K.
The body of evidence that you can increase your happiness by taking simple actions to rewire your brain is growing. This book applies principles to increase your personal happiness to your professional life. Since many of us spend the majority of our time with our professional endeavors, it’s worth learning how our own happiness can ripple into our workplace.

An Excellent, Self-Helpy-Yet-Scientifically-Grounded Examination of Happiness

6 people found this helpful.
 on November 19, 2015
By Trevor Habermeyer
While it may read like “pop psychology” at times, The Happiness Advantage is a joy to read, full of scientifically-grounded ways to help us live “happier” lives. Achor strikes a nice balance between self-help and science, as he writes towards the beginning: “Books about how to get ahead in the workplace can be inspirational but are often full of unproven strategies. On the other hand, science can be fascinating but is often impossible to understand, much less translate into action. My goal in writing this book has been to bridge that gap” (pp. 33). I wish more self-help literature adopted this approach.

Great book.

One person found this helpful.
 on December 19, 2016
By Richard P. Anderson
Well written, an excellent and enjoyable read, and probably one of the best books written on the topic. Filled with solid principles, practical ideas on how to implement them, and solid evidence to back his points. Some may think that the substance of this book is obvious, but one of his most valid points is that while we know that this is true, 90% of us still don’t incorporate it into our lives and businesses. Very helpful and entertaining too.

A must-read for IT Professionals

3 people found this helpful.
 on May 20, 2011
By K0nsp1racy
I should state up front that this book is excellent and not geared towards the information technology profession directly. However, I feel it is important to tackle this review from an Information Technologist’s perspective, as I believe there is a growing epidemic that faces the IT profession. This book made a difference for me:

Happiness Advantage Is Useful for Educational Settings

One person found this helpful.
 on February 21, 2013
By Sandra
I cannot remember why I decided to add The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work. to my Kindle. It sat unread for months. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I was intrigued by the way Shawn presented key psychological theories in an easy to read format. While the heavy emphasis on business applications and life at Harvard were not of direct interest, I could apply what he was saying to my general life.