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Daruko
January 25th, 2009, 06:49 PM
How To Be Happy and Have Fun Changing the World!

Sounds beautiful, doesn't it? Well a professor actually assigned this as required reading, and asked for a few sentences summarizing each chapter and appendix, as well as a paragraph around 5 sentences long, explaining my "opinion" on the book.

Nice professor. HORRIBLE stupid book. You can read it here:

HowToBeHappy.org (http://www.howtobehappy.org/)

Anyway, I just found it humorous that I have to turn this report in, because I couldn't help but vomit repeatedly for the duration of reading the book and writing the report.

So I thought I'd share my report, in case anyone is curious about the book.

========================================================

HAPPY BOOK ASSIGNMENT

Chapter 1:
In the opening chapter of the book, the author summarizes his life’s accomplishments, and explains his intentions behind writing and publishing the book for free. He asserts that there are eight words which will help increase one’s self-awareness and happiness, help one to make better choices, and change the world for the better in the process. I am skeptical, at this point, but I believe the author makes a correct assertion that by the time I finish reading the book, I will have a pretty good idea whether he is a “dreamer” or a “man with a plan” that will work for me if I help out by doing my part.

Chapter 2:
In chapter two, the author explains that the neurobiological chemistry of the brain, as well as other neurophysiological response mechanisms (further generalized as “cranial fluid chemistry”), are deeply affected by various factors, stated generally as:
Thoughts, Diet, Exercise, Rest, Environment and Physiology
Thoughts are said to affect a person’s electrochemical nervous system and generate electromagnetic fields that create “attractor fields”, ultimately affecting one’s life and happiness. It is suggested that the “tape” of memory is programmed to repeat its past and “does not want to change,” but that a strong enough Will to think positive, in the “proper direction”, can overcome this intrinsically built-in mechanism.

Chapter 3:
This chapter was about the eight words: I AM ALWAYS TRUTHFUL, POSITIVE, AND HELPING OTHERS, also called the Daily Affirmation. The author asserts that the more people that follow this affirmation, the closer we shall move to a utopian society. A challenge is issued to the reader to “be one of the leaders that help change our world for the better by living the Daily Affirmation 100% of the time,” and to live according to the “Creator’s” purpose, rather than continuing to live one’s life according to what is on one’s tape.

Chapter 4:
It is explained that if one is true to oneself and makes it a daily habit to repeatedly reflect on the Daily Affirmation throughout the day, that one will necessarily become aware of what is on the “tape” and “stop making choices that, sooner or later, lead to unhappiness.” The author explains further that he lives a very happy and fulfilled life and has often experienced “pure bliss” utilizing the Daily Affirmation. If I am not “willing to be true to [my]self and use the Daily Affirmation as [my] compass,” the book states that I may as well save my time and pass on reading the rest of this book, because it will have little effect on my life and happiness.

Chapter 5:
This chapter is about eliminating dependence on external factors to bring about self-fulfillment and lasting happiness, primarily through the means of producing positive emotions by helping others, which in turn causes the brain to reproduce chemicals that help induce the reemergence of those emotions. The author correlates a suggested line of reasoning from the universal “Creator” point of view with the brain chemical model, suggesting that this concept obviously represents an inherent natural system of checks and balances in the universe. He explains that an evolved spirit will probably make a lot of sense out of this scenario, because we are all designed to function according to the “laws of God”.

Chapter 6:
In this chapter, the author goes to great lengths to draw correlating evidence between the metaphysical idea of “attractor fields” and the so-called “law of cause and effect” (principles concerning our notions of causality and acausality are both examined in physics, and I know of no law of causality which resembles such as that which the author speaks). Furthermore, it is explained that the more often we think positively, the more likely we are to attract positive experiences. It is stated that “most people agree” that there are three divisions of what we are; mind, body, and spirit, all of which become key points in one of the worst pseudoscientific versions of the mind-body problem and/or quantum physics I've ever read.

Chapter 7:
In Chapter 7, the author invites me to put his principles to the test, and attempts to persuade me to do so by claiming it has worked for “thousands of golfers” and “helped elite athletes win Olympic medals.” It is explained that one’s level of desire to achieve success and happiness is directly proportional to one’s potential to achieve it through the use of desire, honesty and an open mind. The chapter concludes by explaining that rather than being controlled by negative emotions such as fear, hate, greed and jealousy, one can achieve happiness by always focusing on positive emotions like love, generosity, praise and bravery.

Chapter 8:
The negative emotions we attach to events make us unhappy, and in order to escape this vicious cycle, one is instructed to transform these emotions by looking at them in a positive light. Instead of focusing on how hard it feels to get up in the morning, one should focus on the personal satisfaction of getting up early to exercise. According to the author, only through dedicating all of one’s strength and will towards living the Daily Affirmation, can one truly transform negative emotions effectively.

Chapter 9:
This chapter further stresses the importance of dedicating oneself to the Daily Affirmation 100% of the time. Many examples are suggested as to how one can accomplish this in one’s daily life, amidst a wide variety of people. Some words of inspiration are offered at the end of the chapter, as well as another plea for personal donations of cash.

Appendix I:
It is restated that the most important thing to understand in the book is the Daily Affirmation (“I am always truthful, positive and helping others”). One is advised to live the Daily Affirmation 100% of the time or to the best of one’s ability until it can be maintained at full capacity. A list is expounded upon, depicting various works by numerous other authors, most of which also write pseudoscientific gibberish (with the exception of Lao-tzu).

Appendix II:
The author invites the reader to direct any questions or pleas for advice on how to apply the book to their life to his personal email address. There is also a Question and Answer link on his website, where submitted questions are confidentially exhibited, most likely already containing the answers one is seeking. The book closes as the author, proud and confident, proclaims that his job is done, and prods his readers to carry out his work.



OPINION:
This pretentious book reminds me of the meaning of the old Zen koan: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, Kill Him!” While I expect there is some degree of truth represented in the author’s given models, such as emotional redundancy and its relation to the chemicals of the brain, the author’s claims and representations are also loud and ostentatious, overly clich and over-generalized. It reminds me of Deepak Chopra and his take on Quantum Physics, or several other would-be gurus and pseudo-scientists, whom I’ve earned little respect for outside of their obvious talent for giving people hope to transcend personally engrained belief-systems. The author elevates this particular collection of advice and oversimplified scientific generalizations to astounding heights, as a primary reference guide for achieving happiness and balance, both mentally and physically. If the author had provided a more scientifically or philosophically rigorous exposition on his subject, or if I had felt that the book was written in beautiful or poetic language, which made use of brilliant metaphoric imagery, I may have been seduced into inspiration, but it was not so with me.
“Nor am I the captain of my soul; I am only its noisiest passenger.” -Aldous Huxley

tagnostic
January 25th, 2009, 07:48 PM
give me his name
i'll be happy to take
the professor & the author
off count, free of

rmw
January 25th, 2009, 07:49 PM
I was turned off from it when he claimed he's help Olympic gold and silver medalists. (And is there an unspoken claim that had the bronze medalists read his book, they would've placed higher? ;))

Chritter
January 25th, 2009, 07:57 PM
Mmmaannnnn.....

Beautifully written Daruko, but I couldn't even get halfway through the summarization of that! Ung.

Anyone else reminded of that SNL Stuart Smalley skit?
"I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!"

rmw
January 25th, 2009, 07:58 PM
Anyone else reminded of that SNL Stuart Smalley skit? "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!"

Yeah! Except this guy is serious.

Daruko
January 25th, 2009, 08:10 PM
I also couldn't help but hear Jim Cunningham proclaiming, as he's led away in cuffs, "You're all a product of fear!" (Patrick Swayze's character in Donnie Darko)

rmw
January 25th, 2009, 08:19 PM
Positive affirmation? Hell, we have drugs for that now!

Daruko
January 25th, 2009, 08:40 PM
Positive affirmation? Hell, we have drugs for that now!

It's not even that positive thinking doesn't work. As RAW would put it, even if the pessimists are right, the optimists have a lot more fun. But the delivery here is absolute shit, and it completely misuses numerous scientific and philosophical works (not that Lao-tzu doesn't get it from every corner anyway) in an attempt to establish some ridiculous ideological doctrine.

Where he coulda said, "Positive thinking is a good idea, because it puts you in the right mindset to solve problems, and it's been shown through analysis that the brain is more likely to produce chemicals that reproduce frequently experienced emotional states," he instead writes something like, "YUO must engrain my mantra on your brain and commit yourself to THIS eternal truth, and go out and spread this original slogan to the world! CUZ OLYMPIC ATHLETES! I IZ ENGLIGHTENMENTZIZ!" Kinda reminds of me Ayn Rand too.

tagnostic
January 25th, 2009, 08:43 PM
wait a sec, Daruko
Ayn Rand was diametrically opposed
to the touchy feely shit
yes, she advocated
logical positivism
but not this tripe

Daruko
January 25th, 2009, 08:53 PM
wait a sec, Daruko
Ayn Rand was diametrically opposed
to the touchy feely shit
yes, she advocated
logical positivism
but not this tripe
Things they have in common:
She habitually convoluted the works of other philosophers, historians, scientists and thinkers, in an effort to push her own ideological doctrines. She had some good practical ideas, but invariably pushed them beyond their conceptual usefulness into new realms of fail. She gave far too much weight to beliefs, proclaiming to understand "true purpose", and backed up homosexual and psychological prejudice with so-called "philosophy".

Whoops... the prejudice part doesn't apply, but I can't help but mention it, since we're on that whorish example of a philosopher.

tagnostic
January 25th, 2009, 09:09 PM
hehehehe
excellent synopsis
all though i do agree with alot of her beliefs

what ya got on Neitsche?

Tsar Phalanxia
January 25th, 2009, 10:11 PM
http://exiledonline.com/jackrabbit-bill-oreillys-autobiography-a-hot-steaming-pile-of-inanityf/2/

Daruko
January 25th, 2009, 10:26 PM
hehehehe
excellent synopsis
all though i do agree with alot of her beliefs

what ya got on Neitsche?

Off the top of my head? Nice chap. ;)

rzm61
January 26th, 2009, 01:27 PM
I don't do book reports.
-MC Frontalot