Book Review: The Future of Happiness
If you are a fan of positive psychology in the workplace, you have likely seen Shawn Achor’s TED talk entitled “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” It is, after all, one of the most-watched TED talks ever. In that talk, Shawn mentions his sister Amy (the unicorn — watch the talk — you’ll understand) and this is her book. Amy is a phenomenon in her own right: an expert on the connection between the science of positive psychology and technology, she has written an insightful book that neither demonizes technology nor glorifies it, but recognizes that technology, like our smartphones, is a tool. Like any tool, it can be used for both good and bad.
In order to maintain our well-being in a world where technology can tear you away and take over, Blankson recommends a few coherent strategies: stay grounded (be intentional), know thyself, train your brain, create a habitat for happiness and innovate consciously. One of my favourite points in her book is that “research is useless unless it is lived.” This echoes a debate in the relatively new positive psychology field — is it just about research and description or is it a prescriptive field? Blankson goes into the prescriptive domain with both feet — and her advice and research findings are worth heeding. If you are going to follow some of the ideas in Blankson’s book, though, be prepared to give it time — unless you already have a clutter-free computer filing system with no icons or shortcuts on your desktop. But who does?