The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

by Shawn Achor

Our Main Take-Away:

Leadership of self and others can be greatly enhanced by being aware of the factors that impact both our individual performance and that of those we lead. The author utilizes several engaging and humorous examples to illustrate the point that productivity of individuals and teams can be greatly improved by how well we understand the underlying reasons for motivation and happiness.

Reasons to Read:

We have all heard the old adage that “attitude is everything”. In the Happiness Advantage, Achor explains how the perception of our work place environment and how that relates to personal satisfaction can be greatly enhanced.

The book provides very practical information, vignettes, and case studies that help equip leaders in the workplace to understand how they might better support those they lead. In example after example we see where assumptions and commonly held business practices actually disincentivize workers.

Achor provides concrete steps that effective leaders can use with their teams to craft a more cohesive work environment. He also suggests steps that individuals and teams can practice daily to increase productivity and job satisfaction.

He began working with corporations and organizations during the great recession and is credited by several businesses with helping them through this very difficult time. Achor has demonstrated great success in sharing his methods with fellow leaders. The book is very readable and is infused with humor and entertaining stories of his research and its positive impacts for individuals and businesses.

Fired Up Culture understands that creating a great workplace for employees both increases retention and boosts productivity. Providing leaders with the tools to positively impact your own growth and the performance of your team is what we do.

Amazon Summary:

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken.
Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.

When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.

Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential. Among the principles he outlines:

• The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see—and seize—opportunities wherever we look.
• The Zorro Circle: how to channel our efforts on small, manageable goals, to gain the leverage to gradually conquer bigger and bigger ones.
• Social Investment: how to reap the dividends of investing in one of the greatest predictors of success and happiness—our social support network

A must-read for everyone trying to excel in a world of increasing workloads, stress, and negativity, The Happiness Advantage isn’t only about how to become happier at work. It’s about how to reap the benefits of a happier and more positive mind-set to achieve the extraordinary in our work and in our lives.

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