• The Happiness Equation

  • Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything
  • By: Neil Pasricha
  • Narrated by: Neil Pasricha
  • Length: 5 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (873 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The number one international best seller from the author of The Book of Awesome that “reveals how all of us can live happier lives” (Gretchen Rubin). What is the formula for a happy life? Neil Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, a New York Times - best-selling author, a Walmart executive, a father, a husband. After selling more than a million copies of the Book of Awesome series, wherein he observed the everyday things he thought were awesome, he now shifts his focus to the practicalities of living an awesome life.

In his new book The Happiness Equation, Pasricha illustrates how to want nothing and do anything in order to have everything. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, you simply have yet to unlock the nine secrets to happiness. Each secret takes a piece out of the core of common sense, turns it on its head to present it in a completely new light, and then provides practical and specific guidelines for how to apply this new outlook to lead a fulfilling life.

Once you've unlocked Pasricha’s nine secrets, you will understand counter intuitive concepts such as: Success does not lead to happiness, never take advice, and retirement is a broken theory. You will learn and then master three brand-new fundamental life tests: The Saturday morning test, the bench test, and the five people test. You will know the difference between external goals and internal goals and how to make more money than a Harvard MBA (hint: It has nothing to do with your annual salary). You will discover that true wealth has nothing to do with money, multitasking is a myth, and the elimination of options leads to more choice.

The Happiness Equation is a book that will change how you think about pretty much everything - your time, your career, your relationships, your family, and, ultimately, of course, your happiness.

©2016 Neil Pasricha (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Neil joined the Audi Executive Team on Customer Immersion events across the United States and his lessons were the highlight of the show, engaging dealer associates and invigorating the audience. His talk was on-point, thought-provoking, and received near-perfect ratings. What more could we ask for?" (Peter Donnellan, director of after sales, Audi of America)
"Neil's models for living life provide a clear window for seeing the world and making tough decisions. He made the University of Ottawa buzz with energy and positivity!" (Nicolette Addesa, VP of university affairs, University of Ottawa)

Featured Article: The Best Audiobooks for Students to Position Themselves for Success

Hey, students—we know how hard you work hard during the school year and we know it isn't easy to squeeze in some self care or personal development time between homework, extracurriculars, and a busy class schedule. If you're struggling to balance it all, feeling burned out, or just trying to figure out your purpose in life, these listens might be able to help. Full of guidance on issues students face, from getting organized to managing a relaxation routine, this list is for any student looking to improve their life—in and out of the classroom.

What listeners say about The Happiness Equation

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Voice = super annoying

Good message but voice ruined it. Getting a new reader would greatly improve the audiobook.

8 people found this helpful

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Solid content but questionable narration.

While the content was solid I believe the audio presentation would have been stronger and more pleasurable to listen to had a professional narrator read the book.

6 people found this helpful

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A mix of good and bad

What did you like best about The Happiness Equation? What did you like least?

The Happiness Equation gives some solid and practical ways of producing happiness in one's self. Pasricha's ideas about starting out happy rather than letting your environment determine your happiness has some truth to it; even if it is nothing new. However, some of the examples he used were god awful. He struggles to admit to others that he attended Harvard so he experiences being inauthentic and that makes him feel bad, gee wiz what's a guy to do. It's not relatable to the vast majority of his audience. He goes on about how he was on the bestseller list with his "awesome" book for way too long and how that 'didn't really make him happy.' Instead he suggests you should "want nothing" and that is part of his equation to finding happiness.
It is a flawed equation. Pasricha's ideas are meant to produce a sort of happiness which really is not sustainable in most people. It is a cookie cutter approach to life, making all your variables line up to produce the same happiness ad nauseam. He talks about never retiring and just doing this approach to enjoying your work and what not FOREVER. Not going to happen for 90% of the population who work themselves to death in dead end jobs anyway.
I'm not surprised to find out the author works at Walmart and enjoys their "culture" and is the type of person to own 7 pairs of the same outfit for simplifying his life. These people are the most neurotic and fearful bunch who hate anyone expressing actual emotions other than obsequious joy.

Would you recommend The Happiness Equation to your friends? Why or why not?

No, there are better books out there.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Neil Pasricha?

Liam Neeson. Pastiche's voice is INSUFFERABLE.

Do you think The Happiness Equation needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No thanks.

20 people found this helpful

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The Best Book I Have Read on This Subject!

I was desperately looking for a book to guide me back to the self I thought was lost forever! At midlife : I lost my dog, family member, career, savings, home and any real hope for a future. Neil nailed it, no matter where you are in your life's journey, I believe this book will change your negative spiral and set you on a path to your amazing authentic self! Get the book now! Do not waste anymore of your precious time in despair, confusion, what if thinking! Thank you Neil, excellent job!

13 people found this helpful

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Be Happy First

Great little book. It definitely had its ups and downs during the actual story and I wasn't HUGE on the narration by Neil (it's not bad, it's just fine.). However, there are plenty of ideas in this book that I absolutely loved. What follows is a summary of my favorite parts.

"Happiness is 10%what happens to us and 90% how we react to it." Some proven ways to be happy right now:
1. Exercise
2. Journal
3. Be kind
4. Unplug to recharge after work
5. Hit flow: Do an absorbing, time melts away activity
6. Meditate
7. Gratitude Journal

Always do it for you. If you focus on critical success or financial success, your own self-success, that is when you do it because it's just important to you, will inevitably take a backseat. Do it for you.

Find your ikigai. Okinawans have no word for "retirement", they only have ikigai, which roughly means "the reason you get up in the morning". Have an ikigai, which can range from "feeding my family" to "helping people reach their fitness goals". Neil goes on to mention that you should never retire, mostly because of the social aspect of work. He said "If I sat in front of my computer all by myself, all day, I would go insane."

This is one of my favorites, since I have always been kind of obsessed with how I use my own time. The Three Time Buckets:
168 hours in a week
-56 hours: Sleep
-56 hours: Work + Commute + Lunch at work (if you are thinking about work, you are pretty much at work)
-56 hours: Passion. Going out to dinner, friends, watching movies, lifting weights, coaching your kids' baseball team, writing in coffee shops, dates and making love. Just make sure that whatever goes into this bucket is something you are passionate about.

According to research done by Neil, school teachers, assistant managers at retail stores and Harvard MBAs all make the same $ per hour. It's just that the Harvard MBA works 2x+ the amount of time. Always know how much you're being paid by the hour!

Creating Space: Newton came up with the concept of gravity while sitting under a tree. Nils Bohr came up with the concept for the structure of the atom while dreaming. Creating space allows our minds to reach creative heights.
Fewer choices = Fewer decisions. Decisions cost brain power. Stuff like emails, chores, checking calendar, etc. should have a pre-determined time each week, like a Sunday chore blitz or similar. Your gym routine, shopping list, etc. should be automated so you're not guessing what to do when you're there. The only things that you should be dedicating brain power towards deciding are things like: Buying a house, getting married, having kids, etc.

Create deadlines to create urgency and focus! "Delay is the deadliest form of denial". Remember that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Move deadlines up.

Remember when doctors used to be the only ones who had pagers for emergencies? Now everyone's got a cellphone. Sunday used to be for family, church and you couldn't get anything done. Now, pretty much all stores are open on Sundays. So, "close the doors, lock the windows, but answer the bell." Attend only true emergencies.

BE YOURSELF! Happiness: When your thoughts, actions and speech are aligned.

He also mentions the regrets of the dying, which included not having the courage to be who they were meant to be, working too hard and not keeping in touch with friends.

This is my favorite part: "97% of lung cancer patients are smokers. 97% of smokers don't have lung cancer." Don't know if those stats are true, probably not, but the point is that ALL ADVICE CONFLICTS! So, make up your own mind, because there is no such thing as "rock-solid advice".

But in summary: Be happy first, do it for you, never retire, overvalue you, create space, just do it and don't take advice.

A pretty good little book. I really liked it and would definitely recommend.

Update 2020: Happiness is a luxury. But still, that doesn't mean we should be suffering away needlessly, so some of the advice in the book still holds, although I don't know if I would recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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Muy práctico, muy completo, me gustó mucho

Me gustó mucho. Lo escuché dos veces porque tenia muchos detalles, mucho contenido que encuentro muy útil. Me hace mucho sentido lo que dice, algunas cosas son de sentido común y otras hasta contra intuitivas. Lo recomiendo completamente. Uno de los libros de felicidad y productividad (ahorro de tiempo) que más me han gustado. Aprendí harto y me entretuve harto.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent book for sure

I really enjoyed this audio book for sure. The author does a great job narrating and I would recommend this book for any professional in today’s western society, or for anyone actually. There are some great analogies and a couple slow sections but overall greatness here. The author does point out the importance of exercise, but I feel that he could do a better job of exploring multiple options. I don’t recall much detail on spending time in nature, which I think is tremendously important for the people that have the luxury of doing so on a regular basis. Though not for everyone, nature can be very healing and could be explored further to expand upon the happiness equation.

1 person found this helpful

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good book

I loved a lot of what he had to say. I've read several books along these lines and this one presented some new and interesting ideas.

It felt a bit ego-centric though. Always looking inward to try and figure out what you need to be happy can be shallow. In giving more of yourself you will find more of yourself. He did talk about this in recommending that your job be a contributing thing to society, but much of the rest seemed to be self-interested.

Overall I would recommend it. I took many notes and will refer back to the concepts here.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

The science behind happiness.

This book provides statistical and scientific info to support a lot of common spiritual theories. It also provides simple how to's to put what the book talks about into action.

1 person found this helpful

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Worth it. I'm about to listen to it again.

I've recommended it to friends. It is both enjoyable and informative at the same time.

1 person found this helpful