10% Happier by Dan Harris – a book recommendation

CC1E6EBC-B1E4-4FD6-8A41-D2F903DBECC0Are you a non-believer, doubter, a cynic, a fact checker and/or wonder what all that humbug is about when it comes to Mindfulness? If only one of this is true this book is for you!

But it is as well for you if you are already interested in Mindfulness and are simply looking for a honest, critical read on that topic!

10% Happier
How I tamed the Voice in My Head,
Reduced Stress without losing my edge,
and found self-help that actually works. 

Come and follow Dan Harris on his true story. How an on-air panic attack as a news anchor eventually lead him dig deeper into Mindfulness. He wrote this book “because, when I was getting started as a mediator, I couldn`t find many introductory books that were geared towards skeptics- or people raised in the age of irony.” (*)

He is refreshingly open about himself and his life story. And yes he was a cynic, non believer, when it came to anything around meditation and mindfulness.

“If you told me when I first arrived in New York City […] that I`d be using meditation to defang the voice in my head – or I`d ever write a whole book about it – I would have laughed at you. Until recently, I thought of meditation as the exclusive province of bearded swamis, unwashed hippies, and fans of John Tesh music. […] I assumed, given the constant looping , buzzing, and fizzing of my thoughts, that “clearing my mind” wasn`t an option.” But after a lot of interviews, research and own experiences he figured out that “…what you`ll find is that meditation is simply exercise for your brain.”

Throughout his book (and over several years in his real life) his outlook on meditation and mindfulness will change. Yet, at no stage does he try to persuade you or wants to draw you over to `the other side`. He does not want to make you a believer, a mindfulness follower by just reading his book. He simply tells his story to Mindfulness with humour, cynic and directness. He shares his doubts, misconceptions and the pitfalls he encountered. All written in a way I believe a lot of us can relate to.

I truly enjoyed this book. It is an easy yet honest and at at time thought-provoking read. It made me laugh, doubtful and curious at times. Dan Harris captured me right from the start and it felt as if he sat opposite and told his story. He touches topics and looks critical at some “gurus” out there. And I am sure many of you can relate to his thoughts and doubts. He is so very cynical about it all that I found it a truly refreshing approach to a subject that at times is communicated in a very dry, unapproachable manner.

“Now I started to see in-between moments…as a chance to focus on my breath, or just take in my surroundings. As soon as I began playing this game, I really noticed how much sleepwalking I did.”
“[…] mindfulness now does a pretty good job of tying up the voice  [in my head] and putting duct tape over its mouth.”

At no point does he promise you any enlightening or dramatically turn in your life or 100% happiness. And he never says it is easy. But he finds ways to incorporate a more Mindful approach into his day-to-day-life, and I think we can all relate to that. Ultimately his experience leads him to say that he does it because Mindfulness Meditation does make him “10% happier”.

I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did!

Happy reading and have a lovely day,

AK

(*) Since many people have asked on how to get started Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein have set up an online app. I checked it out and I think it is great; no-frills, honest, straight to the point. Check here for the “normal people” approach and resources to meditation and mindfulness called “10percenthappier.com

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