What a great provocative title for a book recommended by Mancroft International, the company that promotes thinking skills! The sub-heading for this book is ‘Common-sense strategies for discovering lifelong happiness’ which sums it up pretty well really.
My initial reaction to the book when I first browsed through it some years ago was one of scepticism because early on in the book the words ‘Happiness Training’ appeared and too much stuff published with the word ‘happiness’ in the title is a bit fluffy for my taste although, of course it’s what almost everybody wants more of. However, I persevered and was very pleasantly surprised to find, in my opinion, a well written book with a pragmatic approach to the everyday problems with which we are all faced with fairly frequently.
I like Carlson’s quote that being happy is not necessarily easy, in fact here at Mancroft, we hold the belief that it is much easier to be cynical and pessimistic than it is to be happy and optimistic.
There’s another great quote from Carl Jung early on in the book: ‘The greatest affliction affecting mankind isn’t serious mental illness – but the general uneasiness and unhappiness that is so prevalent in our society’. Jung believed, as Carlson and I do, that most live life in a ‘life-less’ manner. There are some very useful ideas presented here to live in a ‘life-full’ manner!
One of the sub-headings that grabbed my attention in Chapter 2 was ‘Thinking turns events into Problems’ and in this section Carlson discusses the concept of ‘neutral’. Hopefully you will remember that in The Winning Edge programme, we regard this to be one of the most important – and challenging – of the concepts we present. It’s the first book that I have read that expresses this concept in the same way as Mancroft, so Carlson is obviously a person of judgement and taste!
Another quote I hope you will enjoy: ‘Unfortunately, if you are not taught that the thoughts you have about yourself are just thoughts, you will start to believe that they describe the way you really are’. How profound is that?! How many of us fool ourselves into thinking that our thoughts describe reality instead of realising that it is only our version of reality.
It’s very difficult to over-estimate the impact that this seemingly simple book can have you; on face value it’s an easy read but be prepared to welcome the challenge you will have to the received wisdom to which we have all been exposed to over the years.
This book is not just aimed at people who are unhappy but at anyone who could simply ‘feel better’; which I guess is most of us at some time or other. I do hope that, if you haven’t all bought this book when you were given your bibliography after The Winning Edge programme, that you will buy it now; if you do, huge benefits await you.