Bookcase: The happiness advantage: The seven principles that fuel success and performance at work

• By Shawn Achor
• Random House New Zealand
• RRP $36.99

This book is better than chocolate. It tells me not to drop fun times with friends and whanau when the going gets tough at work. It tells me to work on tiny bite-sized goals when all around me seems impossibly chaotic. And it reassures me that I can retrain my tired old brain to spot patterns of possibility and sidestep negativity. I felt happy reading it.
Writer Shawn Achor is the kind of guy you’d like to invite round for tea. As he tells it, he bootstrapped his way up from humble start in Waco, Texas, to Harvard University. He spent 12 years living in college dorms, first as student and then as live-in officer helping others navigate their way through their new-found academic lives. Noticing how some students flourished while others floundered, he started thinking about the link between success and happiness and this book is the end result.
It turns on its head conventional thinking that says we first need to become successful – at work, in sport, in love, wherever – before we’re allowed to be happy. For in Shawn Achor’s world, happiness fuels success and not the other way round. With rigorous referencing to numerous psych tests, interlaced with personal anecdotes and an easy style of writing, Achor summarises his thinking into seven principles. Sounds corny. But it’s not. Read it and enjoy.

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