E-book, 272 Pages
By: Shawn Achor
“The best leaders are the ones who show their true colors not during the banner years but during times of struggle.”
The full name of this book along with the subtitle is The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. And I think it is self explanatory with a title like that what the book is about. I am always on the fence when I read non-fiction books, specially when it is self help ones and I am not of positivity to the degree that it becomes toxic but I think I was overall satisfied with this one.
The author tries to discuss how happiness leads to success and prosperity and not the other way around. There are seven principles that he goes to discuss in depth after that to make it easier for the reader to achieve this happiness and therefore the improvement in the quality of life.
The writing is good and engaging, I am a fan of psychology and all those neuroscience experiments make me so excited. This had a lot of psychology in it because the author mentions that he is a fan of the subject too. When it comes to science however, it should be backed by evidence to convince me as a reader that it is significant and most of the time the author left references or even mentioned books so that the reader can expand later after finishing the book which I appreciate as a reader!
I am saying most of the time because there were a few examples where the author would mention something personal and obviously not backed by science which decreased the scientific value behind the book. For example, when he is explaining the effect of environment on us, he mentions that he was addicted to playing Vice City that after a few days, he was gonna rob a police car because it was as easy as pressing X. That really made me roll my eyes because -excuse me- it is a very stupid example. Also he mentions two students in the chapter highlighting the importance of social connections, one who would be isolated in the library and one who did study sections with friends and they had fun while doing it. The library student did not do as good as the other one according to him. Now, I can buy that story but not as a general rule, in the pyramid of scientific evidence this comes at the bottom because it is just an opinion. And in medicine school, the class valedictorian was the student who was always isolated and the rest of us social ones got good grades but not as much as she did because in both my example and the author’s example we are not taking into account the confounders into account. Like the IQ, the socioeconomic status…etc.
“..the more you believe in your own ability to success the more likely it is that you will.”
And one thing I also noticed is how non fiction books are starting to use the same examples and points the more I read of them. I felt I know most of those principles from other books but it was not bad being reminded of them.
Summary: I enjoyed this book and I am happy that it was not written in a toxic-positivity kind of way. It had scientific evidence most of the time and when it didn’t, it made me roll my eyes. I highlighted some things and I enjoyed the psychological theories discussed so overall a positive read 😉