Happiness Book Summary - Happiness Book explained in key points

Happiness summary

Matthieu Ricard

A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill

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What is Happiness about?

Happiness (2007) guides you toward a state of true happiness. Many people today falsely believe that happiness comes from ephemeral things like money or fame, but truly long-lasting and profound happiness stems from maintaining a higher sense of well-being. And these blinks will help you do exactly that.

About the Author

Matthieu Ricard gave up a career in cellular genetics so that he could move to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk. He’s been a close assistant to the Dalai Lama for about 40 years and has written several bestsellers, including Happiness, Why Meditate?, and The Monk and the Philosopher.

Table of Contents
    Key idea 1 of 8

    Real happiness is a long-term mental state we have to consciously work toward.

    Are you happy? Interestingly, how you answer that question might depend on where you’re from. There’s a wide gap between the Western conception of happiness and the Buddhist idea of true, long-lasting happiness.

    Many Westerners think of happiness as a momentary, fleeting feeling. The intensity and duration depend on circumstances outside their control. A Westerner might feel happy about passing an exam, for instance, or winning a game or having a pleasant encounter with someone.

    Happiness, however, shouldn’t be limited to such fleeting moments. Real, profound happiness is something more: it comes with having a healthy state of mind.

    That means cultivating a mental state unburdened by memories and future plans. The only thing that matters is what’s happening now: the present. So the key to leading a happy and fulfilling life is being at peace with the present.

    This approach to happiness mirrors Buddhist thought, which holds that one can attain a state of profound and sustained well-being when freed of negative emotions. Buddhists denote this state with a Sanskrit word: sukha.

    Happiness is something that can be cultivated, but you do have work at it. Studies have shown that about 25 percent of our potential for happiness is defined by our genes – but that means 75 percent is up to us!

    So you have a lot of power over your happiness. The way you think, live and perceive the world around you has a major impact on your mental well-being.

    All in all, happiness is a matter of interpretation. It may be very difficult to change the world, but changing how you interpret it is manageable.

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    Who should read Happiness

    • Aspiring and practicing Buddhists
    • Anyone interested in psychology
    • Those wanting to lead a happier life

    Categories with Happiness

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