The Art of Happiness Book Summary - The Art of Happiness Book explained in key points
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The Art of Happiness summary

Dalai Lama

A Handbook for Living

4.6 (492 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler delves into the nature of happiness, providing practical and spiritual advice on how to cultivate a more fulfilling life. It emphasizes the importance of compassion, inner peace, and mindfulness.

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    The Art of Happiness
    Summary of 9 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 9

    External circumstances cannot create lasting happiness – the right state of mind can.

    How can we achieve lasting happiness?

    Most people would readily agree that the purpose of life is to seek happiness. Yet for some reason we often see happiness itself as something mysterious and hard to define, and we have a poor understanding of what makes us happy. According to the Dalai Lama, by training one’s mind it is possible to learn how to be happier.

    External events can affect a person’s happiness in the short-term, but our level of happiness tends to revert back to a certain baseline soon after the event. For example, winning the lottery only produces a short-lived happiness “high,” which usually subsides relatively quickly. Similarly, people who face sudden and tragic health problems like a diagnosis of cancer or paralysis typically – after a period of grieving – recover their previous level of happiness. Hence, it seems no specific external conditions can really affect our happiness in the long run.

    But the mind is a powerful tool; our mental state greatly affects how we perceive the world. Consider, for example, how negative emotions skew our view of other people: when we’re angry, even dear friends can seem annoying, cold and hostile.

    According to the Dalai Lama, it is possible to systematically train your mind so that you identify and cultivate positive mental states while eliminating the negative ones. Though this is a slow, gradual process, it eventually brings a calmness that allows you to live a happy, joyous life no matter what the external situation.

    External circumstances cannot create lasting happiness – the right state of mind can.

    In the next three blinks, you'll learn why compassion, intimacy and spirituality are important for a happier life.

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    What is The Art of Happiness about?

    The Art of Happiness (1998) is based on interviews of His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducted by the psychiatrist Howard C. Cutler. The combination of Tibetan Buddhist spiritual tradition with Dr. Cutler’s knowledge of Western therapeutic methods and scientific studies makes this a very accessible guide to everyday happiness. The book spent 97 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

    The Art of Happiness Review

    The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama (1998) is a thought-provoking exploration of human happiness and how to cultivate it in our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With profound insights into the nature of happiness, the book offers practical guidance on achieving inner peace and contentment.
    • It combines ancient wisdom and scientific findings to provide a comprehensive understanding of happiness, making it relevant and relatable.
    • Through personal anecdotes and relatable stories, the book captivates readers and keeps them engaged, ensuring that the topic of happiness is anything but dull.

    Who should read The Art of Happiness?

    • Anyone interested in how they can deal with suffering and find lasting happiness
    • Anyone interested in how the Dalai Lama’s teachings intersect with Western therapeutic methods and scientific studies
    • Anyone struggling with anger, anxiety, guilt or other negative mental states

    About the Author

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He has lived in exile in Dharamsala, India, since Chinese forces invaded and annexed Tibet in 1959, and he acted as the Tibetan head of state until his retirement in 2011.

    Dr. Howard C. Cutler is an American psychiatrist who has studied Tibetan medicine and interviewed the Dalai Lama on several occasions.

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    The Art of Happiness FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Art of Happiness?

    The main message of The Art of Happiness is finding inner peace and joy amidst the challenges of life.

    How long does it take to read The Art of Happiness?

    The estimated reading time for The Art of Happiness is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Art of Happiness a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Art of Happiness is a worthwhile read as it provides insightful wisdom and practical advice for leading a more fulfilling and content life.

    Who is the author of The Art of Happiness?

    The author of The Art of Happiness is the Dalai Lama.

    What to read after The Art of Happiness?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Art of Happiness, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
    • The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
    • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
    • Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh and Lilian Cheung
    • Happiness by Matthieu Ricard
    • Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
    • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
    • As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
    • The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno
    • Buddhism – Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen