The Happiness Hypothesis

The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt. An award-winning psychologist exposes traditional wisdom to the scrutiny of science to show why ancient insights still help us live more meaningful-and healthy-lives. Your grandmother was smarter than you knew. In fact, grandmothers and other sages, in cultures all over the world, have handed down bits of wisdom that ring true in every language: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you; what doesn't kill you makes you stronger; and life itself is what you make of it all exist as folkloric wisdom, crossing religious, historical, and social boundaries. Now, an esteemed psychologist puts these maxims under the microscope and reveals just how true these Truths are-and why.

Jonathan Haidt skillfully combines two genres -philosophical wisdom and scientific research-delighting the reader with surprising insights. He explains, for example, why virtue is often not its own reward, why extroverts really are happier than introverts, why conscious thinking is not nearly as important as we think it is, and why even confirmed atheists experience spiritual elevation. In a stunning final chapter, Haidt addresses the grand question "How can I live a meaningful life?," offering an original answer that draws on the rich inspiration of both philosophy and science.