“The Happiness Advantage reveals the most important discoveries coming out of modern psychology.”—Rom Brafman, bestselling co-author of Sway and Click
In a new book, based on the author’s work with Fortune 500 companies in 42 countries, and on the largest study on happiness and human potential ever conducted at Harvard, Shawn Achor shows why our most commonly held formula for success is backwards.
THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE
The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work
By Shawn Achor
Most people believe that success leads to happiness. We think, if I hit my sales target, then I’ll be happy. Once we survive this economic downturn, then I’ll be happy. But in THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work (Broadway Books; September 14, 2010; $25.00), Shawn Achor shows us, through a decade of cutting-edge research in the field of positive psychology and neuroscience, that this formula is backwards—happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result. This new formula, “the happiness advantage,” results when you raise your happiness, and thereby raise your success rates and can work smarter and faster.
Following a decade at Harvard University, where he helped design the famed “happiness” course, Achor ventured out to test the “happiness advantage” at every level, in every industry, of the business world. Immediately following the economic collapse in 2008, Achor was invited in to help the world’s largest banks restart forward progress. His findings show that waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential for success, whereas cultivating a positive mindset makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative, and productive, which drives our performance upwards. Our brain at positive significantly outperforms our brain at negative, neutral or stressed.
Borne out in management studies, peer-reviewed psychological research, and in Achor’s own work with organizations (spanning banking centers in Zurich to impoverished schools in Zimbabwe) in 42 different countries, this discovery shows that happiness gives us a distinct competitive advantage in the corporate world. And yet, a recent study reported in the Associated Press shows workplace happiness at its lowest since the Conference Board began tracking American worker satisfaction levels in the 1980s, and productivity at its lowest since 2000. The speed, stress and insane workloads of the modern workplace is a direct result of the traditional success=happiness formula.
Achor pinpoints two chief flaws in our formula for success:
1. The formula has been scientifically proven to be backward: Studies have shown that success rates rise when we are happy and positive. Optimistic sales people outsell their negative counterparts by 37%, happy doctors perform diagnoses more accurately, praised coal miners increase their productivity by 30%, children primed to be positive put blocks together faster, and so on. Achor’s research has found that every business outcome improves when a brain is primed to be positive.
2. Every time we manage to be successful, we merely push the goalposts of success further out: With each achievement, come new goals. If you get into college, now you strive for straight A’s. If you get a good job, now you strive for a promotion. If we wait for success to make us happy, with each new goal both happiness and success become further out of reach.
In 1594, Copernicus argued that we had the universe backwards, that the Earth actually revolved around the sun, not the other way around. We are at the doorstep of another Copernican Revolution; we thought happiness would orbit around a center of success, when in fact, success orbits around the center of happiness.
Perhaps even more revolutionary is the discovery that we can change—that happiness is both a choice and a work ethic. Grounded in the largest study of its kind (over 1600 participants), as well as a decade’s worth of subsequent research in the corporate world, Achor shows us how we can gain this competitive edge by actually training our brains to be more positive.
In THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE, Achor distills his research into seven practical, actionable strategies to raise happiness and performance at work, including:
? The Tetris Effect: When we get stuck in a pattern that focuses on stress, negativity, and failure, we set ourselves up to fail. Achor shows how we can use “The Tetris Effect” to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can better see—and seize—opportunities
? The Zorro Circle: When challenges loom and we get overwhelmed, our rational brains can get hijacked by emotion. With “The Zorro Circle”, Achor teaches us how to channel our efforts on small, manageable goals, to gain the leverage to gradually conquer those that are much bigger
? The 20-Second Rule: Sustaining lasting change often feels impossible, because human willpower is limited. And when willpower fails, we fall back on our old habits. With “The 20-Second Rule” Achor shows how, by making small energy adjustments, we can reroute the path of least resistance and replace bad habits with good ones
A must-read for anyone trying to excel—or lead others to perform—in a world of increasing negativity, stress and workloads; 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 mindset to achieve extraordinary results at work, at school, and in life.
For more information, please visit: www.ShawnAchor.com.
SHAWN ACHOR is one of the world’s leading experts on human potential. Trained by some of the foremost pioneers in the field of positive psychology, he helped design the famed “happiness” course, the most popular at Harvard University at the time. In 2009 alone, Shawn was invited to lecture in nearly 50 different countries on how happiness affects performance. He is the founder and CEO of Good Think Inc., a consulting firm that uses research to enhance individual achievement and cultivate a more productive workplace. Achor’s lectures on the science of happiness have received attention in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal, and on CNN and NPR.
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
On-sale: September 14, 2010; Crown Business; Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-307-59154-8; Price: $25.00
For more information or to speak with Shawn Achor,
please contact Dennelle Catlett at 212-782-9486 / firstname.lastname@example.org.