Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Lyubomirsky (psychology, Univ. of California, Riverside) has made a name for herself as a positive psychology researcher. Her own work and the main theme of this book shows how satisficing--living a "good enough" life--makes people happier than trying to maximize the perfect life. This book is designed for a popular audience, and academics will find that it leaves out the crucial quantities and proportions that would make it scientifically useful. Nonetheless, the research underlying Lyubomirsky's exploding of happiness "myths" is sound, and her footnotes are extensive and very current. Moreover, the author's tone throughout is cheerful and encouraging. Those familiar with happiness research will know most of the contents. General readers will find her prescriptions useful. Summing Up: Recommended. Public, general, and lower-level undergraduate collections. B. Weston Centre College
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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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.