Sunday, May 01, 2011

Hector and the Search for Happiness, by Francois Lelord

This book highlights several principles/ observations of happiness 'uncovered' through a psychiatrist's "busman holiday":
  1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
  2. Happiness often comes with the least expected.
  3. Many people see happiness only in their future.
  4. Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money.
  5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.
  6. Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains.
  7. It's a mistake to think that happiness is the goal.
  8. Happiness is being with the people you love.
  9. Unhappiness is being separated from the people you live.
  10. Happiness is knowing your family lacks for nothing.
  11. Happiness is doing a job you love.
  12. Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own.
  13. It's harder to be happy in a country run by bad people.
  14. Happiness is feeling useful to others.
  15. Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are.
  16. People are kinder to a child who smiles.
  17. Happiness comes when you feel truly alive.
  18. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.
  19. Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love.
  20. The sun and teh sea make everybody happy.
  21. Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think.
  22. Happiness is a certain way of seeing things.
  23. Rivalry poisons happiness.
  24. Women care more than men about making others happy.
  25. Happiness means making sure that those around you happy
  26. Be very attentive towards others.
  27. Take time to observe the beauty of the world.

3 main methods of measuring happiness (cited from the book, p134):
  • Ask people how mnay times they felt they are in good mood, cheerful, happy during the day or week.
  • If they were happy in the different areas of their lives.
  • Film people's facial expressions and then measure them in complicated ways.
Something useful... (p136)
...If you compare yourself to others and didn't find yourself wanting, if you had no money or health problems, if you had friends, a close-knit family, a job you liked, if you were religious and practised your religion, if you felt useful, if you went for a little stroll from time to time, and all of this in a country that was run by not very bad people, where you were taken care of when things went wrong, your chances of being happy were greatly increased...

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