Happiness/Communication Blitz (Books 79-80, 82)

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 5.06.03 PM79.  Happier (Tal Ben-Shahar)

“The journey is more important than the destination”

Returning to work in September, Happier was my first audio book for commuting after I discovered (thanks Alison P) Hoopla.  The book focused on enhancing happiness through positive psychology and was written by a Harvard professor.

He discusses “four archetypes of happiness decision-making using a hamburger analogy.

1. The hedonist lives by the maxim, “seek pleasure and avoid pain”. This archetype chooses the tasty junk-food burger without regard to long-term consequences.
2. The rat racer lives for future gain by sacrificing the present.  The rat race archetype selects a tasteless vegetarian burger made with the healthiest ingredients, with future benefit in mind.
3. The nihilist is someone who has lost his or her spark for life – both present and future. The nihilistic archetype chooses the tasteless, unhealthy burger because they simply do not care.
4. The ideal burger is the happiness archetype – a combination of a tasty and healthy burger. This group knows that activities they perform today at home, at work and in their communities will contribute to a fulfilling future”.

There are some helpful insights including starting a gratitude journal and simplifying life.  Sadly this book was disappointing as it seemed very repetitive after enjoying Neil Pasricha‘s The Happiness Equation and Shawn Achor’s  The Happiness Advantage.


Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 5.35.52 PM80.  Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman)

This book was suggested by a great friend (thank you Karen) as a great way to think about communication for families.  I had not realized that it focused specifically on communication with a partner and had been looking for some tips for talking with teens but finished listening to the book before so finished listening to it and moved on to the version for teens.

This book had some great tips for really listening and understanding your partner’s needs and was a bestseller.  I have to admit that I had some difficulty relating to the examples even though it was supposed to be an updated version.  Many examples were very stereotypical in their portrayal of wives staying home to make dinner and care for the kids while husbands headed out to work!  I had trouble getting past this and listening to the messages about communication at times.

Overall, we can all benefit from improved communication and it was worth listening to during my commutes.


Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 5.36.18 PM82.   Five Love Languages for Teens (Gary Chapman)

After finishing the audiobook above, I moved on the the version of love languages specific to teens. At times, it was insightful and made me think of what love language was important to each of my children.

This book may have had some great messages but I did not relate to the religious messaging and did not think the examples were representative of the issues that today’s teens experience.  The tone seemed to express homophobic views as he talked about “immorality” and because of this, it will be the last time I read or listen to a book by this author.

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