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The Mystery of Happiness: Solved! by Ken Saxby

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To call this just a self-help book would be to undersell its potential. Unlike many purported self-help books that only provide the “what,” The Mystery of Happiness: Solved! also gives readers the “why.” The book opens with a macro level view of how people have searched for happiness since the beginning of time, and the philosophical and psychological means of understanding it. The author then delves into the defining characteristics of happy people; their lifestyle, demographic, and qualities are examined in depth. The book then wraps up with modern psychological methods for determining happiness and strategies for improving one’s own happiness.

The advice in this book, specifically in elevating one’s happiness, is sound; and is based mainly on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a common treatment among therapist. The strength of this book though, is in the history it provides. Starting with ancient Greek philosophers the author charts out a succinct look at how happiness, and the attempt at understanding its source, has changed over the years. Possibly one of the most interesting pieces is the author’s categorization of history’s attempt to relate our brain to something else. Starting with wax, then a walnut, and on to a computer, people have always been searching for a way to make the mind more understandable. The author does include the occasional bias in his writing, especially in the repeated assertion that extroverted people are happier than introverted. These are few and far between however and don’t really interfere with the reading of this book. Whether looking for advice on how to be happier, or a historical look at the categorization of happiness, this book will be a good fit.