Tag Archives: The Happiness Hypothesis

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt is a psychology book for the general reader. Jonathan Haidt identifies some of the key psychological ideas discovered by thinkers of the past, examining them in the light of contemporary psychological research, extracting from them any lessons that still apply to our modern lives. Central to the book are the concepts of virtue, happiness, fulfillment, and meaning.

As commented by June Sawyers on Booklist about The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom:
Using the wisdom culled from the world’s greatest civilizations as a foundation, social psychologist Haidt comes to terms with 10 Great Ideas, viewing them through a contemporary filter to learn which of their lessons may still apply to modern lives. He first discusses how the mind works and then examines the Golden Rule (“Reciprocity is the most important tool for getting along with people”). Next, he addresses the issue of happiness itself–where does it come from?–before exploring the conditions that allow growth and development. He also dares to answer the question that haunts most everyone–What is the meaning of life?–by again drawing on ancient ideas and incorporating recent research findings. He concludes with the question of meaning: Why do some find it? Balancing ancient wisdom and modern science, Haidt consults great minds of the past, from Buddha to Lao Tzu and from Plato to Freud, as well as some not-so-greats: even Dr. Phil is mentioned. Fascinating stuff, accessibly expressed.