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Welcome to my review of Happier Human
Title: Happier Human
Author: S. J. Scott
Publication Date: February 27th, 2019
Can you really choose to be happy, make a conscious choice, that no matter what your circumstances are, you can achieve happiness? As I am pursuing this question for myself, I have come across some interesting books that also ask that same question, and are trying to provide us with answers. But does Happier Human accomplish that?
My Review of Happier Human:
The book starts out with a quick set of rules:
- Focus on what truly matters
- Disregard or at least limit the exposure to that which makes you unhappy
- Create supporting habits to achieve rule one and rule two
These rules or I would rather call them guiding posts, resonate deeply with me, and are reflected in many other books in the same subject. However, I found that making them the first focal point of the book, was an effective strategy, even if it ends up being the only most important points in the entire work.
After that strong start, the book became quite dry, reading more like a scientific exploration of the subject, rather than the practice of it. While I think it is important to dig deeper into the mechanics of happiness, overdoing it, by focusing on the technical aspects too long, made me lose interest, and it became a drag to read further. I was really not expecting – or looking for – a book on the science of emotions or happiness, rather than action steps toward a more happier life, especially considering that the book’s description promises a much more actionable volume.
Once I made it through this section, the tone thankfully changed.
There were a lot of discovery questions that easily could be used as journal-style questions, which are well thought out, as a tool for self-discovery.
Because of that, though, book seems to be more like a self-help book, assisting you to restructure your life toward your personal life goals, rather than one specifically working toward the emotion of happiness, even though it is absolutely possible that one can become at least more happy just by working through the questions laid out here – which are a lot.
As a reader, of Happier Human, you should ready to pull out a journal and be willing to do some work, otherwise, this book will lose its usefulness.
Some of the more profound questions in Happier Human are:
- What items are causing the most distraction from focusing on my vital few?
- How can I add a little more enjoyment to my working day?
- Who are the people I spend 20 percent of my time around who cause me 80 percent of my unhappiness, anger, and anxiety?
- How can I reduce the time spent with them, or even completely remove them from my life?
But don’t get me wrong, this book is NOT a journal, and not intended to be one. It is a book that asks you, however, to look at the hard questions, and choices you need to make to be lastingly happy. I am sure, however, that you will run into a few aspects you may not agree with, but that does not diminish the advice given.
My review continues below this video on happiness:
Some parts I did not like or agreed with:
- He suggests not to use affirmations. Sure, not properly utilized, such as in conjunction with other positive thinking techniques, they can be quite useless, but it is a bit too much for me to dismiss them downright in their entirety. Even Tony Robbins, uses incantations, which are a variant of affirmations, often in connection with movement or a “ritual” of some sort. One of these examples would be the pre-performance ritual he does, before each seminar he gives (if you want to have an in-depth look into how his rituals work, check out the Netflix documentary “I Am Not Your Guru”, which was quite enlightening.
- His complete dismissal of porn. While I personally do not use porn, it is not the death to relationships, or intimacy in an as clear cut of a way, as the Author makes it sound. It is such a superficial way of blaming an outside “thing” for underlying problems, just as they do with gaming, which in itself is not a problem. It can become on if there is some other issue tied to the process.
- His insistence (however only in one section of the book) that joining a worship group is superior to joining a non-religious group, such as a book club, to find a meaningful connection. That is not true, as there are many associations, communities, and groups that are formed on the basis of secular thought, or purpose, with equally profound meaning and connection.
There are a LOT of links in this book to outside resources. While I appreciate some of them, it is a little much, considering the massive amount of them in every chapter. Instead of using the links to guide me, the Author should have included that information in the book itself. The massive amount of links, made me feel overwhelmed, and I ended up ignoring all of them completely.
Happier Human is not the book that I expected, but it is nevertheless a useful self-discovery tool, that should be read with a critical mindset. Even if you do not agree with all of the information presented in the book, it is worth picking out some of the detailed journal-style questions for further exploration.
However, if you are looking for a book that focuses on how you practically can choose to be happy, you are better off finding a different work in this genre.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
About the Author
S.J. Scott has published several self-help books, including the popular Habit Stacking (which I personally preferred in content and style over this book).
In his books, S.J. provides daily action plans for every area of your life: health, fitness, work and personal relationships. Unlike other personal development guides, his content focuses on taking action. So instead of reading over-hyped strategies that rarely work in the real world, you’ll get information that can be immediately implemented.
When not writing, S.J. likes to read, exercise and explore the different parts of the world.