Curious?

 
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Book Description

Dead cats. That's the image many people conjure up when you mention curiosity. An image perpetuated by a dusty old proverb that has long represented the extent of our understanding of the term. This book might not put the proverb to rest, but it will flip it upside down: far from killing anything, curiosity breathes new life into almost everything it touches.

In Curious? Dr. Todd Kashdan offers a profound new message missing from so many books on happiness: the greatest opportunities for joy, purpose, and personal growth don't, in fact, happen when we're searching for happiness. They happen when we are mindful, when we explore what's novel, and when we live in the moment and embrace uncertainty. Positive events last longer and we can extract more pleasure and meaning from them when we are open to new experiences and relish the unknown.

Dr. Kashdan uses science, story, and practical exercises to show you how to become what he calls a curious explorer—a person who's comfortable with risk and challenge and who functions optimally in an unstable, unpredictable world. Here's a blueprint for building lasting, meaningful relationships, improving health, increasing creativity, and boosting productivity. Aren't you curious to know more?

How Curious? Will Help You: An Essay by Todd Kashdan

Without question, happiness is important. Who doesn't want to be happy and wish the same for their loved ones? But this book is not limited to happiness. This is a book about living a life that matters with a broader view about what the "good life" entails. Much of what we desire often has nothing to do with happiness but is just as important. This includes meaning and purpose in life, wisdom, satisfying relationships, the ability to tolerate distress, spirituality, creativity, compassion, feeling a sense of competence and mastery, and so on. Sometimes trying to be happy actually gets in the way of making inroads toward these other elements. Effectively handling the pain and stress that life brings is an essential part of creating a rich, meaningful existence.

When you adopt this broad view of what matters, an important question remains that this entire book hinges on. What is essential to creating a fulfilling life? The answer is…
  • Being curious.
  • Being open to new experiences.
  • Being able to effectively manage ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • Being able to adapt to the demands required of different situations (what I call “psychological flexibility”).
  • Discovering our strengths, deepest values, and what it is we are passionate about.
  • Strengthening connections to these values and passionate pursuits so that we can pursue a life aligned with them.

This book provides a closer look at curiosity; a neglected and underappreciated strength in our arsenal. People regularly ignore curiosity because it appears, on the surface, to be a very obvious, simple, impotent emotion--something unusual appears or someone captivates us by a story, we feel curious, and direct our attention to explore further. But while this emotion seemed simplistic even to me, as I began my research, I soon discovered that curiosity is a deeper, more complex phenomenon that plays a critical role in what makes people’s lives most worth living. Curiosity is the spark plug that ignites other factors that contribute to happiness and meaning in life. You can't work with strengths until you spot them and investigate them. You can't be grateful without being curious about what benefits you received in your life.

Besides a better understanding of curiosity, readers will be introduced to strategies for becoming a more curious explorer. By reclaiming curiosity and learning how to wield it, readers will be able to demonstrably alter the quality of their lives. A good portion of this book focuses on how to find, create, and sustain fulfilling moments and a fulfilling life.

How Curious? Will Help You [PDF]

Dead cats. That's the image many people conjure up when you mention curiosity. An image perpetuated by a dusty old proverb that has long represented the extent of our understanding of the term. This book might not put the proverb to rest, but it will flip it upside down: far from killing anything, curiosity breathes new life into almost everything it touches.

In Curious? Dr. Todd Kashdan offers a profound new message missing from so many books on happiness: the greatest opportunities for joy, purpose, and personal growth don't, in fact, happen when we're searching for happiness. They happen when we are mindful, when we explore what's novel, and when we live in the moment and embrace uncertainty. Positive events last longer and we can extract more pleasure and meaning from them when we are open to new experiences and relish the unknown.

Dr. Kashdan uses science, story, and practical exercises to show you how to become what he calls a curious explorer—a person who's comfortable with risk and challenge and who functions optimally in an unstable, unpredictable . Here's a blueprint for building lasting, meaningful relationships, improving health, increasing creativity, and boosting productivity. Aren't you curious to know more?

Customer Reviews:

  • Rediscover Yourself and the World Around You
    Many of us spend so much money for fleeting moments of pleasure and happiness before returning to our mundane cookie cutter lives. We are born with a brain which is a blank canvas upon which we fill with images and experiences of the wonderful world as we explore it with a sense of wonder. We are born curious. Small babies and children have so much cuiosity about everything. They draw, paint, use their imagination in their play.

    But, after we enter into school and are given advice by our parents, teachers, and leaders we learn there are rules. There is a set way to do problems, behave, etc. but above all else, we must be realistic and stick to the "correct" way of doing things.

    This is a book which shows how a curiosity blocked by a dam of accepted social protocol can be opened so a flood of new ideas, happiness, and views of the world can flood our minds once again.

    Rediscover your passion and zest for life....more info
  • Very Thorough Treatment of the Subject
    This is a book that you would expect from a PhD: it's very thorough, and probably more so than the average reader will want. If you want to explore all things about curiosity, this book is for you. I thought it dug deeper than I really was interested in exploring, so I took away one star.

    It's more of an advanced textbook approach than a self help book. The author certainly makes his points and knows how to back them up, but maybe the black and yellow cover had me expecting more of a Cliff's Notes version! ...more info
  • Curious? or Scattered?
    I recently received an advanced reading copy of Curious? from the publisher. I was excited to begin reading, but my excitement soon faded. Author Kashdan has provided plenty of solid information on how to improve your life every day. So why was I so disappointed in Curious?

    It's a matter of focus . . . or, rather, a lack of sustained focus.

    In the first three chapters, author Kashdan stayed on point both in his writing and in his choice of bibliographical references. He built a strong case for the importance of curiosity and embellished it with scientific studies. Indeed, these initial chapters deserve high praise.

    He should have stopped there. Of course, then it would have been a long paper rather than a book.

    Following the first three chapters is a collection of general information that may help readers improve their lives. However, to link it to curiosity is a stretch and, sometimes, not even that. What Kushdan has written is a more general, broader tome than a focused exposition on curiosity.

    There is much to recommend this book: good research, good writing style, helpful information. However, for those looking for a book that delves deep into a tightly focused area, Curious? may fail to satisfy.

    Three stars....more info
  • Not really about curiosity
    As a curious person myself the most curious thing I found about this book was how little of it was really about curiosity. It was mostly about positive psychology and talked about flow and various other similar subjects, but provided little or no depth exploration of curiosity itself. The only part that I found interesting was the author's account of how he became a shotputter in high school. But even this story was more about the author finding a niche to compete in athletically and then engaging in what "The Talent Code" calls 'deep practice' in order to build his skills. It wasn't really about curiosity. Given that curiosity is so fundamental to the sciences and arts, to exploration, discovery and engagement in life, I was disappointed that this book strayed so far from its topic. After struggling through the first 110 pages, I gave up and skimmed the rest.

    If you have access to an academic library then I would recommend instead "The Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation" (Psychological Bulletin Volume 116(1), July 1994, p 75-98). Failing that "The Everyday Work of Art" (Eric Booth) provides a more interesting view of engagement with life....more info
  • Five Stars!
    Great read filled with interesting stories..Found it uplifting and refreshing. Remember these tips and gain a new perspective on your life. It adds a spring to your daily step..Turns an internal light bulb on after each chapter. Great self workbook included..! Thanks Dr. Kashdan for providing a new outlook to our everyday thought processes. ...more info
  • Good
    I applaud this author for taking a different look at the self-help genre. All too often, the authors just take what has been said a MILLION times before and either just repeat it, or at best, try to rehash it an make it sound like their own. This time, the author does a nice job of taking a Da Vincian approach to life, that is, wonder as much about everything as you can and you'll be happier. And the premise does make sense on many levels: if you are curious about your job, and its many facets, you're bound to educate yourself, improve you career prospects, improve pay, and make yourself happier. If you are curious about other people, they'll really take to you, you'll make friends, and find partners. You get the idea. And this is the problem and the brilliance of this book: its simplicity. The title, basically, tells you all you need to know. If you can figure out how to apply curiosity to a particular situaiton, age, person, etc in life, you really don't need this book. If you are unsure, this book will help you along with examples and methodologies. You just need to decide if the curious approach to life is something you are willing to work at, as it does, require a lot of work for those who aren't used to putting in the effort. Overall, a good read....more info
  • Awakening
    Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life
    I do not want to be redundant in my praise of this book. I agree with the other positive reviews. I can add that Curious? has made me aware of what has been missing in my highly focused goal of living "the good life". In my attempt to achieve optimal well-being I shut out from my awareness some thoughts, feelings, & actions that would have been very rewarding. I now mired in the present & finding not only vitality, but great distraction from stress. Read this book....more info
  • Not what I expected
    I was most curious about this book, for I have always contended that being interested in everything, which to my mind is synonymous with curiosity, is what has kept me relatively sane and happy. It is a very personal topic for me. As one who suffers from depression, I've felt that both my learned and innate curiosity has kept me from the worst that depression can do to a person, and I've seen this in others in my family, too. Curiosity, especially of the intellectual kind, has also contributed, I believe, to the longer than normative life span of many of my relatives. I've always felt that as long as there was a new book to read, or even something as mundane as a cliche I didn't know the origin of, I had something to look forward to. I've never stopped asking questions like a child.

    So, when this book came out, promising to explain why curiosity is the "missing ingrediant to a fulfilling life", I said to myself, "finally!" What I didn't expect is that the author had a different idea of what curiosity actually is.

    On page three, I encountered this: "Being curious is about recognizing novelty and seizing the pleasures and meaning that they offer us."

    I never thought of curiosity as being about novelty. Is wanting to know the etymology of a word, the name of a flower, or how a toilet works an interest in novelty? I think not.

    The author doesn't dismiss this type of curiosity, but I have to admit that I was disappointed to find that seeing the novelty in life is the focus of this book. And indeed, to go further, he also examines the "dark side" of this type of curiosity (the kind that killed the cat): sexual obsessions, sensation and risk seeking behavior, kleptomania, and the like. Not what I expected.

    This is not to say that this book has no merit. It does, and it is interesting. Learning to find the novelty in the mundane, living fully in the moment, leaving one's comfort zone; these are all excellent topics and suggestions for living a more fulfilling life.

    Still, I found other pieces of this book to be somewhat bewildering, for if the author claims that the curious person is doing that which I outlined quickly above, he also writes of a study that states "We spend 14% of our waking hours doing mundane chores such as yard work, washing dishes, and taking out the trash." To the truly curious person, none of these activities are mundane. Even to the average person, is yard work really a chore? I know an awful lot of folks who love raking leaves, pulling weeds, and mowing the lawn.

    This study claims that the average American spends only 28.6% of an average day doing something "enjoyable." The 31% of the day spent working or going to school is described as a "conveyor belt."

    I have to admit that I found this confusing. On one hand, Kashdan uses this study to show how Americans are not enjoying their lives, but on the other, he cites another study that where we discover that "the most intense moments of joy and interest occur three times as often at work than at leisure" and tells us that we "miss out on these moments."

    In spite of my confusion, or the feeling that Kashdan is himself a bit confused about curiosity and its exact meaning, this is still an interesting book. But it is a bit of mess, with exercises like "how to invigorate your relationship with a romantic partner" in the appendix. I'm not clear what this has to do with curiosity. If the definition of curiosity is mostly that of exploration, I can see the connection. I suppose much of this is a matter of semantics, for there's exploration and even play when one is trying to track down some obscure factoid or wants to know why, how, and whatever there is to know about just about anything. That, to me, is curiosity. The truly curious can turn a blade of grass into the subject of an entire book or an afternoon's adventure of wonder and questions.

    This sounds like a bad review, indeed, but it's merely my disappointment talking. I was hoping for something different, perhaps more scholarly, and more tightly focused. I didn't expect a self-help book with quizzes and exercises. But if you're a person who is indeed bored with life, this might be the best book you could pick up. I suppose I don't need it.

    I've always wanted to know why some people find interest in almost anything, while there are those withering away from boredom, and this book does not provide me with the answers. I have to say, I wish someone like Malcolm Gladwell would explore this topic. I have a feeling I'd find what I was looking for with him. But, thank you, Mr. Kashdan, for starting a conversation that needs to be started. The search for happiness is indeed found in curiosity, as you profess, no matter one's definition.

    Addendum: I wanted to change my three stars to four, for on Amazon a three-star review is tantamount to a diaster of a bad review. But no, I'm not allowed to change it. ...more info
  • Absolutely Dead On!
    Oh, I love this book! It's educational, instructional, and (most importantly) fun!

    I have nagged at friends, relatives, colleagues, and students to get curious, because so many people just accept things at face value and never look behind or around the corner, where the good stuff hides. Yes, there's a risk in being curious, but the author lets us know why we need to take that risk.

    I want to keep people curious enough to buy and read this book. There's a huge world out there, even for those of us who have been reduced to a nearly-housebound life at age sixty. Get curious, and you'll get happy! ...more info
  • "Curious?" - A fresh look. A must read.
    For years I have contended that there was something missing which played an integral role in the development of happiness. Many books have been published with ultra focus on positive affect and "rolling with the punches", but they are incomplete without the consideration of curiosity. This book delves into a key feature of the psyche that has been overlooked for far too long. Kashdan contends that curiosity can be developed and cultivated to predisposition you for happiness in your day to day life - this is exciting news. All too often we find ourselves in jobs we don't like, social functions we abhor and blame each for our discontent. We have learned to buy many things in attempt to discover our happiness when learning to seek the novelty in day to day interactions may prove to be the keystone to development of happiness. Kashdan sets us on the path to learning, defining and developing our own curiosity. He provides the toolkit for the reader to become a curious explorer which his ground breaking book claims will allow the reader to enhance our day to day happiness.

    Kashdan's writing style in Curious? is scholarly, eloquent and attainable. Throughout the book Kashdan illustrates his research using clear analogies which draw his concepts within reach of a broad spectrum of audiences.

    Instead of oversimplifying Curious? Kashdan constructs his framework through a meta-analysis of his own and other prominent scholars' research results. It is apparent that Curious? is a result of Kashdan's collaborations, life experiences and observations through clinical counseling; the book does not rests on one man's narrow ideas. What makes Kashdan's observations especially strong is the fact that he has taken great lengths to maintain a macro view on his own ideas as they have formed, followed by drilling down on concepts and applying his mastery. The ideas presented are well thought out and as a result the book is thought provoking. Many will find themselves taking notes and pondering the concepts delivered along with their own outlook on life and happiness.

    Brains lusting for the new/seeking a fulfilling life: I found a slew of concepts in Kashdan's book to be especially interesting. Naturally the overlying theme is that that seeking a fulfilling life is a found through seeking the new, i.e. being curious. One concept I found particularly intriguing was Kashdan's ideas surrounding conclusion/completion of a learning period. Often times we are caught up in getting things done and "checking the box" so to speak. Kashdan asks us what is next after the conclusion? Curious? addresses completion/conclusion of novelty seeking events as a fundamental problem to happiness which ultimately leads to our stagnation. This not only intuitively sounds correct, it is spot on. Think of how many times in your life you pick up a new hobby or even when you start a new job. At the start of things your mind is racing with excitement and a desire to learn all that you can. You become nearly obsessed with this knowledge seeking and time seems to fly by with states of flow, seamless efficiency and prowess, ensue. These are days, weeks, etc. that fly by without a moment's notice when competencies are at their highest. Once you learn the new job or master a hobby it is less interesting and you typically derive less joy from it. However if you take a lesson from this book you can find ways to seek the novel in the routine or mundane.

    Curious? is jam packed with powerful concepts and alerts the reader to key common disconnects many of us have regarding happiness. I enjoyed seeing some "frank speak" and a fresh writing style from Kashdan throughout the book. I found myself chewing up the text and jotting notes in the margins. Kashdan accomplishes what so many scholarly writers attempt; he cleverly blends complex research into attainable concepts.

    Negative Reviews:
    I read several of the negative reviews prior to deciding to buy the book. One common theme I picked up on was a lack of comfort from several reviewers' ability to read/learn about some of the dark sides of curiosity or Kashan's occasional "disturbing drug references", etc. While these references may have been uncomfortable/offensive for some it would be remiss to discount and otherwise outstanding work. I found these comments to be edgy in some cases but always in good taste and often providing levity or a smile to the reader. I prefer a writer who doesn't put the blinders on and stays true to himself/herself - Kashdan didn't shy, not even from the uncomfortable topics; a great book for all.

    This is an author to put on your watch list - I will be looking for his next effort!
    ...more info
  • Everyone Should Read This Book
    Wow, this book is something different. I generally run from any book that smacks of self-help, because the author is always trying to fix the reader. This book is something else entirely. In it, Dr. Kashdan answers everyone who is interested in that proverbial question, "How do I create a life that has meaning?" He uses the insights he has gained as a clinical psychologist, weaves in scientific facts about how people think and act, gives real world examples of people he calls "curious explorers," and provides activities for anyone who wants to up their game when it comes to using curiosity for adding zest to life. Readers are invited to join Dr. Kashdan on a journey of fun exploration that ends in knowing how to use curiosity to infuse life with meaning and joy. A must read! ...more info
  • The curious approach to life is what I have been waiting for.
    Finally! A book that goes beyond trying to teach you that all you need in life is to be happy. Happiness is transient; it's an end state. Curiosity is so much more. People can thrive off being curious. You can enjoy the process, live a fulfilling life, and as an added bonus, experience mroe happiness in everyday life.

    One thing I like about this book is that it does not contain fluff or personal opinion. All of Kashdan's points about the benefits of being curious are based on scientific findings. With his playful style of writing, he makes research both understandable and intriguing. The best thing about the book? It highlights concrete steps I can take to foster curiosity in my own life. This is exactly what I have been looking for.
    ...more info
  • How Curiosity Affects Our Lives
    In this book, psychology professor Todd Kashdan, Ph.D. relates curiosity to just about everything that can be in our lives. He painstakingly shows how it works, especially how to use it consciously.

    Finding ways to activate your curiosity can help psychological problems, which can be a good reason to read this book. Interestingly, there is a dark side to people exploring their curiosity, and the book covers that, too.

    Curiosity is part of many desirable and healthy aspects of human life and behavior. It is also part of some problems. This very involved discussion may be of great help to some folks who read it.

    ...more info
  • "The Anxious Mind and the Curious Spirit"
    I 'm not a fan of "self-help" books per se, but this book seems to fall into a better category.....It's more like the manual that comes with your latest electronic purchase with a bit of science thrown in and a "troubleshooting" guide in the back.....

    The book itself is written well and flows nicely....it's more like reading a novel than a "how to" instructional drama. The author covers a lot of territory without breaking pace, and he gives us many ideas to swish around our heads....

    One of the most revealing topics is called "The difficulties that Interfere with strong connections," where he goes on to say that boredom is one of the top reasons why couples decide to break up or get therapy. Once the blissful feelings fizzle out, the shallow conversations and lethargy set in..... I believe once you see something and can put your finger on it, you have choices as to which way you need to proceed. I highly recommend this book for everyone and feel the author genuinely cares and understands the problems facing the world today. ...more info
  • Not a self-help book! Really!
    The book is quite a departure from what you might expect from the silly, self-help-inspired title. It's an elegant paean to digging deeper, to being curious, to being ready to learn, and to not taking the easiest answers. There are quite a few reviews here now, but let me try to add some of why this book is so important...

    I taught university students at a reasonably good, large, public university. (No, I promise I won't offer a "and this generation is less BLANK than the previous.) The students were bright and friendly. And had no interests and no curiosities. They might watch television or play video games, but none collected anything. They might play tennis or volleyball, but no one hiked, sailed, kayaked, canoed, surfed, snorkeled, or dove. They might be Republicans or Democrats, but were never Socialists, activists, organizers, or well informed. They had Facebook pages, but never wrote poetry, went birdwatching, used a camera more complicated than their cellphone camera, programmed a computer, acted on stage, played a musical instrument, or repaired their own cars. They had no interest in traveling to exotic locales, no knowledge of literature that wasn't assigned in their courses, and little interest beyond what was on the next test.

    These are normal folks in America in the 21st century. They lack curiosity. ...more info
  • TEN stars Great insight and wisdom
    This book arrived just as I had been listening to Bill Gates Sr discussing how his son Bill Jr was curious from childhood and that this is why he as a successful CEO, foundation head, and great human, has been a success. And this is what makes this book so wonderful.

    And this is where Chapter 2 and the Curiosity Is the Engine of Growth speaks about this. Like being curious makes us explore, by exploring we discover, and by continuing with the new interest we develop competency and mastery. Much like what the renaissance era was all about.

    Also like how the author speaks of the liberating aspect of being curious. In many ways its all about overcoming fears.

    Reminds me of when we were home schooling and how our son loved playing Dungeons and Dragons, and this had a domino effect in getting him hooked on Shakespeare, architecture, food, gardens, and various other design interests.

    And that's what this book speaks to. Find your passions. And learn to have the richest life in all ways possible.

    ...more info
  • "Curious?" - A fresh look. A must read.
    For years I have contended that there was something missing which played an integral role in the development of happiness. Many books have been published with ultra focus on positive affect and "rolling with the punches", but they are incomplete without the consideration of curiosity. This book delves into a key feature of the psyche that has been overlooked for far too long. Kashdan contends that curiosity can be developed and cultivated to predisposition you for happiness in your day to day life - this is exciting news. All too often we find ourselves in jobs we don't like, social functions we abhor and blame each for our discontent. We have learned to buy many things in attempt to discover our happiness when learning to seek the novelty in day to day interactions may prove to be the keystone to development of happiness. Kashdan sets us on the path to learning, defining and developing our own curiosity. He provides the toolkit for the reader to become a curious explorer which his ground breaking book claims will allow the reader to enhance our day to day happiness.

    Kashdan's writing style in Curious? is scholarly, eloquent and attainable. Throughout the book Kashdan illustrates his research using clear analogies which draw his concepts within reach of a broad spectrum of audiences.

    Instead of oversimplifying Curious? Kashdan constructs his framework through a meta-analysis of his own and other prominent scholars' research results. It is apparent that Curious? is a result of Kashdan's collaborations, life experiences and observations through clinical counseling; the book does not rests on one man's narrow ideas. What makes Kashdan's observations especially strong is the fact that he has taken great lengths to maintain a macro view on his own ideas as they have formed, followed by drilling down on concepts and applying his mastery. The ideas presented are well thought out and as a result the book is thought provoking. Many will find themselves taking notes and pondering the concepts delivered along with their own outlook on life and happiness.

    Brains lusting for the new/seeking a fulfilling life: I found a slew of concepts in Kashdan's book to be especially interesting. Naturally the overlying theme is that that seeking a fulfilling life is a found through seeking the new, i.e. being curious. One concept I found particularly intriguing was Kashdan's ideas surrounding conclusion/completion of a learning period. Often times we are caught up in getting things done and "checking the box" so to speak. Kashdan asks us what is next after the conclusion? Curious? addresses completion/conclusion of novelty seeking events as a fundamental problem to happiness which ultimately leads to our stagnation. This not only intuitively sounds correct, it is spot on. Think of how many times in your life you pick up a new hobby or even when you start a new job. At the start of things your mind is racing with excitement and a desire to learn all that you can. You become nearly obsessed with this knowledge seeking and time seems to fly by with states of flow, seamless efficiency and prowess, ensue. These are days, weeks, etc. that fly by without a moment's notice when competencies are at their highest. Once you learn the new job or master a hobby it is less interesting and you typically derive less joy from it. However if you take a lesson from this book you can find ways to seek the novel in the routine or mundane.

    Curious? is jam packed with powerful concepts and alerts the reader to key common disconnects many of us have regarding happiness. I enjoyed seeing some "frank speak" and a fresh writing style from Kashdan throughout the book. I found myself chewing up the text and jotting notes in the margins. Kashdan accomplishes what so many scholarly writers attempt; he cleverly blends complex research into attainable concepts.

    Negative Reviews:
    I read several of the negative reviews prior to deciding to buy the book. One common theme I picked up on was a lack of comfort from several reviewers' ability to read/learn about some of the dark sides of curiosity or Kashan's occasional "disturbing drug references", etc. While these references may have been uncomfortable/offensive for some it would be remiss to discount and otherwise outstanding work. I found these comments to be edgy in some cases but always in good taste and often providing levity or a smile to the reader. I prefer a writer who doesn't put the blinders on and stays true to himself/herself - Kashdan didn't shy, not even from the uncomfortable topics; a great book for all.

    This is an author to put on your watch list - I will be looking for his next effort!
    ...more info
  • Like a monkey to a banana!
    I felt drawn to this book. Was it the bright yellow color with the large simple letters of Curious? that drew me? I don't know. I just knew I wanted to read this book. Todd Kashdan wrote a wonderfully exciting book, "Curious?" on exploring our curious behavior. What he wrote resonated within me on how we are programmed early on to live inside the box. Color within the lines. Don't forget to cross your t's and dot your i's kind of life. The formal rigid box society tries to constrain us in causes our spirit to be crushed and we just learn to be, but not live.

    Todd's focus was how we need to revive that curious spirit and embrace life to the fullest. I enjoyed this book. It even provoked people to ask me what I was reading during my breaks. The banana colored book drew people in like monkeys to bananas. Dr. Todd knows his stuff. He includes extensive notes and references to back up his book. No cotton candy fluff here. This is a must read for anyone in the psychiatric field, human relations, behavioral sciences and the like. It wasn't a dry read either. We all know those kind of stale books and this isn't one of them. You might even get an eyebrow uplifted by a colleague "Curious?" to know what you are reading!

    Todd examines both sides of curiosity including the darker side. Don't we all have that hidden down in us? You know, like bungee jumping off the Grand Canyon, but most of us only dream of the darker side. Some dark curiosities are really dangerous though, like sexual compulsions, obsessions, etc. However, the theme is to live a curious life and explore,(but be safe). I think what Todd quoted from Deepak Chopra best sums up this book; "I wake up with the hope this day is even more uncertain than yesterday. It is the unknown that we live, breathe, and move in all the time thinking it is known. If a life can be a series of perpetual surprises, that's the most joyous experience you can have." You won't regret reading this book!...more info
  • Explore, Embrace, Enjoy!
    I've been an avid reader my whole life and waited a long time to post my first review on Amazon. After reading Curious?, I felt compelled to sing its praises publicly. Self help books are a dime a dozen and generally worth no more than a penny. Todd Kashdan's new book is a welcome departure from this literature and provides a valuable and refreshing contribution to popular science. His book celebrates curiosity by describing the benefits of exploring the world, embracing novelty, and remaining open to new information and experiences. Kashdan strikes a perfect balance between science and readability by infusing interesting stories and anecdotes with a healthy dose of empiricism. The author digs deep to present intriguing scientific findings from decades of research while also sharing the latest results from cutting edge research conducted by international experts and his own active laboratory. One of the pleasures I found in reading this book was the experience of stumbling upon an interesting golden nugget of information in nearly every paragraph. More than once I felt torn between wanting to close the book to give my mind a moment to mull over a new thought and wanting to race on to the next paragraph for even more information. It left me feeling that I held a treasured book in my hands that would help satiate my curiosity for weeks to come. I particularly enjoyed the chapter that focused on anxiety and curiosity. It struck me as a unique contribution to psychology and influenced the way I think about managing emotions in everyday life. Kashdan is certainly the Cy Young of scientists on this playing field. ...more info
  • Curious satisfies curiosity!
    One of the first things that grabbed me about curious-- as I am sure will be the case with many readers-- was the cover. In an age where cover design has become almost as complex as book content, I was attracted to the simple and inviting one word title.

    The book did not fail to satisfy my curiosity either. You might wonder, as I did, how much there could possibly be to say about curiosity. I could imagine a catchy article, but a whole book? Yes, indeed. The author presents a wide spectrum of psychological research on everything from attractivness to non-verbal behavior to anxiety.

    The take home message of the book is that curiosity is more than just idle wondering about the world, it is actually really healthy. It is good for personal growth and good for relationships. Kashdan is quick to tell us that just becuase it is benefificial does not mean there is no limit to the amount of curiosity a person should have. His willingness to address the nuances of curiosity only add to his narrative authority.

    My favorite chapter was "The anxious mind and the curious spirit." Here Kashdan brings together two topics-- anxiety and curiosity-- that I never would have paired together. These two emotional states work together like a see-saw, with curiosity acting as "an antidote to anxiety." Apparently,curiosity leads us to explore and ask questions, a process by which we can actually descrease our anxiety. As in every other part of the book the author backs up his claims with research. In the modern world, with so much media emphasis on economic woes, social problems, and conflict this message is as reassuring as it is timely.

    I highly recommend this book. ...more info
  • Questionable!
    This book does have useful and informative information on the value of curiosity. However, I found the author's viewpoint to be skewed. He is adamant that curiosity is a positive thing. I wholeheartedly agree that curiousity is valuable generally, but not in every circumstance. Kashdan also equates curiousity with other traits, then claims the positive aspects of those traits to be positive aspects of curiousity, when in fact, they are not. For example, he states, "What if we saw things as they really are without judgments of what we expect them or want them to be?" OK, how does curiosity come into play here? Being open-minded is involved, but open-mindedness is not the same as curiosity. Another quote from the book, "Curiosity creates relationships; the need for certainty creates defensiveness." First, the need for certainty could be HELPED by curiousity, it is not the opposite of curiousity, as the author tries to portray it. Secondly, his info on relationships is questionable. If my curiosity leads me to have sex with another man, it will most likely result in defensiveness on the part of a number of people. I use this example, because the author brings up sexual curiousity frequently.

    In one disturbing part of the book, Kashdan (a parent, I might note) describes the joy of having children (after stating that children tend to reduce peoples happiness until the kids leave the house): "But the highest high with our kids are incredible. Just think about how you feel when Ray Charles's What I'd Say" plays in the background, and, without the slightest semblance of self-consciousness, your kids swing their arms, squat up and down, turn in circles until they get dizzy, laugh hysterically, and basically look like a bunch of oompa loompas on speed." I'm a parent, and my "highest highs" don't come from thinking that my kids look like they are on meth. Disturbing drug referances here.

    Other books on positive emotions, such as "Authentic Happiness" offer much better insight on how to lead a happy and fulfilling life. They offer up curiousity as ONE aspect, not the end all and be all of happiness....more info
  • positive psychology applied to relationships (and everything else!)
    I really enjoyed this book! I'm a psychotherapist, and can see myself recommending this book especially to those who are shy, reserved, or have difficulty forming and deepening relationships. The author does a great job of explaining in plain terms how a curious approach to life can bring joy and fulfillment-- and just make your daily life more interesting and fun.

    Highly recommended....more info
  • Curiosity satisfied (temporarily!)

    Some of the other reviewers had a similar reaction as I did regarding how this book compares to others that you might associate with it. The "self-help" genre is notorious for books that should really be essays -- if that. Many of them offer insights or advice that are, appropriately enough, self-evident, such as 'get a hobby,' or 'be grateful.' There's nothing wrong with that, but in Kashdan's book, he takes stories of people with passionate hobbies -- to take just one example -- and reveals deeper insights about human nature and how other people might emulate them. And instead of relying on introspection and common sense, he uses scientific evidence to back up his claims. The layman cannot be as familiar with the scientific literature, so such a book should be a guide for us instead of being one person's opinion, and this book succeeds in that.

    As the author points out, although his work is related to studies on happiness, curiosity is not the same thing. People familiar with studies of happiness know that people are bad predictors of what brings them pleasure and meaning -- an important insight that this book talks about in a broader context. Other aspects of this topic are also counterintuitive, such as the importance of uncertainty in your life as it relates to curiosity.

    Some other interesting topics that are covered in the book:
    -- the evolutionary basis of anxiety, negativity and other emotions
    -- ways people cope with mundane tasks
    -- what experiments in neuroscience and social behavior have taught us on the subject
    -- how high-sensation and low-sensation seekers affect occupations, crime, and sex

    If you have any interest in psychology and human nature, or in the more practical side of how to apply these insights to your life, then you'll learn something from this book. ...more info
  • Devour Curious?, Introspect, and Grow
    We've seen an explosion of books on topics such as happiness, spirituality, purpose, and meaning. I welcome them. But I think the pages are becoming saturated with identical information: relationships are crucial for well-being, money matters to a point, and a life of meaning is better than a life devoid of meaning. Curious?, however, is the change I've been craving.

    Dr. Todd Kashdan, arguably the world's leading expert on curiosity, convinces readers that curiosity is the missing ingredient to living a fulfilling life. At first, I was skeptical about curiosity's role in flourishing. Must I be curious to be alive, feel complete? According to Dr. Kashdan, and I now agree, yes! With each chapter, like a seasoned trial attorney, Dr. Kashdan builds an airtight case that curiosity is essential for well-being. I loved that he went beyond trendy data showing a strong link between curiosity and happiness. Like Velcro, it seems that happiness is related to everything. (Or that's what you'll think, anyway, after perusing your local bookstores!) Standing apart from all other books on happiness and well-being, Dr. Kashdan, using scientific evidence largely generated by his lab, also demonstrates how curiosity can help improve your relationships, decrease anxiety (by cranking up your "explore knob"), and add meaning and purpose to your life. I now believe that curiosity is to flourishing, as hollandaise sauce is to eggs Benedict.

    Being a "curious explorer," Curious? made me introspect and think about my values, goals, relationships, and purpose in life. I've grown psychologically, socially, and emotionally because of this book. If you're looking to expand your horizons beyond the typical books on happiness, like me, you'll love Curious? Furthermore, because of Dr. Kashdan's knowledge and witty writing style (Where else will you read, "screwed," "$%#@ off," and "fingering belly buttons" in a scientifically informed book?), you'll probably blow off work to read it.
    ...more info
  • Curious is a Winner
    I have enjoyed reading this book. I came in Curious, but quickly found myself caught up in deep thought and contemplating the author's approach to great lengths. On first read, I am still not convinced that curiosity equals happiness, any more than money, but it certainly can enhance the outlook one has. I will be re-reading this to refresh my look at the author's approach. Very stimulating and thought-provoking. Give it a shot!...more info
  • A Little Crude and Mostly Padded, Verbose, Belabored and Boring!
    While I appreciate the time and energy Doctor Todd Kashdan has invested in writing and publishing his book "Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredients to a Fulfilling Life," it was not one of my favorite reads.

    I thought the book was way too long for what the author had to say. Even after he made his point he continued to expound and provide examples where none were necessary. Additionally, his one "fart" example to exemplify a point was more than enough to stink up the book without using it two or three more times as the book went on. Likewise, there was no need to use four letter profanities to make his points. And, I might add, he added a little too much perversion and sexual tone for my taste.

    This book had a textbook feel and used many terms and ideas that seemed tailor made for classroom examinations. I normally zip through self-help books, but I had to read this one in small chunks because I became bored with much of the verbose and belabored explanations, especially about things that most people know already.

    Although I did not care for the tone and length of the book, the author has provided some useful information about the part anxiety, curiosity, novelty play in our decisions and expanding our relationships. The author provides tools and exercises in the appendix that may help some individuals grow and understand themselves better in their search for meaning.

    This book has provided me with some useful information; however, overall I found it to be boring and crude at times and will not likely read anything else written by this author. ...more info
  • Explore, Embrace, Enjoy!
    I've been an avid reader my whole life and waited a long time to post my first review on Amazon. After reading Curious?, I felt compelled to sing its praises publicly. Self help books are a dime a dozen and generally worth no more than a penny. Todd Kashdan's new book is a welcome departure from this literature and provides a valuable and refreshing contribution to popular science. His book celebrates curiosity by describing the benefits of exploring the world, embracing novelty, and remaining open to new information and experiences. Kashdan strikes a perfect balance between science and readability by infusing interesting stories and anecdotes with a healthy dose of empiricism. The author digs deep to present intriguing scientific findings from decades of research while also sharing the latest results from cutting edge research conducted by international experts and his own active laboratory. One of the pleasures I found in reading this book was the experience of stumbling upon an interesting golden nugget of information in nearly every paragraph. More than once I felt torn between wanting to close the book to give my mind a moment to mull over a new thought and wanting to race on to the next paragraph for even more information. It left me feeling that I held a treasured book in my hands that would help satiate my curiosity for weeks to come. I particularly enjoyed the chapter that focused on anxiety and curiosity. It struck me as a unique contribution to psychology and influenced the way I think about managing emotions in everyday life. Bottom line- this book will hold a prominent place on my non-fiction bookshelf for years to come....more info

 

 
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