Monday, October 1, 2012

Being happy: You don’t have to be perfect to lead a richer, happier life

By Tal Ben-Shahar

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

There are a number of reasons why I liked this 228-page (of text) book, the first of which is that it is very well written.  Ben-Shahar is an engaging writer.

Second, I found the book educational.  Ben-Shahar includes six pages of references, then his four pages of notes are abbreviated, and all his notes come from his references.  The way he incorporates his sources throughout the book is smooth and comfortable—not the least bit awkward.  It will not take you, as a reader, long to discover that Ben-Shahar is not only well-educated, but the breadth of his knowledge is impressive as well.

Third, I enjoyed his personal insights, stories, and references because they offer additional depth to the book.  I thought the idea of moving from a perfectionistic point of view (or approach to life) to an optimalist is reasonable.  Also, it is a move that people can accomplish with dedication, patience, and persistence—requirements, obviously, for anyone who wishes to make changes in his or her life.

Fourth, I identify with Ben-Shahar.  It is clear that he is a teacher, and I thought his “Time-In” sections and end-of-the-chapter exercises were spot-on.  Anyone with a serious desire to shed his or her perfectionistic tendencies to become happier and more fulfilled, will find ideas in this book that will help them change—to move in more positive directions.

I am not suggesting by my comments that Ben-Shahar’s material is all new, that it is revelatory, that it is earth-shattering, or involves huge changes in one’s life.  There is a great deal of common knowledge and common sense here.  Often, those who are seeking changes in their lives need assistance.  

Reading this interactive book is a little like walking with a mentor’s hand on your shoulder.  The mentor is offering assistance through suggestions, advice, and warm counsel.  He, like a good teacher, is encouraging, motivating, comforting, supportive, positive, and reassuring.  If that is an approach you appreciate, then this book is a great choice.  To keep it handy is like having a counselor or tutor at arm’s length.

Being happy: You don’t have to be perfect to lead a richer, happier life can be purchased at Amazon.   

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