Tuesday, January 5, 2016

10% Happier - Dan Harris

I have to admit that the only thing I knew about Dan Harris before reading this book was that he was the guy on Good Morning America who looked a bit upset at participating in the fluff pieces that are part of the morning shows. It always seemed to me that he wanted to just do the news. That is all I knew about him.

I have been looking for different books to read recently and I am also a little cheap sometimes. I always scour the sales at Amazon.com for Kindle books. I have hundreds that I have picked up for free or at least around $2.00. The full title of Harris' book intrigued me:

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story

I posted it really big because the title actually screamed out to me like that when I read it. And....it was only $1.99 at the time. I read it in just a few hours (not all at once, but over three nights). I enjoy his straightforward style. He pulled no punches. He wrote about his drug addiction, his pettiness, the vanity of television personalities and so much more. But he wrote it from his vantage point. He owned his beliefs and behaviors. Well,,,he does now. For a while he was a mess but he did not realize it. Part of his job with ABC lead him to file religious and spiritual stories. He met once famous author/spiritual guru who just seemed to good to be true. He researched that person, and then the person who inspired him, and so on. He spent many hours reading and listening to people who seemed to have the answers the questions Harris did not know he had. 

He was lost in life. He tried nearly everything to find his way, including spending ten days at a meditation retreat, He struggled with his faith and beliefs, He wrote frankly about the times he felt like he was being conned. He was as harsh on himself and the people with whom he spoke. It appears to me like he genuinely wanted to figure something out. But here is the kicker - and the reason I like this book so much. He did not find the cure-all answers. He did not find the magic bullet or poison. He does not claim to have any answers. Instead he discovered that if he works hard on the techniques ht learned (meditation) that he can improve his happiness by 10% and that is pretty good. If keeps in improving by 10% he might actually be happy - but then again the journey was what helped him the most (my opinion). This one book made me seek out similar books. I will write about those in time. For now I can recommend this for anyone looking for some answers to some questions. It is frank, inspiring, informative and it might make you a percentage happier for reading it. It did for me. I will work on the math of it all sometime. 

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