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Solve for Happy

Engineer Your Path to Joy

By Mo Gawdat
19-minute read
Audio available
Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat

Solve for Happy (2017) is the result of former Chief Business Officer at Google X, Mo Gawdat’s highly personal journey to understand the nature of happiness and how to achieve it. By borrowing ideas from many of the world’s religions and applying his own analytical mind to the problem, Gawdat arrives at a formula for happiness.

  • Those trying to find a happiness deeper than simple success
  • Anyone who wants to understand why reality can be so confusing
  • People looking for a life-affirming example of strength in the face of tragedy

Mo Gawdat is an engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of over 20 businesses in many different fields. He has worked in various roles at Microsoft, and is the former Chief Business Officer at the secretive Google X. This is his first book.

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Solve for Happy

Engineer Your Path to Joy

By Mo Gawdat
  • Read in 19 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 12 key ideas
Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat
Synopsis

Solve for Happy (2017) is the result of former Chief Business Officer at Google X, Mo Gawdat’s highly personal journey to understand the nature of happiness and how to achieve it. By borrowing ideas from many of the world’s religions and applying his own analytical mind to the problem, Gawdat arrives at a formula for happiness.

Key idea 1 of 12

Happiness is the absence of unhappiness, caused by the misrepresentation and misunderstanding of reality.

We’ve all heard that money can’t buy you happiness, though many people are still driven to pursue financial success as their primary goal. It’s no wonder, then, that they find themselves unhappy even when they appear to have everything. But what can be done about it? This is the question Gawdat grappled with himself, so he decided to apply his engineer’s mind to figuring out a formula for achieving happiness.

Let’s start by trying to understand what happiness is. Look at the semi-permanent joy of small children and toddlers and you could see that it is, in fact, our default state. Sure, it’s not all roses, but as long as they aren’t hungry or in pain, kids are generally happy. You could say that happiness is merely a lack of unhappiness.

But where does unhappiness come from? According to the author, it comes about when life doesn’t behave the way you expect it to. Here’s the formula that he came up with:

“Your happiness is equal to or greater than your perception of events minus your expectations of life”

This means that when you regard life’s events as the same or better than your expectations, then you’ll be happy because the twists and turns of life don’t frustrate you. But if your expectations are greater than the reality, they’ll subtract from your capacity for happiness.

Naturally, it’s not as clear-cut as this. You’re much more complicated than just happy or sad! Depending on the thoughts you allow to determine your expectations, your state of mind can range from total confusion to negativity and suffering, to positivity and happiness, all the way to absolute joy. The goal is to make that journey from the bottom to the top.

To prevent yourself from becoming confused and unhappy due to the gap between your expectations and reality, you’ll first need to discard the six grand illusions that leave you misinformed, which we’ll unmask in the following blinks.

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