I admit it. I love tech books. Especially insightful books by tech people. And this includes Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh. Here’s my story about discovering happiness:
As an undergrad — way back in 1997 — Elizabethtown College required all students to take a Junior/Senior Colloquium outside of their major. I chose one about science and religion that was team taught by the astronomy/physics professor, a psychology professor, and a religion professor. It was one of the best classes I ever took because
- No textbook needed. All articles!
- I found the professors fascinating.
- Debates between the Catholics and the atheists.
A bit of background on the college: It sits just east of Lancaster, PA and was founded by the church of the Brethren (one of the more liberal sects of Anabaptists). The area is fairly conservative, although the college was much more diverse than the local population. In class, the staunch Catholics sat up front. The atheists sat in the back. The Lutherans and Baptists were in the middle. I don’t think there were any Jewish people in the class.
And there I sat, the lone agnostic.
The whole concept of the class was to solidify and formulate your personal world-view. Each week we would discuss a topic, such as creationism vs. evolution, the psychology of evil vs. a “God” who creates evil, etc. Heated discussions for those 90 minutes were the norm. Many times, those of us with middle ground views couldn’t get a word in between the Catholics and atheists. Which, to me, I found the whole black and white debates rather amusing. Our final for the class was a 5 – 10 minute presentation of your world view to the class. We were only allowed 2 or 3 note cards, so you really had to believe in and understand your world view.
[Bear with me here… we’re getting to the relevance to the book right now.]
I remember my presentation fairly well. After hearing classmates whose Worldviews were all God or all science, I got up there and said that every human is seeking happiness. From the earliest man who found happiness in staying alive, finding food, or the rush of the hunt to modern day where some people find happiness in God, others find it in science, while some people need a family or money to make them happy. It differs for each person, but we — as a human race — strive to find happiness.
This shocked the class. No one had any questions for me after my presentation (a first if memory serves me well). All three professors had a slight smile on their face like they knew exactly what I was talking about yet amazed to hear it all at the same time. I knew that I had hit on one of life’s pure truths in that moment. For once, the great debate had been momentarily quelled. It was a WOW learning moment. I still have the index note cards stashed away someplace.
When I heard about the Delivering Happiness book and movement, I figured I needed to read it. It’s an easy read and good story, perfect to get those sluggish summer thoughts running again. Personally, the Epilogue about the science of happiness spoke to me the most mostly because I didn’t realize how much research was conducted on happiness. So, go read it. Check it out from your local library, buy it online or at a bookstore, or borrow a copy from a friend. There’s a reason why it’s spent 4 weeks at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List.
[Note: I did receive a complimentary copy of the book via an online promotion. I was not required in any way to provide a review (either positive or negative), and received no other compensation for writing this post.]