The Happiness Advantage (Book Review)

Is Happiness Really a Choice? 

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success in Work and LIfe by Shawn Achor is one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read.

I first listened to the audio book, but immediately purchased the paperback book. I needed to be able to circle, highlight, and bookmark pages for reference. The information is so good and so applicable to my life that I want to reference it over and over again.

Book and supplies to mark up book

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The power of positive thinking is certainly explained, but in The Happiness Advantage Shawn takes it much further. He explains exactly:

  • How you can train your brain to become more positive (using small mindset shifts)
  • And then how to gain a competitive edge at work
  • And be happier and more optimistic in your personal life

(Click to view on Amazon)

The book details seven practical principles for how to become happier so you can live a more meaningful life and be more productive. You’ll be completely prepared to begin to develop your own happiness by using the practical and actionable tools he teaches, as well as additional resources to help you in your journey. 

Skeptical? Think this all sounds corny? The research has been conducted, collected, analyzed and it proves that positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative.

Are you really ready to dismiss something in which small changes have the potential to make such a huge, positive impact in your life?

About the Author, Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor is a leading expert on happiness, success, and potential.  He spent 12 years living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University. He has since released his  years of work with the world, including the following as stated on Amazon:

“His research has also been published in top psychology journals and featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalForbes, and Fortune. His interview with Oprah Winfrey and his PBS program have been seen by millions. He now serves on the World Happiness Council and continues his research.”

I was first introduced to and motivated by Shawn Achor via one of his very popular TED Talks. I included the video of his TED Talk below.

The Happiness Advantage book

The Psychology Behind Happiness Being a Choice

Happiness or success – which comes first? Most people believe that when they become successful that then they’ll be happy.

You know… when you win the lottery, get that promotion, lose the weight, or meet Mr. Right…. then you’ll be happy!

But does happiness come from success in life?

NO! Shawn Achor suggests that happiness is not the result of success. Rather, happiness is a precursor to success – happiness fuels success. It’s the complete opposite than most people think.

In his words:

happiness leads to success in nearly every domain, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity, and energy”.

Shawn demonstrates that happiness is NOT dependent on what happens to you in life.  Rather, your mindset is key in affecting your future. You can be happy even when life isn’t roses and soft, fuzzy puppies.

The Happiness Advantage will explain the research behind this theory and make it very clear on what you need to do to attract happiness first, so you can then be successful in whatever you do.

You’ll also see how  scientific research findings show that “…people can become happier, that pessimists can become optimists, and that stressed and negative brains can be trained to see more possibility.”

Do the Happiness Principles Apply to Work Life?

Too busy with your career to worry about happiness and  personal development? Then you need The Happiness Advantage more than ever!

Lady happy at work

Achor’s research shows that happy people who have a positive mindset are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful.

This book gives examples for how you can apply the tools in your personal life AND how you can use them to become a more effective leader.

Shawn Achor gathered and analyzed massive amounts of research to come up with actionable and proven patterns that predict success and achievement.

Pushing off your own happiness into the future while you sink your teeth into your career or focus on making money is going about it the wrong way. The Happiness Advantage explains that happier people not only enjoy life more, they’re also more productive.

Even if you’re not in a leadership position, you can still use Achor’s tips to spread positivity with team members and fellow employees.

Happiness in the workplace has many benefits. One of these benefits that the research Shawn conducted and presents in the book shows that  

“happy workers have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay.” 

Why Happiness is a Choice

The Happiness Advantage shows you how to retrain your brain to look for reasons to be happy. If you do so, you will build the habit of happiness, and therefore you will be choosing happiness.

Happiness is largely a reaction to the world around us. We can use our mind to make us happier despite our circumstances. This book will make it clear on how you can choose happiness.

11 Ways to Choose Happiness

Throughout the entire book, Shawn Achor details ways you can trigger happiness in your life. I want everyone to begin their journey to feeling happier TODAY while you wait 2 days for Amazon Prime to deliver The Happiness  Advantage  to your doorstep. You’ll have to read the book so see which tips are included, and why they are important.

  1. Focus on the positive aspect of any given situation or person.
  2. Smile and do a random active of kindness every day.
  3. Watch your tone! How you say something is as important as what you say.
  4. Be appreciative and thank someone every day.
  5. Spend quality time with friends and family.
  6. Be grateful.
  7. Give frequent recognition and encouragement to others
  8. Stop being negative
  9. Engage in activities and fun hobbies that you enjoy
  10. Bring positive energy into your home
  11. Socialize with like-minded, happy people

Can You Control Your Own Happiness?

Yes! You can control your own happiness! Don’t expect to jump from depressed to happy. With the teachings in The Happiness Advantage you will certainly be ready to make small adjustments to replace bad habits with good ones, and ultimately increase your own happiness. 

If you’re still on the fence about reading The Happiness Advantage, watch this 12-minute video of Shawn’s TED talk. The tone of the video is just like the book with fun, entertaining stories. The book goes into far more depth, so don’t be satisfied with the video – there’s so much more that will change your life.



If you are at all interested in becoming a happier person and are willing make a few changes in your life – even if they sound a little corny – give this book a chance!

Get practical skills that you can apply to change the way you feel and act. Learn how to apply those skills so you can consistently keep them active in your life.

Books By Happiness Guru, Shawn Achor
(Click on image to purchase on Amazon)

Action Required

Bottom line is that this book presents the evidence and scientific facts behind the power of positive thinking and provides actionable principles to help guide you to a more positive outlook. Being optimistic and happy IS a learnable skill!

Simply reading the book to gain the knowledge is not enough. You must put Shawn Achor’s principles into action in order to reap the benefits. However, small shifts will equal enormous returns.

I hope you enjoyed my personal review of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success in Work and LIfe by Shawn Achor. I was not asked nor paid to write this book review. I am simply a mindset enthusiast and believe that this book provides a wealth of information about how to improve your professional and personal life. I highly recommend you invest in yourself and purchase it right now. 

I’ll end on this note that supports my blog name, If It Brings You Joy…

“Happiness is the joy you feel moving towards your potential.”
                                               ~ Shawn Achor

Thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Please leave me a comment.

The Happiness Advantage


Woman reading book

6 Replies to “The Happiness Advantage (Book Review)”

  1. Shawn was the featured speaker at a seminar I attended a few years ago and he was great! So it makes me happy to see that you agree!

    1. Lucky you! Had to be an incredible experience. Would love to hear more about his talk. Thanks for the feedback!

    1. It’s one of the few books I will keep. It’s good to refer back as a reminder to use the tools.

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