New Happy: A Book Review by Bob Morris

New Happy: Getting Happiness Right in a World That’s Got It Wrong
Stephanie Harrison
A Tarcher-Perigee Book/An Imprint of Penguin Random House (May 2024)

How to find lasting happiness        

According to Stephanie Harrison, it’s time to replace what she characterizes as “Old Happy” with “New Happy” in order to achieve and sustain “Lasting Happiness.” HOW? Details are best revealed in context, within the narrative. FYI, here is how she defines two terms that are separate but related, indeed interdependent:

OLD HAPPY: “Being perfect, making more and more money, acquiring more and more stuff, conforming to the prescribed path, working harder and harder (never resting or slowing down), gaining fame/popularity/acclaim, and competing with others (and winning).” Source(s) of these definitions? I have no idea. The book has no bibliography or notes. Harrison does invite her reader to check out “resources” at her website, identified on Page 268.

NEW HAPPY: “Discovering who you are and share yourself in ways that help other people. This is the path to happiness, and I call it  New Happy.” This is Harrison’s definition. It embraces and affirms what is positive in terms of impact on others.

The material is organized within five Parts:

The Happiness Myth (Chapters 1-3)
Unwind Old Happy (4-6)
Understand Happiness (7-9)
Uncover Your Gifts (10-12)
Serve the World (14-16)

These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me:

o Introduction: My Story (Pages ix-xiii)
o The World Tells Us What to Value (16-23)
o Find Freedom from Old Happy (29-30)
o The Four Steps to Happiness (37-38)
o Why We Grade Ourselves and How to Stop (44-48)

o Helping Is Good for You and for Others (102-105)
o You Are Human When You Are Struggling (115-119)
o The Biggest Shift You Can Make (132-135)
o The Three Types of Gifts (139-142)
o How to Celebrate Other People’s Gifts (144-147)

o We Have Gotten Love All Wrong (153-155)
o The Power of a Perspective Shift (183-185)
o The World Needs You (208-211)
o Conclusion: The Person in Front of You (265-267)

It remains for you to decide whether or not you have an interest in exploring your own thoughts and feelings about the  nature of happiness and to what extent (if any) it is essential to your life now. There is much of value to be learned from what Stephanie Harrison shares as well as from others’ lives on which she focuses.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out three others:  Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life? (2012), Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, and Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture (2008).

* * *

Here are two suggestions while you are reading New Happy: First, highlight key passages Also, perhaps in a lined notebook kept near-at- hand, record your comments, questions, action steps (preferably with deadlines), page references, and lessons you have learned as well as your responses to key points posed within the narrative. Also record your responses to specific or major issues or questions addressed, especially in rseponse to end-of-chapter KEY TAKEAWAYs.

These two simple tactics — highlighting and documenting — will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent reviews of key material later.

Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.