The Happiness Hypothesis

The Happiness Hypothesis Book Review

Why do some people find purpose and fulfillment while others do not? Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Happiness Hypothesis, provides a detailed answer to this question. Here is a complete book review of the happiness hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.

The Happiness Hypothesis aligns philosophical, religious, and theoretical texts with recent scientific insights. Haidt draws from psychology’s “attachment theory” and recent developments in the neuroscience of emotion.

He reveals how the field of positive psychology is tapping into something universal and timeless. Furthermore, he radiates modern truths in ancient and classic thinking—from Buddhism to Benjamin Franklin, the New Testament to NietzschePlato to Freud.  

So, What is the Happiness Hypothesis?

At first glance, The Happiness Hypothesis might sound like a self-help book. However, Haidt distinguishes his theory from the standard self-help perspective.

He argues that psychology emphasizes conscious thought and the analytical mind.

Self-help books imply that if we are self-aware, we may use our intellect to overrule our emotional instincts, thus allowing ourselves to be happy. 

Haidt argues that we can best promote happiness and well-being through our brains’ emotional and subconscious parts, thus cultivating habits of daily meditation.

Even using antidepressant drugs such as Prozac is more potent than insights emotionally rather than intellectually driven from an episode of Dr. Phil. (This is why New Year’s resolutions don’t often last.)

The Happiness Hypothesis is about the “origins of positive psychology in ancient wisdom.”

Furthermore, the Happiness Hypothesis is a guide to applying what scientists know about the mind to find ever greater happiness.

Throughout the book, Haidt interprets the culture wars in the United States. He provides a few keys to understanding relationships and shows how Western virtue and morality may cost us happiness and well-being. 

The Happiness Hypothesis is a book that is both scientifically sound and well-written. This literary masterpiece reads like a novel and is, at the same time, a genuine moral achievement.

Who is Jonathan Haidt?

The author, Jonathan Haidt, is a Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Moreover, in 1992, he received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

He also did his post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and Orissa, India. Jonathan Haidt taught at the University of Virginia for 16 years before moving to NYU-Stern in 2011.

Additionally, Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the “top global thinkers.” He was also named one of the “top world thinkers” by Prospect magazine.

Moreover, Haidt’s research focuses on morality, its emotional foundations, cultural variations, and developmental course.

He began his career studying negative moral emotions like disgust, shame, and vengeance. Then, he went on to the understudied positive moral emotions, such as admiration, awe, and moral elevation.

Furthermore, Haidt is the co-developer of the Moral Foundations Theory and the research site He is also the co-founder of, which advocates for viewpoint diversity in higher education. 

Moreover, Johnathan Haidt uses his research to help people understand and respect the moral motives of their enemies.

He also authored a few bestsellers: The Happiness Hypothesis and The Righteous. For more information, see

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

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Final Thoughts

Based on my extensive review of The Happiness Hypothesis, I conclude that it is an excellent read. You can buy it by clicking this link.

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom is one of Johnathan Haidt’s bestsellers.

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as of June 15, 2024 2:38 am