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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

275 helpful votes
 on March 4, 2014
I saw Shawn Anchor’s presentation on PBS where he explained a simple 5 minute technique called ‘The 3 Gratitudes’.

Awesome book.

1 helpful vote
 on December 12, 2016
By Lynny
LOVE THIS BOOK. Seriously so enlightening and actually uses studies and facts to back up his philosophies.

Applicable to every day life.

1 helpful vote
 on August 1, 2017
By Shellsmlh
This book was one of the best reads in years. This book has given me practical steps to help me to lead better. This is much more than another self help book. Thank you!

One of the best books I ever read

1 helpful vote
 on January 22, 2017
By Chino
One of the best books I ever read. It will change your life. As an immigrant we are taught the American dream from day one. Work hard, get into a good college, get good grades, get a good job that pays well and you will be happy. It doesn’t work like that. You have to be happy first before you are successful. Success as a planet revolves around happiness the sun. Not the other way around. Book is just inspirational. This coming from a former pessimist. Lol.

I certainly enjoyed his comments about how businesses can prosper by working …

1 helpful vote
 on April 1, 2015
By Dal
A lot of things he said were eye openers. I certainly enjoyed his comments about how businesses can prosper by working on having happier employees (not everything that’s done will work for everybody of course) but the ethic seems a good leadership trait to me. Overall I liked what it had to say and skimmed over statistics 🙂

Very interesting read

1 helpful vote
 on June 10, 2017
By Li Grasse
Definitely a five star. I loved the examples of studies given in the book. Makes it not just some subjective statements but proven knowledge.

What I like about this book is that it backs happiness with …

1 helpful vote
 on November 7, 2016
By TMI in Tampa
What I like about this book is that it backs happiness with science. NOT a bunch of metaphysical ‘happy clappy’ concepts that can’t be backed up. I’m so over motivational hype. This book isn’t that. It takes the concepts of happiness and puts it under a “scientific microscope” to show you and instruct you on how to create a better advantage in life through that elusive thing called happiness. I bought copies for all my staff and they are loving it too.

A must-read for IT Professionals

2 helpful votes
 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:

Excellent read (and/or listen)

1 helpful vote
 on June 8, 2017
By Zane Gard
This book took a very practical methodology to applying its concepts to everyday life at word and at home. You will find yourself connecting with the example stories as they relate to your own life and seeing how they later impacted your own life and those around you. A recommended to read for your spouse, your children, your students, your coworkers, etc.

great book

1 helpful vote
 on February 12, 2017
By Amazon Customer
if you dont read this, you are kind of an idiot. It is in the Tony Robbins vein, but a bit more academic, which i like. Great story, author has a nice easy style for a somewhat academic book- can change your thoughts on being happy- which of course, is what life is all about. Nice- hope to get into more from the author- He also has a GREAT TEd talk summarizes the book- together they make a nice set. Go watch if first- will drive you to the book.