Happier Hour: A book review by Bob Morris

Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most
Cassie Holmes
Gallery Books (September 2022)

“The time you enjoy ‘wasting’ is not wasted time.” Bertrand Russell

No one can add an hour to a day, a day to a week, a week to a month, or a month to a year. However, almost anyone can make much more efficient — and much more enjoyable — use of time within finite limits. Measurement of time is arbitrary but perception of time is relative. Albert Einstein once observed, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.”

What we have in this volume are the most valuable lessons Cassie Holmes has learned — the essential dos and don’ts to keep in mind — in order to “beat distraction, expand your time, and focus on what matters most.”

Here is one of the most important lessons to which Holmes refers in the final chapter: “When you look at your life overall, you want to feel happy, and you want to see it as meaningful. Fortunately these goals are not at odds with each other. Rhia Catapano, Jordi Quoidbach, Jennifer Aaker and I have analyzed the the happiness and meaning experienced by over 500,000 individuals across 123 countries. Our results reveal that happiness and meaning in life are very highly correlated.”

I became convinced many years ago that happiness and meaning in life are not only highly correlated…they are [begin italics] interdependent [end italics].

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Holmes’s coverage:

o How to increase feelings of time affluence (Pages 29-39)
o Three-Part time tracking Exercise (46-49, 55-59, and 70-71)
o Happiness
o Strategies for making more fun (82-87)
o Happiness at work and satisfaction with job (87-97)

o Candace Billups (88-91)
o “Pause and smell the Roses”  (105-132)
o Time Left Exercise to offset hedonic adaptation (110-125)
o Changes in quality of happiness related to age (111-115 and 218-221)
o Awareness  of time left (117-125)

o Distractions (133-153)
o Meditation (140-143)
o Strategies and benefits for achieving the “flow state” (144-148)
o Time Prioritization (155-174)
o Barriers (“sand traps”) to time prioritization (158-163)

o Justin Sternberg (169-173)
o Time Crafting: Four-step process (179-207, 183-194, 195-200, and 201-207)
o Age-based perspectives on nature and quality of happiness (218-221)
o Exercise: Eulogy (223-226)
o Exercise: Learning from Admired Elders (227-231)

These are among Cassie Holmes’s concluding remarks: “My research, and this book, has revealed that happiness has [begin italics] agency [end ittalics]. Happiness is a choice. Every hour of every day. With the strategies described here, you now know [begin italics] how [end ittalics] to make these choices — and not just in general but for you personally.”

Who will derive the greatest benefit from reading this book and then effectively applying whichever portion of the material is most relevant? Two groups will. First, those who are now preparing for a career in business or have only recently embarked upon one. Also, those supervisors who have direct reports entrusted to their care.

I conclude with a suggestion of my own: Highlight key passages and keep a lined notebook near at hand in which to record your own opinions, comments, questions, and page references. The notebook will also help you to complete with greater care the various exercises included within the narrative. These two tactics will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.


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