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The Happiness Hypothesis

Written by: Jonathan Haidt
Narrated by: Ryan Vincent Anderson
Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (275 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of The Righteous Mind draws on philosophical wisdom and scientific research to show how the meaningful life is closer than you think.

The Happiness Hypothesis is an audiobook about ten Great Ideas. Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations - to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives and illuminate the causes of human flourishing.

Award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt, the author of The Righteous Mind, shows how a deeper understanding of the world's philosophical wisdom and its enduring maxims - like "do unto others as you would have others do unto you", or "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" - can enrich and even transform our lives.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

  

©2006 Jonathan Haidt (P)2018 Hachette Audio

What the critics say

"An erudite, fluently written, stimulating reassessment of age-old issues." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"The Happiness Hypothesis...has more to say about the pleasures and perils, the truths, of being alive than any book I've read in a long time." (San Francisco Bay Guardian)

"[T]he psychologist Jonathan Haidt shows in his wonderfully smart and readable The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom [that] modern science and history have a lot to say to each other." (Darrin McMahon, The Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A strong, practical intro to Moral Psychology

Another excellent book by Jonathan Haidt who skillfully and accessibly lures the listener/reader into the fascinating and practical world of moral psychology. I would also highly recommend The Righteous Mind by the same author for similar reasons. It is too bad that Haidt does not narrate this one, but the narrator does a decent job. This difference accounted for the loss of one star in my mind. #Audible1

3 people found this helpful

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Very interesting but somewhat bland performance

Ryan Vincent Anderson doesnt quite do this book justice. Its full of golden, life changing facts and ideas but he reads it in an unemotional, bland way that almost made me want to fall asleep when listening.

2 people found this helpful

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I prefer Jonathan Haidt's voice

I wish the author had read the book, he had narrated his other works and I loved them.

4 people found this helpful

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Dry narration.

Valuable content and well written. Definitely an important book. The narration was monotone and flat, which made it hard to digest. I will likely read the book myself at some point.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book

it gets a little'heady' with the neuroscience at times but overall a great read. would recommend

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Great book!

This is one of the books that resonated with me...I loved every part of it. thanks!

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  • Kim
  • 2020-02-06

Caution: Narrator can lull you to sleep

Interesting book but not for the tired. If your focus is low you will wake up halfway through this one.

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So much knowledge

This book helped me understand in-depth the mechanics behind the mind. Simple to understand, using easy to understand analogies, the author shares the science that backs his hypothesis.

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An entertaining, insightful read.

If you are a Malcolm Gladwell fan, you will most likely love this book. It is full of vivid real-life illustrations to bring out the point of "what is happiness", how it is measured in different cultures, and by this awareness hopefully create more happiness in your life and to those around you.

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A lot to wrap my head around

This is very interesting book and I'd suggest it to anyone that wants to broaden their understanding of others.

I will likely have to listen to it a few more times to wrap my head around everything. but I've gotten a good hand hold to start.

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  • Greg
  • 2019-02-07

Excellent Book; Highly Recommend

This book was a long read, BUT nearly every chapter was full of riveting examples and useful knowledge.

I’m going to reread this again in a few months; I enjoyed it that much!

19 people found this helpful

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  • RRivas
  • 2019-02-27

a bit of a mishmash of ideas, but interesting

Overall pretty interesting notions and ideas. Bits on the structure of the brain and the activities that different brain components control was fascinating and may have merited its own book. However, aside from that the book became tedious. The author seemed to skip around ideas about what are the elements of happiness, what are the emotional states that constitute elation associated with religious activity, and where to find wisdom. Overall it was a probably a better listen than it would have been a read. On those activities associated with happiness, specifically strong relationships, fulfilling work, and religious belonging, it seems he didn't have a lot to add that hasn't been discussed in other books. Although an athiest, he does a somewhat spirited defense of those who are religious, arguing that our brains and society have evolved to put us in emotional states that we connect to religious experience. It came off as a bit condescending to religious people, but I'll give him credit on this, since any sort of defense of religiosity probably gets him looked at cross eyed by his academic peers. I had also read his more recent, "The Coddling of the American Mind", which discusses how youth, particularly college age youth, is so much less resilient and more willing to look a the the splinters in others rather than the logs in their own eyes. I was hoping that this book might touch on how the drop in religiosity among youth may have contributed to them less resilient. But alas, the author does not make this connection as I recall. Overall, an interesting book, if a bit sloppy in its organization and presentation. The narrator was also only okay and his presentation didn't seem to fit the material. I would give this a recommendation though, but caveat emptor.

79 people found this helpful

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  • L.D.
  • 2018-11-22

Amazing & Beneficial - A Must Have!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I first purchased it, but considering the fact that I highly enjoyed another book that was co-authored by Haidt I decided to give this book a try and am so glad that I did! Not only was this an intriguing book that continuously gave rich information about the mind and how people’s view of the world matters, it also broke down complicated subjects in a way that allowed me to follow along easily and thus reap the benefits of this book’s message. I actually have already listened to it twice and will be going for a third round after finishing a few others.

This book is without a doubt one of my new favorites because of the life-changing advice I was able to absorb, not to mention the fact that it was a delight to get through because of the entertaining way such advice is presented to the reader/listener by the author.

46 people found this helpful

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  • Trevor
  • 2018-12-09

The origins of "The Righteous Mind"

I first read Haidt's "The Righteous Mind" and so this book goes over much of what he goes into further detail in that book. Given this, I think this book is likely an easier beginning to the ideas more developed in "The Righteous Mind." Overall fascinating ideas, and it's exciting to see the current and ongoing development(s) between science and religion. This book is a taster of Haidt and other moral psychological insights, and then his later book is a home run, in a sense. After reading both this and his other book I no longer really viewed things in what I now perceive to be a weird 'religious' vs. 'secular' mindset. I now think of almost all human group activity in a wider range, so that any radical group behavior, secular or religious, takes on the term 'fundamentalist' or 'radical,' among other useful ways of viewing the problems and limits in any perspective (and specifically the very heated US political Republican vs. Democrat positions). I now find myself in a spot in which I am pretty moderate with a libertarian flare, without agreeing fully with a lot of various policy issues (more so thinking that living personally in a libertarian manner promotes more self-respect and choice, but understanding that many libertarian policies may in actuality just be bad... this gets into Haidt's great distinction between useful and often correct personal intuitions in interpersonal relations but that on the scale of policy trusting intuitions is often terrible and has bad results).

In short: read or listen to this book and Haidt's following book, "The Righteous Mind," and (hopefully) expand your mind and worldview a bit further beyond limited partisanship and tribalism.

56 people found this helpful

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  • JAMES
  • 2019-02-05

Amazing book, terrible choice in voice.

The information is amazing and instantly applicable. The reader is extremely hard to understand without perfect concentration. I stopped listening and read the hard copy instead. I’m commenting on the issue with audio because this is how I normally consume books and would have appreciated knowing this.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Kristen Hagar
  • 2018-08-23

I feel happier already

I really enjoyed the way this book chose a few main topics to focus on from ancient ideas, then brought forth evidence for or against these ideas from scientific literature. Haidt is truly brilliant and I could stop and think about every few sentences in his writing and get so much out of it. I’m sure I will keep listening to this one in the future.

37 people found this helpful

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  • Smaranda Nicolau
  • 2018-06-19

Awesome book, poor performance

Incredibly well-researched book, compelling arguments, perhaps at times a little bit too self-assured but definitely very valuable for our times and extremely common-sensical. Would have enjoyed much much much more had the performance caught any of the humor and irony obvious in the tone of the writer and sadly completely absent in this monotonous reading... so, a much better read than a “hear”, too bad. Still, I listened to the whole thing and am the better for having gained the knowledge in this book.

102 people found this helpful

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  • Gary
  • 2019-02-17

Fertilizer for the mind

This is a great thought provoking book. It had me questioning my purchase on more than one occasion only to bring me right back to understanding a few lines later.

16 people found this helpful

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  • the dude
  • 2019-02-28

good book not great

great few chapters i love the binomial mind analogy of the rider and the elephant, then he seems to go deep with religion as it becomes the dominant focus of the last 4 chapters. I recommend it up to chapter 4 or 5 then skip to last 2 minutes of chapter 10 and the whole last chapter.

34 people found this helpful

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  • josh colvert
  • 2018-10-18

A message our divided culture needs

This is one of the most fair-minded and intellectually honest books I have read. The author does an excellent job of laying out his thesis without ever becoming dogmatic or didactic. The content is well researched and academically sound yet engaging and easy to read. Throughout the book, Jonathan Haidt hits the nail on the head again and again and again.

29 people found this helpful