The Myths of Happiness

Sonja Lyubomirsky. Penguin Press, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59420-437-1
In this thought-provoking volume, Lyubomirsky (The How of Happiness), psychology professor at the University of California–Riverside, examines happiness and conventional notions about how it’s nurtured in relationships, at work, and in one’s own psyche. Many of these beliefs are damaging myths, she opines: while society leads people to believe that happiness will necessarily accompany the achievement of certain life goals—like marriage or the birth of a child—such misconceptions can lead to depression when the expected euphoria fails to arrive. Additionally, the author argues that phenomena that are traditionally viewed as negative (e.g., divorce, illness, job loss) can in fact promote the development of crucial life skills that can lead, in the long run, to a more sustainable form of happiness—one that can cope with adversity rather than break down before it. “We must stop waiting for happiness, and we must stop being terrified of the potential for unhappiness,” she notes. “[N]othing in life is as joy-producing or as misery-inducing as we think it is.” While remaining sympathetic to her readers’ pain, Lyubomirsky demonstrates that positively reframing life events can mine the best out of even the darkest situations. Provocative and fresh. (Jan. 7)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 01/03/2013
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FORMATS
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-60550-9
Paperback - 298 pages - 978-0-14-312451-1
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