Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sustainable happiness: live simply, live well, make a difference, by Sarah Van Gelder

Love it or loathe it, 2016 was eventful. There were protests, there were elections. There were even gorillas! And let us never forget Boaty McBoatface. In the wake of this tumultuous year, there springs a need for a simpler, more peaceful time. Thankfully, Yes! Magazine is one step ahead of me, with Sarah Van Gelder’s book Sustainable Happiness: live simply, live well, make a difference.

Yes! Magazine is a publication of optimism and encouragement. Or, in their own words “YES! Magazine reframes the biggest problems of our time in terms of their solutions.” Van Gelder and her coworkers assemble articles, essays, and research on happiness.

This is a simple, easy-to-read book. The entire book is under 200 pages, and each chapter is generally only a handful of pages long. The chapters bounce between scientific and/or historical observations about happiness, and personal stories from the writers themselves about their own struggles towards happiness. Some articles are expected, such as stepping back from technology or lessons about eating with the family. Some are more surprising, such as the essay about kicking porn addition. Each story has a valuable lesson to share, even if it may not pertain directly to the reader.

Is happiness on your agenda in 2017? The publishing industry is practically built on self-help books about obtaining happiness. Careers rise and fall on this trend. In fact, Virginia Beach Public Library has literal scores of books relating to this topic. I'd suggest Start Here: master the lifelong habit of wellbeing, by Eric Langshur, or the aptly named Happiness, by Joan Chittister, to begin your journey to joy. And have a happy 2017!

-By Nicole

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