10% Happier Book Summary - 10% Happier Book explained in key points
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10% Happier summary

Dan Harris

How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Works

4.3 (390 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

"10% Happier" by Dan Harris is a memoir about a news anchor's journey to mindfulness meditation. It explores how Harris stumbled into meditation, and how it helped him to become happier, less stressed, and more focused.

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    10% Happier
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    The ego is your inner narrator, or your sense of “I.” It’s the voice that tells you what to do.

    We hear the word “ego” quite often. Your spouse might call you egotistical; your best friend is egocentric; and armchair philosophers invoke Freudian buzzwords, blaming personal shortcomings on the ego.

    But the ego is far more nuanced than we give it credit for. In our everyday interactions, we often refer to the ego as the source of pride, conceit and amour propre, or self-love.

    To most, the ego is the source of behavior that is self-serving or unconcerned with the well-being of others. To Freud, the ego represents a psychological mechanism that mediates between our morality and our base desires.

    But these definitions of ego still don’t get to the heart of the matter. We can talk about deep desire or fiery pride, but we still can’t explain what’s going on in our heads when we do strange things like open the fridge without actually being hungry.

    A better way to think of your ego – and certainly one that offers you the most insight into your behavior – is as the voice in your head.

    Your ego comments on your actions and behavior from the moment you open your eyes in the morning until you drift off to sleep at night, telling you what to do and what not to do.

    This isn’t the kind of “voice in your head” that is attributed to psychosis. Rather, you can think of it as a voice that manifests through your thoughts.

    For example, your ego is the voice that tells you “I’m way too tired for the gym” even when you know that you could really stand to break a sweat. It’s what makes you obsessively check your emails a thousand times per day, or gaze into the refrigerator even when you aren’t hungry.

    As you’ll see, the ego is responsible for a great deal of what you do. Luckily, taking steps to rein your ego in can make us happier and healthier.

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    What is 10% Happier about?

    10% Happier demystifies the ancient art of meditation by explaining recent, cutting-edge scientific research into how meditation affects your body and mind. Importantly, it shows you just how valuable meditation can be in coping with the chaos and stress of modern life.

    10% Happier Review

    10% Happier (2014) is a thought-provoking exploration of the author's journey towards finding happiness through meditation and mindfulness. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • With raw honesty, it delves into the challenges and misconceptions of meditation, making it relatable and practical.
    • The book offers insights from renowned meditation teachers and scientific studies, providing a solid foundation for understanding the benefits of meditation.
    • Through witty anecdotes and relatable experiences, it breaks down the perception that meditation is reserved for a particular type of person, making it accessible and engaging for all.

    Best quote from 10% Happier

    I began to recall some of the many brilliant suggestions the voice in my head had made to me over the years. You should do cocaine.

    —Dan Harris
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    Who should read 10% Happier?

    • Anyone who battles with stress and wants to find a way out
    • Anyone who is skeptical or curious about meditation and how it works
    • Anyone content with their life but could benefit from more happiness

    About the Author

    Dan Harris is a news anchor for several American television programs, including Nightline and ABC News. He has reported the news from all over the globe, covering wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is a recipient of numerous honors and awards for journalism.

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    10% Happier FAQs 

    What is the main message of 10% Happier?

    The main message of 10% Happier is that meditation can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

    How long does it take to read 10% Happier?

    The reading time for 10% Happier varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is 10% Happier a good book? Is it worth reading?

    10% Happier is a valuable read for anyone interested in meditation. It offers practical insights and personal anecdotes that make it relatable and engaging.

    Who is the author of 10% Happier?

    The author of 10% Happier is Dan Harris.

    What to read after 10% Happier?

    If you're wondering what to read next after 10% Happier, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Thrive by Arianna Huffington
    • Unplug by Suze Yalof Schwartz
    • Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris
    • The Way of Integrity by Martha Beck
    • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
    • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
    • Making Sense by Sam Harris
    • The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
    • Stress Resets by Jennifer L. Taitz
    • Conscious by Annaka Harris