The Happiness Advantage: Summary Review & Takeaways

This is a summary review of The Happiness Advantage containing key details about the book.

What is The Happiness Advantage About?

Based on one of the largest studies ever conducted on happiness and human potential, the book shares seven core principles of positive psychology that each one of us can use to improve our performance, grow our careers, and gain a competitive edge at work.

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The author reveals how happiness actually fuels success and performance, not the other way around. Why? Because when we are happier and more positive we are more engaged, creative, resilient to stress, and productive.

Who is the author of The Happiness Advantage?

Shawn Achor is one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness, success and potential. His research on mindset made the cover of Harvard Business Review, and his TED talk is one of the most popular of all time. He has worked with over a third of the Fortune 100 companies, the Pentagon and the White House, and lectured in more than 50 countries.

What are key takeaways from The Happiness Advantage?

What leads to success at work in today's fast-paced world? Working harder? Knowing the right people? Having great sales skills? No, the answer is increased happiness. The following 7 principles will teach you how to increase your happiness and therefore get closer to success.

Takeaway #1 Focus On The Positives

Traditionally, psychology focuses on averages, it looks at what makes people fall below the average level of happiness or fulfillment, the aim then being to bring people back up to the average level rather than asking how and where they are already above the average level. Therefore, people are not encouraged to improve in the areas they already excel in, only in those where they fall below the average meaning opportunities to surpass the average are often missed.

Takeaway #2 Happiness Comes Before Success

We often think that in order to be happy, we need to be successful but in fact, it's the other way around. Happiness is highly subjective yet we know through positive psychology that when we are feeling good, we feel more motivated, our minds are open to new ideas, we can retain more information and we are more successful. On the other hand, when we experience negative emotions, our ability to think and act is reduced in all areas of our life. Happiness can be achieved by doing positivity exercises each day, these can include meditating, showing appreciation for the small things in life, making other people happy, and thinking about things you're looking forward to.

Takeaway #3 Turn Negatives into Positives

One negative encounter can put you on a downward spiral for the rest of the day and in the long run, make us freeze up from failure but there is a better, way to react – Surge above the failure to become more capable and stronger than you were before. You are not defined by the events that happen to you but rather, by what you were able to produce from those events. Our brains automatically choose counterfacts after an event but these can go either way, making us feel unlucky or lucky, it's your job to ensure your brain always finds the positive outcome from each situation.

Takeaway #4 Take Control and Keep Control

In order to be happy and successful, you must believe that you are in control of your future but that also means not blaming failures on other people, the weather, the economy etc. In the moments when you feel that you're losing control, regain control by writing down your negative emotions, putting those bad feelings onto paper so as to diminish them. Secondly, list what you can control and what you can't, do not stress about the things that are out of your hands but take action on the things you can, no matter how small.

Takeaway #5 Willpower Is Not Enough

No matter how good your intentions to be happy and turn each negative into a positive, willpower alone is not enough as it becomes depleted when overused. The solution is to reduce your activation energy, this means making tiny changes that help yourself to stay on track, this might mean always having healthy snacks in the fridge if you're trying to lose weight or having an exercise mat unrolled by the bed if your aim is to do yoga every morning.

Takeaway #6 Social Support is Mandatory

When you cut yourself off from the world, no contact with friends or co-workers in an attempt to succeed it's highly likely that you'll either completely exhaust yourself or fail. Social relationships are a vital part of happiness and therefore success.

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Takeaway #7 Happiness Spreads Happiness

In the same way that a yawn is contagious, so is happiness therefore, it's your job to spread happiness. Your positive attitude and behavior can influence those around you creating a ripple effect that can spread around the world.

Book details

  • Print length: 272 Pages
  • Audiobook: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Psychology, Self Help, Business, Personal Development, Career Success

What are the chapters in The Happiness Advantage?

Chapter One - Discovering the happiness advantage
Chapter Two - The Happiness Advantage at Work
Chapter Three - Change is Possible
Chapter Four - Principle #1: The Happiness Advantage
Chapter Five - Principle #2: The Fulcrum and The Lever
Chapter Six - Principle #3 The Tetris effect
Chapter Seven - Principle #4:Falling Up
Chapter Eight - Principle #5: The Zorro circle
Chapter Nine - Principle #6: The 20-Second Rule
Chapter Ten - Principle #7: Social Investment
Chapter Eleven - The Ripple Effect

What are some of the main summary points from the book?

Here are some key summary points from the book:

  • Happiness leads to success: Contrary to the common belief that success leads to happiness, Achor argues that happiness is the precursor to success. When we are happy, positive, and optimistic, our brains are more engaged, creative, and resilient, leading to higher levels of productivity and success in various areas of life.
  • The Happiness Advantage: Achor introduces the concept of the "Happiness Advantage," which is the idea that being positive and happy in the present can improve our performance and ability to achieve future success. By focusing on our happiness and well-being, we can increase our productivity, creativity, and overall performance.
  • Positive mindset and rewiring the brain: Achor emphasizes the importance of developing a positive mindset and rewiring our brains to focus on the positive aspects of life. By practicing gratitude, optimism, and mindfulness, we can retrain our brains to become more positive and resilient, even in the face of challenges.
  • The importance of social connections: The book highlights the significance of social connections and relationships in promoting happiness and well-being. Building strong social support networks and investing in positive relationships can contribute to our overall happiness and success.
  • Small changes, big impact: Achor encourages readers to make small, positive changes in their daily lives that can have a significant impact on their happiness and well-being. Simple practices like expressing gratitude, performing acts of kindness, exercising, and engaging in meaningful activities can boost happiness levels.
  • The power of mindset: Achor discusses the power of our mindset and how it shapes our perception of the world. By adopting a positive and growth-oriented mindset, we can overcome obstacles, learn from failures, and achieve greater success and happiness.
  • The ripple effect: The book emphasizes that our happiness and positive actions can have a ripple effect on those around us. When we are happy, positive, and kind, we inspire and influence others to do the same, creating a positive and supportive environment.

What are good quotes from The Happiness Advantage?

[Favorite Quote]: “The person we have the greatest power to change is ourselves.” (Meaning)

"Habits are like financial capital - forming on today is an investment that will automatically give out returns for years to come."

― Shawn Achor - The Happiness Advantage Quotes

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: “Achor bases his training on a burgeoning body of research on the positive psychology movement, which emphasizes instilling resiliency and positive attitudes.” — The Wall Street Journal

* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways

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Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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