Sonderbooks Book Review of

Happiness Now!

Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good FAST

by Robert Holden, PhD

Home Stand-outs Blog Knitting About
Happiness Now!

Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good FAST

by Robert Holden, PhD

Reviewed August 7, 2009.
Hay House, Carlsbad, California, revised 2007. 255 pages.
Starred Review.

I truly believe that happiness is a choice, and I like reading books that help me remember to make that choice.

You can tell that this book struck a chord with me by how many times I quoted it in Sonderquotes.

To be honest, many of his illustrations were ones I had heard a zillion times in one sermon or another. But I very much liked his overall concepts.

I was especially struck by his discussions about healing the Work Ethic, the Suffering Ethic, and the Martyr Ethic. The Work Ethic says happiness has to be deserved, worked for, earned, or paid for. The Suffering Ethic says that you have to know suffering in order to be happy. The Martyr Ethic teaches that happiness is selfish.

In contrast with those, Robert Holden says:

One of the greatest single steps you can take to happiness now is to let go of the belief that happiness has to be deserved. You do not deserve happiness, you choose happiness. Happiness is natural. It is freely available to all. It is unconditional. And when you're unconditional about happiness, then happiness merely happens! Happiness happens, if you let it.

Suffering does happen, and it's regrettable that it does. All of us have suffered disappointment, loss, pain, failure, rejection, bereavement, and so on. In no way am I trying to belittle this suffering, but what I'm saying is that no amount of suffering adds to your greatness. Your Self-worth was established in the heavens the moment you were created. Your worth comes, therefore, from who you are, not what you've suffered.

The fear that happiness is selfish is not only untrue, it actually couldn't be further from the truth. Psychology researchers find time and time again that it is the depressed people, and not the happy ones, who are intensely self-focused and self-absorbed. Happy people, by contrast, tend to be outgoing, sociable, generous, loving, and kind. They're also more tolerant, forgiving, and less judgmental than people who are depressed.

I found this book to be full of reasons to give up excuses not to be happy. Inspiring and delightful. I'll conclude the same way the author does:

The "real key" to happiness, then, is that there is no key! This might seem like bad news, but fear not! The good news is that there is no prison, no door, and no lock. Happiness is open all hours, and if you're willing to be open to happiness, then you can enjoy happiness now!