The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit down with the Dalai Lama and really press him about life's persistent questions? Why are so many people unhappy? How can I abjure loneliness? How can we reduce conflict? Is romantic love true love? Why do we suffer? How should we deal with unfairness and anger? How do you handle the death of a loved one? These are the conundrums that psychiatrist Howard Cutler poses to the Dalai Lama during an extended period of interviews in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living.

At first, the Dalai Lama's answers seem simplistic, like a surface reading of Robert Fulghum: Ask yourself if you really need something; our enemies can be our teachers; compassion brings peace of mind. Cutler pushes: But some people do seem happy with lots of possessions; but "suffering is life" is so pessimistic; but going to extremes provides the zest in life; but what if I don't believe in karma? As the Dalai Lama's responses become more involved, a coherent philosophy takes shape. Cutler then develops the Dalai Lama's answers in the context of scientific studies and cases from his own practice, substantiating and elaborating on what he finds to be a revolutionary psychology. Like any art, the art of happiness requires study and practice--and the talent for it, the Dalai Lama assures us, is in our nature. --Brian Bruya

"Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, the very purpose of our life is happiness, the very motion of our life is towards happiness." --H.H. the Dalai Lama, from The Art of Happiness So popular and so rarely understood, this Nobel Peace Prize winner and man of great inner peace brings to a general audience the key to a happy life. In collaboration with a Western psychiatrist, The Art of Happiness is the first inspirational book for a general audience by the Dalai Lama. Through meditations, stories, and the meeting of Buddhism and psychology, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day depression, anxiety, anger, jealousy, or just an ordinary bad mood. He discusses relationships, health, family, and work to show us how to ride through life's obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace. Based on 2,500 years of Buddhist meditations mixed with a healthy dose of common sense, The Art of Happiness crosses the boundaries of all traditions to help readers with the difficulties common to all human beings.

Customer Reviews:

  • Simple words of wisdom
    For the non-Buddhist curious to read something by the Dalai Lama, this is a very good choice. The book outlines basic Buddhist ethical principles and explains how the non-Buddhist can incorporate Eastern wisdom into daily life. Because of its simplicity, however, the book does not have the intellectual and spiritual depth of many of the Dalai Lama's other writings. Cutler constructs this book out of numerous personal conversations with the Dalai Lama, which permits the reader a glimpse of what it must be like to speak face-to-face with the spirtual leader of Tibet. However, this technique, despite being illuminating at some points, is also the book's weakest feature. Cutler intersperses the wise words of the Dalai Lama with his own, often inane, musings. But, perhaps wading through Cutler's annoying interjections is a valuable exercise in learning to practice the compassion and patience which the Dalai Lama urges us to embrace...!...more info
  • Interesting
    This is a book with simple but hard concepts
    and i enjoyed it, tho it was a little hard to understand im only 14 so
    thats prob why ...more info
  • A Light Discussion On Happiness

    This book is a dialogue between psychiatry (Cutler) and Tibetan Buddhism (Dalai Lama). Despite claiming to be a "handbook" it is not full of 'how-to-do-it' gems. It is more a philosophic exchange on the subject of happiness. As it is written for a western audience some of the metaphysical elements of Buddhism, such as karma and reincarnation, receive only a brief mention. Compassion, however, receives a lengthy treatment, as does living in the moment and dealing with anger. There are a few meditation exercises included.

    The book is very readable and maintained my interest all the way through. If I have a criticism it is that the book does not contain enough psychiatry or enough Buddhism. Some how it seems to fall between the two disciplines. It reads like a first contact encounter between East and West, rather than a well developed, deeply contemplated thesis.
    ...more info
  • Beautiful
    Its amazing how such simple concepts can be so moving. Happiness is right around the corner for those who still haven't found it. I loved the audio form of this book, it was easy to pop in my CD player and listen too any time. I've shared this CD with friends and family and I've seen the transformation that the CD has helped bring to their lives. Don't think twice get this, its worth every cent!...more info
  • Emotional balance...
    It's an informative book in which the Dalai Lama discusses many of his own methods for handling negative emotions. But really, Dr. Howard Cutler is the main author of this book, like a previous reviewer said. Dr. Cutler helps make the ideas more accessible to Western ears, but next time I want a book that actually is written by the Dalai Lama himself. This was an excellent read nevertheless.

    This is a book on how to be happy, how to control negative emotions, and how to be compassionate. I think some people were confused and thought it was an intro to Buddhism, which it is not. ...more info
  • Inspirational
    I bought this book on audio so I can listen on the way to work. The ideas in this book make you step back and reflect on our Western culture. The Dali Lama teaches us that all human beings are the same despite cultural and political differences. This book has impacted my life and I recommend it to anyone. ...more info
  • Best Buddhism book for westerners and beginners
    If you are unfamiliar with Buddhism, then this book is a good place to start. Also, if you believe fully in the scientific method, as I do, but are interested in Buddhism, then again, this is probably the best place to start.

    Instead of overwhelming you with a bunch of Buddhist lingo and ideas as some books do, this book is very gentle in introducing Buddhist ideas and philosophy. Written by a western psychiatrist, it is very good at bridging the gap between western thought and the Dalai Lama's Buddhist wisdom. Cutler asks all the typical questions that westerners have when first exploring Buddhism, so you're not left thinking "Well what about this?". He also adds anecdotal evidence from his private practice to further explain the Dalai Lama's points, which is very helpful.

    One of the best things about this book is it's PRACTICAL advice, just little things you can do every day to be a happier person. I think it would be impossible for anyone to read this book and not get something out of it, not be able to make meaningful changes in their life to be a happier person.

    If you want to delve a little deeper after this book, I would recommend getting "Healing Anger: The power of patience from a Buddhist's perspective" by His Holiness, which is a translated version of the actual talks that the Dalai Lama gave in Arizona- which Cutler attended and discusses in the Art of Happiness. If you're new to Buddhism like I am, then you'll be glad you read the Art of Happiness first and Healing Anger will make much more sense thanks to Cutler's practical introduction to these ideas. ...more info
  • First on compassion
    Howard C Cutler asks some good questions for each of Dalai Lama's assertions. When Dalai Lama says that the goal of life is happiness HCC asks then why are we not naturally inclined towards it. Expanding on Compassion when DL says it involves opening yourself to other's suffering, HCC is quick to ask as to why would we take on another's burden, while we are trying to get rid of ours. Instead of one way info flow, HCC's persuant questions, make the reader linger on thoughts and know better....more info
    Completely changed my life for the better. A required reading for everyone.

    :)...more info
  • Courage to Say "I Don't Know"
    I salute the Dalai Lama to have the courage to say "I don't know" on confronting with common human problems, such as a self-destructive woman mentioned by Dr. Howard Cutler. But His Holiness did answer the question, in a more unhurried way, which he called The Art of Happiness. In the book he raised more questions than a psychiatrist could raise and answered some of them which not even a neuroscientist would like to try. Life is not mysterious, but to be happy is. We need medical sciences definitely, but a humanly love or concern, no matter how faint, should not be slighted. ...more info
  • somewhat useful
    This book and "Healing Anger" have pretty much the same content, so don't buy both. "Healing Anger" is organized in the form of eight talks and question-and-answer sessions over a four day period, whereas "The Art of Happiness" is organized topically. For this reason "The Art of Happiness" may be easier to use if you are interested in exploring particular topics. The downside of "The Art of Happiness" for me was Howard Cutler. I found his additions to what the Dalai Lama has to say didn't bring much value. What I was looking for in both books was mental exercises, and these are found in "Healing Anger" in each of the eight sessions in between the talk and the Q&A, so these are easier to find in "Healing Anger". I was a bit disappointed that neither book contained detailed treatments of some of the exercises referred to, such as the "seven-point cause and effect" and "equalization and exchange". These can be found on the internet by googling "Developing the Mind of Great Capacity"....more info
  • The Art of Grammar
    I was excited to read The Art of Happiness because I love learning about different perspectives on happiness. Although I find the book's principles interesting, I am often too distracted by the continuous grammatical errors to absorb the life lessons. The first sentence of chapter one is grammatically incorrect. I immediately noted that although the sentence ends with a quote, it does not begin with one. Luckily, this does not harm the sentence's content. However, on pages 24 and 25, I noticed that multiple sentences began with quotes, but they did not end with quotes. This is a major problem. Without proper quotation, the text is unreliable. At this point, how can anyone truly confirm the Dalai Lama's thoughts from Howard Cutler's beliefs? The severity of the book's grammatical errors are infringing on the validity of its content. I will continue reading the book, but I feel its poor grammar takes away from the essence of the book as a piece of literature. ...more info
  • A very nice read, but incomplete for most of us
    I watched the Dalai Lama at one of his dialogues recently. He is a very beautiful man, a master, and a great crowd pleaser. Sadly, I know that for most of us, the inspiration gained in his presence is not enough to carry us through the day to day problems of life, and we may soon forget his comforting words. More than that, there are no practically applicable answers here. Our 'unhappiness' is deeply ingrained through what may be years of dysfunction, and cannot be shifted permanently and effectively by reading a book like this. From the book: ' sets about gradually eliminating those factors which lead to suffering and cultivating those which lead to happiness. That is the way." Well I am sorry, but I have no clue how to do this! The best book I have found that actually gives you practical solutions is Olga Sheean's Fit for Love: Find Your Self and Your Perfect Mate, which provides powerful answers through our relationships with each other, to properly address these problems. ...more info
  • Holy Wisdom for Everyday People
    Based on the wisdom, teachings and interviews with the Dalai Lama, this book is a detailed look at the things in life that can bring us happiness, from work to family to play. Who among us doesn't want to be happy? Who among us wouldn't like to simplify her life or thinking? The Dalai Lama tells us how and why to do this. You may want to check out my book too: The Goddess of Happiness- A Down-to-Earth Guide for Heavenly Balance and Bliss....more info
  • Such a terrific book
    It truly makes you look at like in a completely different life. Ever since I have lived keeping in mind what I learned, my closed ones say "I don't think I've ever seen you her unhappy"...more info
  • A fantastic book for those with an open mind...
    I enjoyed this book immensely, and - although it is something of a clich¨¦ - it has changed my life.

    I like the way that Howard Cutler has been honest by sharing his own doubts and hesitation to accept the Tibetan teachings that the Dalai Lama shared with him.

    Learning how his thinking progressed in his interactions with the the Dalai Lama reflected my own experiences of reading this book.

    It is NOT an instructional book and I think that the subtitle's reference to it being an handbook may be misleading.

    It IS an inspirational text that will provoke thought and cause you to challenge your thinking, and I certainly have benefited from this book more than any other I have read!

    I thoroughly recommend it - it would make a great gift for anyone going through a difficult time....more info
  • An excellent book for finding inner peace
    I highly reccomend this book to anybody searching for inner peace and happiness and a higher acceptance of all walks of people around us. Reading this book for me was life changing and helped me be more accepting to stressful situations and people around me, decreasing anger and dis-satisfaction significantly. The concept of how we all need each other and are interconnected is very important especially in todays fast paced competetive world. It is a book that I have re-read and reccomended to several people and also given as a gift....more info
  • Heartfelt advice from a wise man
    The Dalai Lama is awesome! He has such great advice about a lot of the things that people concern themselves with. Of course, he lives in an entirely different world than we do in the USofA, but his principles are very fundamental. Compassion is universal.

    When I read "The Art of Happiness" I was in a really bad state of mind. I was depressed and suicidal. He helped me get through a lot of my own problems and make me into a more balanced person. It's still tough - especially when other people are such a-holes and have zero compassion for anyone or anything - but I'm going to keep trying to be the way the Dalai Lama says to be and hope for the best. "Why?" by Phil Nery was a great book for dealing with depression and suicide, too. Completely different manner than "The Art of Happiness" but just as effective....more info
  • Beginning
    By sheer coincidence, this is the second book in a row I have read (following "People of the Lie" by M. Scott Peck) where psychiatry and spirituality come together to bring practical insight into the human condition. In "The Art of Happiness" Howard C. Cutler, psychiatrist, conducts a series of interviews over time with the Dalai Lama in order to discuss the most universal of human interests ... how to achieve happiness.

    I won't begin to try to sum up the various techniques and concepts that are discussed in this book. I will say that I found reading the book to be uplifting, enjoyable and fascinating. The Dalai Lama is not a religious figure who commands respect from either intimidation or pomp and circumstance. He comes across as warm, friendly, nurturing and flexible enough to look at complex issues from various points of view, without ever resorting to defensiveness or dogma. And although Cutler's commentary is never as interesting as the Dalai Lama's own words, this book provides an excellent opportunity for the beginning of a dialogue between western psychology and eastern spirituality. Although I had read another book by the Dalai Lama a decade ago, I really consider this book to be my first real introduction to him, and I'm inspired and curious to learn more about the man and his teachings.
    ...more info
  • A Beautiful Book of Profound Truths
    The Dalai Lama's "The Art of Happiness" is a great place to start for anyone seeking to further their meditations, spiritual practice, and, most importantly, to improve their happiness and quality of life. The book is written in such a manner as to appeal not only to prospective and current Buddhist and religious practitioners but a wide variety of human beings seeking to gain fulfillment and to become better people. The Dalai Lama's wisdom is approached from both the Eastern and Western perspective by the book's author, Dr. Howard Cutler, who interprets the Dalai Lama's words for a Western audience following the Dalai Lama's own casual discussions.

    I felt this was sometimes an unnecessary convention, however, as the advice given by the Dalai Lama was so contemporary and down to earth that it would make sense even to those unfamiliar with the Buddhist religion. However, the book also expresses the deepest truths and sentiments of Buddhists, and, I believe, of all good, compassionate human beings. This is certainly recommended reading even for non-religious people. It honestly left me with a feeling of contentment and compassion after every chapter.

    I was a bit annoyed by the author's (Cutler) attempts to "Westernize" the Dalai Lama's views, particularly through Western psychiatry. I understand that the fellow is a psychiatrist and therefore steeped in the practices of science, but I felt that for some of the deeper human truths he was simply overcomplicating things. His "devil's advocacy," as one might call it, does approach the Dalai Lama's dissections of a spiritual, happy life in new ways that readers may consider, but in most cases his questions seemed to result from a misunderstanding of the Dalai Lama's logic because he reflected rather analytically on the words rather than the deeper meaning. I think he did a good job of portraying the Buddhist leader's virtuous way of life, but I spent most of the book waiting for him to stop with his pseudo-psychiatric analysis -- which I could have gotten in a thousand pop psychology books -- and give us more of what the Dalai Lama had to say.

    Regardless, though, this is a beautiful albeit simple book and I would recommend it to virtually anyone....more info
  • Great Insight into a Better Way of Looking at the World
    Written in clear language for the average non-buddhist struggling to deal with life's day to day nuances. It offers practical advice on how you can improve your life now while gaining some additional insight and peace of mind along the way.

    The thing that is so refreshing about listening to the Dalai Lama is his open and non-judging nature. He lets the soundness of his advice stand and be judged on its own merit and challenges the listener to decide for themself whether it makes sense for them. He does not try to convert people to his religious beliefs even though he believes in their merit strongly.

    He honestly wants people to choose the path that works best for them given their psychological and cultural background. If in the process, he is able add some enrichment along their journey, then he this is what truly makes him happy....more info
  • A Light Discussion On Happiness
    This book is a dialogue between psychiatry (Cutler) and Tibetan Buddhism (Dalai Lama). Despite claiming to be a "handbook" it is not full of 'how-to-do-it' gems. It is more a philosophic exchange on the subject of happiness. As it is written for a western audience some of the metaphysical elements of Buddhism, such as karma and reincarnation, receive only a brief mention. Compassion, however, receives a lengthy treatment, as does living in the moment and dealing with anger. There are a few meditation exercises included.

    The book is very readable and maintained my interest all the way through. If I have a criticism it is that the book does not contain enough psychiatry or enough Buddhism. Some how it seems to fall between the two disciplines. It reads like a first contact encounter between East and West, rather than a well developed, deeply contemplated thesis.
    ...more info
  • Happiness East And West
    This book is the result of a series of talks between Dr. Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist, and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama states that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. The conversations essentially tell us what is necessary to bring that about.Being a kind, compassionate, and loving human being helps. What was a bit of a surprise to me was how much of what the Dalai Lama said sounded like cognitive behavioral therapy. Evidently, when it comes to happiness, the gap between East and West isn't that wide. There seems to be general agreement that happiness is an inside job and is very related to the inner dialogue we have going with ourselves all day long. If we want to be happy, the Dalai Lama gives us a pretty good road map to follow.This is a worthwhile book....more info
  • Excellent book with combined Eastern & Western perspective
    I'm an Indian guy living in USA for almost 10 years now, so I was able to see this book from both Eastern and Western perspectives. The book has a very balanced way of explaining various Buddhist concepts, with practical implications/application. Western psychiatric point of views are also interwoven nicely. I would highly recommend to experience this book.
    ...more info
  • Not bad
    I have bought this book some time ago becuse I myself am a very spiritual person in hopes to become a better person. I will not tell you a lie this book has some exercises and some medation exercises to help improve your life. This book has help me somewhat....more info
  • Good ideas but...
    I got this book because I really wanted to read the advice on relationships and happiness from the Dalai Lama. It does have a lot of good ideas on how to live happily and treat others with respect. It's my first time reading a book "by" the Dalai Lama, and I'm impressed with the way he is portrayed as respectful of all people and all religions. The quotations by the Dalai Lama are definitely inspiring and refreshing. Unfortunately, the "extra" commentary by Mr. Cutler is very annoying. Perhaps there are some who would be interested in all of the doubts and distractions Mr. Cutler describes (he is a psychiatrist, and regularly provides "case studies" throughout the book), but I was more interested in what the Dalai Lama had to say about the questions Cutler raises. For my part, I would recommend this book as "(diet) self-improvement," but it's not for someone who really wants to learn about Buddhist philosophy....more info
  • Short and to the point
    I will keep this short and sweet. There is some wisdom to be found here. It's always good to hear a different point of view, particularly one that has been analyzed as deeply as the art of happiness. My problem with it is this; What does the Dhali Lama know? He lives in a palace, he has servants, millions of adoring followers hanging on his every word, and he wants for nothing. It seems he has little or no experience with the type of lives that most people lead. If you're looking for wisdom that is applicable to your life, wouldn't it be more logical to get it from somebody who has actually faced some of the obstacles that you are faced with? Someone who has gone through some of the things that you are going through?
    I can't help but think that, if I were in the Lama's shoes I would probably be pretty happy too. Maybe I'm just naturally too skeptical or maybe I'm oversimplifying this. If we put his holiness behind the wheel of a truck and told him that he will be there until his kids graduate from college and his mortgage is paid off ( in about 20 years or so), will his happiness hold up? I don't know but I might be more inclined to listen to him under those circumstances. Find out for yourself, it's definitely worth the read....more info
  • A critique of the Art of Happiness
    Happiness is not a goal that can be achieved through seeking. No search has ever realized happiness because the very activity of seeking confirms unhappiness.
    Therefore, whatever your state in the moment, it must be transcended in present happiness. If you find yourself seeking then you are not presently happy are you?
    This whole notion about the pursuit of happiness is completely false. You must give up the search and then you realize that you are already happy.
    So the Dalai Lama is recommending the traditional error of seeking and whatever else he recommends as useful practical advice is tainted by this initial premise. Funnily enough, when asked if he is happy, he says yes, so if he is happy, what need is there to seek?
    A better teaching would be to point out that everyone is already seeking; for money, power, sex, good food, whatever, and finding that the search is never satisfied. The point is not to channel that activity and search for spiritual satisfaction. The point is to understand that seeking is suffering.
    I say, "You cannot become happy. You can only be happy!" ...more info
  • Compassion and love
    Is there any other person out there who feels that HH the Dalai Lama has written too many books? Buddhism may be the most difficult of all religions, but in its essence, Buddhism is the simplest. None of these books is necessary to achieve what is already in everyone. So in my humble opinion, I think it would be better to pick anyone one of his books as they are all generally the same: compassion. lose your ego. etc.

    [...]...more info
  • Simple yet profound
    A very easy book to read and a great antidote to the excesses of our western life style of consumption and greed.

    It provides an easily digestible look at practical ways to live simply and happily.

    It can seem patronising and too simple in places, it discusses things that are pretty obvious to most but that is because there is much truth in what the Dalai Lama says and his philosophy is pretty simple.

    Live Happily!...more info
  • a happier way to life regardless of who is writing the book
    what i really find that this book really help me to be more positive, happier and easier to deal with anger, frustration, and resentfulness.. it is actually written by this doctor cutler with interview of dalai lama.
    i dont really care who the writer is but it helps me..
    but i feel that it is speaking to me and really help when times i remember those hurtful from the past. we know what to do but sometimes we just forget about it, this book is a good reminder....more info
  • The Art of Happiness: Dalai Lama
    A good read, but slow at times. Interesting Eastern culture perspective, but could go into more depth of the Dalai Lama's philosphy instead of the author's interviews (viewpoints)....more info
  • The Art of Happiness Changed My Life
    Like so many other people who have come across this book, The Art of Happiness changed my life. Reading this book taught me how to change my perspective in order to change my world. I re-read this book everytime I feel as if I am forgetting the valuable lessons contained in this powerful book. You don't need to be Buddhist or unhappy to appreciate The Art of Happiness. This is not like the typical self-help books that preach "at" you or tell you how you should behave or live. This book is inspiring....more info
  • good
    its good...more info
  • Read and believe.
    Inspirational book, I could not put it down, had to keep reading. The coauthor Howard Cutler has a wonderful style that keeps you connected to the Dalai's words from a western perspective. Mr. Cutler obviously had a profound experience writing this book with the Dalai Lama. I hope the book will mean as much to you as it does to me. I highly recommend it....more info
  • The Dalai Lama's Best Book To Date!
    This latest book by the Dalai Lama along with co-author Howard Cuter, comes off as his most practical and simplest book - yet, it is so full of real deep wisdom. It is hard to not get something that is life changing from his thoughts and comments about the source of happiness - understanding about suffering and compassion. What makes this book work so well with non-buddhists is the input and comments from western co-author Cuter.

    This book is IMPORTANT! I would hope that everyone would give it a read regardless of their religious belief sytems. It is well written, easy to read and more importantly, it is easy to understand! Unlike a lot of books on eastern philosophy it bridges the East and West with great examples and comments.

    I highly recomend this book for ALL readers - actually - ALL Human Beings! ...more info
  • The right answer to unhappiness
    This book is all about the wrong feelings we get when our minds are still focus on the wrong objectives or the bad intention.

    This man describe the right way to get away from all those thoughts which keep us into bad mood and drive us through bad decisions.

    His solution is far away from religion or any other bad medication. He just explain what is going bad in our mind and how to feel better. And all this has nothing to do with any god.

    He is a kind of spiritual guy I trust and his philosophy is the best religion that has never existed.

    You will be converted as soon as you start reading this book....more info
    I normally don't write reviews but this book inspired me that much. I thought this was an exceptional book and challenges your way of thinking. There were many useful concepts that I applied and literally, in a week, I did feel happier and more at peace--for awhile, I felt very stressed at work (I am a manager)--but this book helped me to think in other ways. It is not an over night change, mind you, for this to work, you almost have to be religious to training your mind to think differently.
    I loved this book and it's number one on my list now! Anything that helps us to be better, happier, more compassionate people is a good thing!!...more info
  • Review for Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler
    Review of:
    The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

    This book is considered a handbook for living that contains possible solutions to many problems in life such as how to deal with anger, sorrow, and remorse and many other negative feelings. Howard C. Cutler in this book poses a number of questions people generally have and paraphrases the responses of the Dalai Lama and also gives his own opinion on the solution. The Dalai Lama believes that the goal and purpose of life is to be happy and he offers many simple solutions to overcome negative feelings and achieve a state of happiness through practicing Buddhist philosophies. On a more general scale, Howard C. Cutler talks about the science behind those techniques and what he as a psychiatrist do to help his patients achieve a happier life. Basically, he paraphrases what the Dalai Lama says into a more understandable format.
    This is claimed to be a "handbook for living", but there are no simple lists of procedures of how to achieve happiness. If you are expecting simple instructions to become more happy, then this is NOT the book for you. This book contains simple Buddhist principles given by the Dalai Lama in which Howard Cutler paraphrases and applies psychology to the principle to break it down. However, there are a few meditation exercises in which the Dalai Lama walks you through. Supposedly, with practice, you can achieve happiness by being able to see things from another perspective. Aside from that, most of the book is Howard Cutler talking about his opinion and his own experiences after every interview with the Dalai Lama. Coincidently, most of what he experiences closely coincides with what he talked about in his interviews.
    There is not much Dalai Lama sections in this book aside from a few quotes here and there. However, those quotes contain so much depth that they balance off the small number of them. Although Howard Cutler talks for most of the book, the profound philosophy of the Dalai Lama somewhat brings the content of the book to an equilibrium. A little bit of deep Buddhist principles and a whole lot of common psychology theories. You as the reader must then do the reading and digest the exchange of ideas between Cutler and Dalai Lama in order to really understand the principles and theories.
    The most fascinating part about this book is the few times when the Dalai Lama tells a story about his past experiences. There are a few chapters in which it starts by having the Dalai Lama tell a story and Howard Cutler finishing it off with his own experiences and views. At some points, don't be surprised that you are skimming for quotations from the Dalai Lama and sections dedicated to the Dalai Lama for his words. The way Howard Cutler talks about the Dalai Lama's principles is like when you listen to a song when you recorded it from a radio. The quality suffers drastic loss and even if it is the exact same material, it just sounds bad. Simply put, Cutler paraphrases the Dalai Lama, but does not add to the ideas and actually cause a loss of depth to what the Lama said. I mean, he included the parts where the Dalai Lama's assistant hint that time is up for the interview. Maybe to imply that he had limited time and that is the reason why the book may not contain a lot of dialogues by the Dalai Lama.
    In all the repetition of information by Cutler, the Dalai Lama is actually able to reach the audience through his limited dialogue. I guess this is a natural ability of the Dalai Lama to be able to talk to people on all different levels of trying to achieve happiness. Cutler's dilution of the dense Buddhist beliefs may not be such a bad thing after all. You will notice that when you read, but ultimately, the amount of digested and regurgitated information he gives actually equals to what the Dalai Lama is trying to tell the audience. I would recommend this book despite the limited amount of the Dalai Lama. However, the amount of whoever talking in the book does not matter, it is the knowledge you get from your read. I myself, who had no idea WHAT HAPPINESS was prior to reading this book, learned a great deal about HOW TO achieve happiness. If you don't mind reading about a guy's personal opinion on the Dalai Lama's Buddhist principles, then this is a good starters for your quest to achieve happiness.
    ...more info
  • A Manual for Happiness and Inner Peace
    This book reviews a philosophy for developing personal happiness and satisfaction in one's life. Drawn on Buddihst concepts none of the ideas presented conflict in any way with Christian thinking, rather the basic concepts are reflections of those in the Bible. The approaches discussed are placed in the perspective of "modern" scientific studies in physchology and demonstrate that the basic concepts and ideas about what makes humans happy is truly universal, regardless of religious or cultural orientation. This is an excellent book which if followed will make each of us not only happier within our own lives but also make us better people, better humman beings and better friends and neighbors....more info
  • Not Just For Buddhists
    One of my favorite books of all time (that's saying a lot), I loved this practical, insightful and inspiring look into ourselves. The Dalai Lama discusses happiness and how to truly find it. The book goes far beyond that. Don't expect the usual psychological jargon here, just the simplest of things that we so often overlook...and some things we've always known but never been truly aware of. If you're interested in an idea of what Buddhism is about (practical rather than religious in this book), if you want a more "natural" approach to finding your own happiness or if you just want a very fascinating read - this book is for you. I rather enjoyed the dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the writer....more info
  • Skim the parts by Cutler
    The interview format is a good way of presenting the Dalai Lama's philosophy, but the analysis by Cutler is not particularly insightful, nor is it well written. A little commentary about what he felt about or thought of the Dalai Lama's words on a particular subject would be appropriate, but Cutler goes on and on, with examples from his practice and descriptions of studies and articles from Western psychology. If I wanted to read a Western self-help book, I would. I was finding the whole thing tedious until I gave myself permission to skip Cutler's analysis. I also found Cutler's frequent descriptions of the Dalai Lama's demeanor (he chuckled warmly, he smiled serenely, etc.) smarmy and annoying.

    Do read the words of the Dalai Lama. As mentioned in other reviews, they are simple but profound. Many times they caused a figurative light bulb to go off over my head, a genuine "wow, I never thought of it that way before." Cutler's contributions are the polar opposite, nothing I haven't heard or read before....more info
  • My Number 1 Recommended Book
    This book has the power to transform the reader. I often tell people it holds the 'secret to life.'

    This book is based on a dialog between Cutler, a Western psychologist, and His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The connections made between western psychology and eastern beliefs are outstanding.

    This is the perfect book for someone interested in The Dalai Lama, Buddhism, psychology, or just finding a better way to live.

    You'll feel like you are sitting there in the room with The Dalai Lama yourself...and not wanting to leave. ...more info
  • misleading
    I am about half way through this book and am a bit dissappointed. I wanted to see what others thought of the book and BlueJack's review, unfortunately hits the nail on the head. This is Cutler's book. This book is not by the Dalai Lama. While I do think the concepts of a right to happiness, compassion, non-reaction, etc., are great for personal spiritual growth, I feel that the Dalai Lama's true message has been filtered through a much less able interpreter. I find Eckhart Tolle much more transformative. If you are interested in how Buddhism can help a non-Buddhist read "The Naked Buddha." ...more info
  • Well worth the Listen.
    Insightful look at western culture through eyes of the Dalai Lama. It provides insight into recognizing and handling internal stressors, but a different perspective on compassion as a way to happiness....more info
  • Reminders of what we should know but often forget
    This was a Christmas present from my daughter and son in law. It's not something that I would have bought for myself, but I am glad they got it for me and I am glad that I have read it.
    This is not a book that one reading will suffice, there is a lot here and it's interesting. While there is a lot of ground covered, there isn't a lot of "new" stuff here, however most of it is presented in a fresh way, and as I am oft to quote, "we don't always need to be told, but we often need to be reminded...".
    One of the most important messages I got was that it's important to ask ourselves if what we are contemplating will make us happy, and to keep the difference between happiness and pleasure in mind, they get mixed up a lot and aren't at all the same thing.
    I gave this book only 3 stars, but I had to think about it a lot. If the psychologist writer had gotten out of the way more and not been as long winded on occasion, I probably wouldn't have hesitated to give it four instead. ...more info
  • My Favorite Book
    This is my favorite book, hands down. The great feeling it gives you just reading the Dalai Lama's caring words are an experience to be had by all. He has the wisdom of thousands of years of religious practice plus his own life experiences...why not learn what he has to say?...more info
  • Happiness - Combining East -West Perspectives
    Happiness is a core state we all seek to achieve. Thanks, in part, to the Positive Psychology movement, happiness has taken center stage and is now the focus of a significant amount of attention. On a recent visit to a large, chain bookstore, I noticed one whole table devoted to books related to happiness. It appears that a happiness movement is underway.

    It is said that happiness can be achieved through external and internal means. Happiness achieved through external means is, unfortunately, short-lived. Life long happiness is derived from internal sources - positive states such as kindness, compassion and tolerance.

    The value of this book lies in its presentation of a framework the reader can use to attain these positive states - a framework based on the integration of scientific psychological research and Buddhist philosophical principles. In addition to the framework, each of the chapters contains exercises the reader can use to reinforce the learnings presented in the chapter.

    Due to our survival instinct, negative states of mind often predominate our thinking. Negative states impede or dilute our happiness. To increase your level of happiness, the authors argue that these negative states need to be combated through the greater cultivation of positive mental states. The content of this book will help guide you towards developing these positive mental states.

    Seeking greater happiness? This book represents a good starting point from which to start your journey.

    ...more info
  • to understand the power of calm and abiding mind
    must-read book for taming, shaping and calming your mind, so as to make it more powerful and help you gain 'insight' about the impermanent, suffering, self-less nature of our existence - our mind and body. ...more info
  • The art of happiness : a handbook for living
    This is a must for all people, clear and concise, this will take days to read and a lifetime(s) to aspire to, a valuable friend....more info
  • Listening to the Book
    I listened to the audio book, and it was both calming and uplifting, and very inspirational....more info
  • A CIA funded lama tells you how to be happy....
    A CIA funded lama tells you how to be happy....Isn't it funny?
    Dalai Lama has been suppressing other buddhist sectors in India....But here he tells you how to forgive and be happy.......more info
  • Life Changing Book
    The combination of the enlightening words of The Dalai Lama and the writer's knowledge of psychiatry really made this book exciting, inspirational, and also very practical. I really like the way the writer helps westerners to understand and how he relates the two cultures. The book is not about religion, prayer, meditation, or history. It's about looking at life through a new perspective where we are all the same. He is truly amazing, and the writer really made it hit home by relating to his work in the states....more info
  • Book
    What a book. I have always heard of the Dalai Lama but never knew what it meant. It is actually a fascinating book to read. Thanks to the salesmanship and quick delivery I have been able to enjoy it longer. AAAA++++++++++++++++...more info
  • Book
    This was on my daughter's wish list. I sent this to her for a little surprise. She loved it....and suggests that I should read it. How about you???...more info
  • The Art of Happiness
    The Dalai Lama takes the reader through various exercises to promote happiness in one's life. Some of the exercises help with overcoming anger, others help in learning to develop compassion for others. The part that I found most helpful was learning how NOT to react to others negative comments, especially because this causes unnecessary suffering. Overall, the book was helpful for someone who is going through a difficult time such as a loss of a child. I have applied some of the comforting principles after going through the devastating loss of hurricane Katrina and Rita since I live in the New Orleans area....more info
  • Misleading authorship
    As noted in other reviews, the cover is misleading in suggesting this is written by the Dalai Lama. The book is written by the rather average writer and psychiatrist Howard Cutler who lists his name as second author although he is really the sole author. Cutler uses quotations from some interviews he had with the Dalai Lama to justify the deceptive authorship credit. The quotations are very thinly spread through the book and you will find nothing new here. I presume this is legal, but I felt cheated and really struggled to extend loving compassion to Cutler and the publishers of this book. Read some of the texts really written by the Dalai Lama or the excellent and beautifully written book "Happiness" by Matthieu Ricard instead....more info


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