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Extended Audio Sample The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom Audiobook, by Jonathan Haidt Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,841 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Haidt Narrator: Ryan Vincent Anderson Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2018 ISBN: 9781549116681
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The bestselling 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 a book 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • "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
  • "Haidt's is an open-minded, robust look at philosophy, psychological fact and spiritual mystery, of scientific rationalism and the unknowable ephemeral--an honest inquiry that concludes that the best life is, perhaps, one lived in the balance of opposites.
    Bookpage
  • An erudite, fluently written, stimulating reassessment of age-old issues. Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • "[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
  • "[An] inspiring nuanced study.
    People
  • "[A] marvelous book.... I don't think I've ever read a book that laid out the contemporary understanding of the human condition with such simple clarity and sense.
    Guardian, (UK)
  • "This unusual book sets itself apart from the self-help category with its extensive scientific references, and intelligent, neutral prose, while the author's illuminating illustration of how the human mind works is both educational and refreshing.
    Sunday Times (London)
  • "With singular gusto, Haidt measures ten 'Great Ideas' against past/present research in psychology and science. LJ's verdict: Dr. Phil et al. don't have diddly on the old-school sages. No man is an island, indeed, and no modern reader should be without this carefully considered demystification of life.
    Library Journal, Best Books 2006
  • "This is a delightful book.... Haidt's writing embraces spiritual and mystical viewpoints while retaining scientific and rational coherence.
    Nature
  • "A disarming, original book, reassuring to those more conversant with worriment than merriment.... Smart and serious without pomposity.
    Seattle Times
  • "Haidt's remedy for the modern glut of frivolous self-help literature is to review and revise the classics, examining the ideas of thinkers like Plato, Buddha and Jesus in light of modern research into human behavior. Along the way, Haidt, a social psychologist, provides practical advice for parenting, romance, work and coping with the political and cultural divisions currently preoccupying the country.
    Psychology Today
  • The Happiness Hypothesis is a wonderful and nuanced book that provides deep insight into the some of the most important questions in life--Why are we here? What kind of life should we lead? What paths lead to happiness? From the ancient philosophers to cutting edge scientists, Haidt weaves a tapestry of the best and the brightest. His highly original work on elevation and awe--two long-neglected emotions--adds a new weave to that tapestry. A truly inspiring book.
    David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating
  • "This fresh and original book goes to the heart of what people have found out about happiness, across cultures and times. Enjoyable, important, and eminently readable.
    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of FLOW
  • "Jonathan Haidt leaves no doubt about the importance of emotion in the creation of personal meaning. This is a delightful and courageous book.
    Antonio Damasio, author of Looking for Spinoza
  • "In this beautifully written book, Jonathan Haidt shows us the deep connection that exists between cutting-edge psychological research and the wisdom of the ancients. It is inspiring to see how much modern psychology informs life's most central and persistent questions.
    Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
  • "Should we live our lives by age-old wisdom or the latest discoveries? Haidt gives us the luxury of not having to choose, bringing together both sources of insight in this sparkling investigation into the psychology of life and happiness.
    Daniel Wegner, author of The Illusion of Conscious Will
  • "It would be something of an exaggeration to say that Jonathan Haidt has found the final answer to happiness, but he has come as close as any other writer of our times. Every page of his book provides gems of insight about the good life and where to look for it. Anyone who is interested in humannature and its potential must read this book.
    William Damon, Director, Stanford Center on Adolescence, and author of The Moral Child
  • "An intellectual tour de force that weaves into one fabric wisdom that is ancient and modern, religious and scientific, Eastern and Western, liberal and conservative all with the aim of pointing us to a more meaningful, moral, and satisfying life.
    David G. Myers, Professor of Psychology, Hope College, author of Intuition: Its Powers and Its Perils

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Allen Tsai | 2/16/2014

    " There are some interesting things to learn about yourself through this book, but overall, I think I've learned most of it from life already. It was okay... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Glenn Carter | 2/10/2014

    " We often read that joy is attained in the journey, not the destination. This book encapsulates that notion. The Happiness Hypothesis weaves the reader through different theories, myths and assumptions pulling together artefacts to a compelling conclusion. The best book I've read since "The Guide for the Perplexed". I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone seeking true happiness and meaning in their lives. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy Hollister | 2/8/2014

    " i loved this book n inhaled it in 3 hrs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Niniane Wang | 2/2/2014

    " I really liked the chapter about what types of adversity make a person feel stronger, and what leaves them permanently damaged. Also the chapter about the importance of love and community is very interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob Gower | 1/31/2014

    " This is perhaps one of the most important books I've read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben Vogel | 1/25/2014

    " Maybe could give this 5 stars. I expect I will re-read it before too long and will happily upgrade it if it stands up. Lots of great thoughts and ideas in here. Highly recommended for anyone who's interested in their own mind and the minds of others. I never took the proverbial Psych 101 in college, but I think maybe it is done one better by Jonathon Haidt. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 1/25/2014

    " A fantastic book that I think all people should read. It is an enlightening experience. This book has fundamentally changed me and the way I see the world. I often refer back to it and reread certain chapters when I'm in a troubled place. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 1/21/2014

    " I didn't quite finish it as I lost interest towards the end. Much of what I heard, I have heard in other books although the author did have some interesting concepts. The presentation just wasn't all that great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heidi Landry Phelps | 1/20/2014

    " Haidt uses logic to help find the balance in our life. A must read if you have been searching for "happiness" and wondering what the heck this even means. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edward Kidder | 12/12/2013

    " Part psychology, part self-help, part social commentary-- an academic's thoughtful look at the quest for happiness, and what worked for him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 12/8/2013

    " Although this reads somewhat like a college textbook and is decidely left-leaning in its political bent, it has a lot of good information about how and why we do the things we do. Interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick | 11/13/2013

    " great book all I have to say "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Indra | 11/5/2013

    " Fascinating review of the field of positive pyschology. Most interesting pyschology book I have read in years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Simone | 9/14/2013

    " This is a very interesting report on the findings of psychological studies and how they relate to ancient texts, fiction or not. It sheds light on many aspects of human behavior and how to better understand ourselves and find balance. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 6/27/2012

    " I wanted to like this book, but the premise of looking at philosophy for hints on modern happiness didn't turn out to be all that interesting to me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristi | 6/7/2012

    " One of my all-time favorites. It's often classified as a self help book, but I would argue with that distinction. It is a primer in psychology and philosophy. Two thumbs and two big toes up! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christa | 1/30/2012

    " Not an easy read, a little dry but really cool stuff about the brain. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caleb Hunt | 1/25/2012

    " Profoundly enlightening (H = S + C + V) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lydia | 12/22/2011

    " All about what makes people tick, brainwise, biologically, morally, sexually, socially. How to ride the inner elephant of our subconscious self (since it rules us, and not the other way around). By ride, I mean how to "guide" that elephant. Quite useful... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisa | 5/19/2011

    " I find the science-y stuff a bit dry and the "you're trapped within your personality forever!" part somewhat depressing, but Haidt makes a compelling argument about human behavior and what leads to real contentment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erica | 4/29/2011

    " An outstanding book for anyone interested in happiness, the self, finding meaning in life, morality.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 4/22/2011

    " Not self-helpy but really interesting look at what makes us happy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 4/5/2011

    " I REALLY enjoyed this book. Learned a lot about life, people, myself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloria | 3/31/2011

    " Very interesting book about how the mind works. Some chapters were a little dense, but worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 3/20/2011

    " Thought provoking and insightful. Lots of interesting science to back up his hypothesis on what determines individual happiness.Lot of ideas that will continue to bring perspective into my life and how I perceive others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 3/13/2011

    " This is perhaps one of the most important books I've read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dr. E | 2/27/2011

    " Beautifully written from the perspective of a highly charged professor and psychologist. Love the idea of the answer being from the "within". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 2/21/2011

    " One of my absolute favorites - and a book I've given to at least 20 people. Highly accessible for non-science reading fans - and life changing for most who get through it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 2/11/2011

    " An overview of human behavior with respect to happiness (obviously), but makes light to our reactions, expectations, and desires. I found the chapter on reciprocity most interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julia | 1/28/2011

    " Not a bad book, but way too conventional. No out of the box ideas are offered. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 1/27/2011

    " Very deep but a great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 TC | 1/20/2011

    " This book literally gave you the equation to happiness. It showed throughout history and anatomically how happiness is in your own control. Very good book, and easy reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Constance | 1/12/2011

    " Brilliant history of psychology though presented as ideas of how to find happiness via philosophy tied to new research in psych and science. A bit less academic and would have been a bestseller! "

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About the Author
Author Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Righteous Mind and one of the most cited intellectuals in the media. A professor at New York Univerisity’s Stern School of Business, Haidt is also the founder of Heterodox Academy, an organization of some of the nation’s most respected professors that is committed to viewpoint diversity in higher education. He has been named a “top global thinker” by Foreign Policy magazine.