Book Review: The Happiness Advantage

Emma De Vita reviews Shawn Achor's new book The Happiness Advantage

Book Review: The Happiness Advantage
Book Review: The Happiness Advantage

Since when did being happy become a management strategy? Not that we're complaining, of course. This book, by positive psychologist Shawn Achor, argues that the happier you are, the more productive you are.

The problem is that we're more depressed than ever before. Apparently, depression rates are 10 times higher today than they were in 1960. Add to this the gloomy predictions of the coalition government, and what chance do we have?

Achor says the route to happiness depends on following seven principles, which he describes as "seven specific, actionable and proven patterns that predict success and achievement".

The first is called "The Happiness Advantage", which is about learning to "capitalise on positivity and improve our productivity and performance". Another is called "The Tetris Effect". This is when our brains get stuck in a pattern that focuses on negativity, thereby setting ourselves up to fail.

Achor writes: "We must retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see - and seize - opportunity wherever we look." What it's not about is playing an addictive video game that involves dropping bricks into a wall.

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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