Solve for Happy
By Mo Gawdat
Reviewer: Bertrand Leong
The Happiness Equation
A tattoo message was probably my best takeaway from this book on happiness. The author had lost his 21-year old son Ali and had every reason (and right) to be resentful about the sequence of events that led to his son’s demise. But he chose not to. The tattoo on Ali’s back read: “The gravity of the battle means nothing to those at peace.”
A labour of love dedicated to the memory of his son, Mr Gawdat’s Solve for Happy offers much food for thought. I found myself agreeing to most parts but differing on other points. Even though I had slightly different takes on some areas, the author’s findings on happiness presented me with a reference point to see how my own perceptions and philosophies for happiness matched up against his.
The equation for happiness (six-seven-five) was organised into three parts: six grand illusions, seven blind spots, and five ultimate truths. He advises that to steer clear of unhappiness traps, we must dispel the six illusions that cloud our thinking (e.g., the illusion of time, control, and fear); overcome the brain’s seven deadly defects (e.g., the tendency to exaggerate, label, and filter), and embrace five ultimate truths (e.g., change is real, now is real, unconditional love is real).
Devouring the pages with consummate ease, I found the book immensely light, pleasurable, and readable. Peppered with clipart and meaningful illustrations, Solve for Happy proves that happiness isn’t quite as complex, lofty, and elusive as some of us might think but simple and easily achievable with a mental shift in the way we perceive things, the world, and ourselves.
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