Thanks to a bookcrossing ring started by urbanspaceman I had the opportunity to read Making Happy People: The Nature of Happiness and Its Origins in Childhood by Paul Martin.
The book starts at the logical place trying to define happiness; not an easy thing. The author suggests happiness consists of three components; pleasure, the absence of displeasure and satisfaction and provides a convincing argument that satisfaction is the significant one; pleasure and displeasure reflect how you feel, whereas satisfaction reflects how you think about your life. The book also discusses why happiness matters, the characteristics of happy people and developing happiness in children.
The author lists seventeen common characteristics of happy people, and thankfully most of them are not genetic suggesting that happiness levels can be improved. I certainly identified some areas to work on; the relationships I have with people, engaging in meaningful activity, developing a sense of purpose, embracing change and new things, avoiding materialism and working on tasks that I can lose myself in.
I found the book easy to read and understand. I also picked up several tips on how to improve my own happiness (and my children’s if I ever have any) and would recommend it to people if they wanted to find a real fix to their happiness, rather than a media encouraged quick fix.