Over the years, I've been really interested in what makes people happy in life. I'm always fascinated by people who think that wealth, products, properties, the latest handbag or car, new partner, etc. will make them happy. I'm sure the media has tried to tell them that, but it's never been true.
I've had friends all colleagues all across the wealth spectrum, and I can say without any doubt in my mind, that some of the richest people I know are also some of the most unhappy. Worse, I've seen money destroy families so many times.
Now I'm not trying to say that poverty makes you happy either. It can lead to serious consequences. Debt can be worse. I've always advised family and friends against debt wherever possible.
If you are in debt, you have no control over your life.
Apart from money, what else?
I know though that money isn't the only issue around happiness. I've often spent a lot of time thinking about this issue, and why people keep chasing things that won't make them happy anyway, be it new material possessions, a new partner, or whatever. They spend their lives thinking that if they just get that next thing, life will be better. Here's a hint: it probably won't be.
I have always admired my friends that live simple happy lives.
I was intrigued to see a new book called The Happy Mind: A Simple Guide to Living a Happier Life Starting Today by Kevin Horsley and Louis Fourie. It's published by Tck Publishing.
Kevin Horsley (@KevinHorsley on Twitter) is an interesting guy. He writes quite a bit on brain techniques and memory. I'm not as interested in his topics on how to remember long lists of things (like the list of US presidents), although I'm sure some people would love that. But I was fascinated to see a book dedicated to thoughts on just how to be happy.
Louis seems to write on a wide variety of topics, from this to paleo to economics in South Africa.
The book is easy to read. It has a discussion on happiness right up front and defines what that looks like. Then for comparison, it dives into what unhappiness really looks like in practice. There are many, many good lessons in those sections.
I don't share his religious views (although they were only lightly mentioned) but I particularly liked the discussion on how pleasure isn't happiness, yet it's often mistaken for it.
And then the book breaks into a significant number of short discussions on a whole range of happiness-related topics.
I enjoyed reading this book, and many times, it made me stop, pause, and think. That's all I can ask for in a book like this. I enjoyed it and I think it contains many great life lessons.
Greg's rating: 8 out of 10