Read: May 2023

Inspiration: Came across on Amazon’s bestseller list; recommended by a friend


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“The Happiness Equation”, published in 2016 by author, entrepreneur, and podcast host Neil Pasricha, is a self-help book that explores the factors contributing to happiness and provides practical strategies for achieving a more fulfilling life. Pasricha argues that the equation for happiness consists of understanding that happiness is greater than or equal to the difference between the events of your life and your expectations of how life should be. He challenges readers to reassess their beliefs about what will make them happy and encourages them to focus on the present moment rather than constantly chasing future goals. The book introduces concepts such as practicing gratitude, embracing failure, and nurturing relationships as essential components of a happy life. Pasricha’s engaging writing style, personal anecdotes, and research-based insights make “The Happiness Equation” an accessible and thought-provoking guide to finding joy and contentment. Ultimately, the book offers readers a fresh perspective on happiness and encourages them to prioritize the things that truly matter in their quest for a fulfilling life.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

“You can’t have everything. Where are you going to fit it?”, standard thinking is to do x, get y, then be happy, ought to begin with being happy and that will inspire great work/success, flip the paradigm, recognize negative self talk is biologically hardwired as 99% of history required paranoid mindset to survive, 90% of happiness is a function of internal mindset and attitude—how you process things, tangible happiness habits—brisk 30 min walk 3 times/week, unplug from phone, write 5 things grateful for weekly, random acts of kindness, write about 1 positive experience for 10-20 mins, brief meditation (2 mins), “3 S’s of Success”: Sales, Social, Self—can only generally attain 2 max and need to be aware of objective, self success is most invisible form—not about views/money, concept of retirement at 65 created in German late 1890s when avg lifespan was 67, Japanese have ikigai (reason for waking up, no concept of retirement/stop all work at certain age), German idea was to cleae workforce for young people, but work provides meaning/direction, retirement is new and western concept, no real reason to aspire to do nothing for decades, work provides social stimulation (single biggest predictor of happiness is relationships), work also provides structure, intellectual stimulation, work provides a story bigger than self, retirement strips all these benefits, lose challenges in life that keep a person going, consider work in terms of pay per hour of work to really gauge how you are valued, high thinking and high doing = burning which feels good but can lead to burnout, need to balance with low thinking/doing experiences), aristotle, newton, bohr—best ideas all came in bath, under apple tree, in dream—not when pressing for ideas, need to create space to let mind swirl, fewer choices = faster decisions = more time saved (reason why zuckerberg wears identical gray shirt, obama same suits, not get bogged down thinking about trivial things), once decision fatigue sets in then lose willpower and make poor choices, Parkinson’s Law: work expands to fill time available for its completion (will do more if alloted longer deadline but often “more” is worse/fluff), insecure managers create complexity, simplicity follows self-confidence and assurance, more times leads to less effort/lazy, short time leads to focus/prioritization, multitasking is a term from computer processors—human cannot dual track, it is an illusion of parallelism but really doing 1 thing and switching, multitasking coined by IBM in 1965 in describing their microprocessors apparent abilities, carve out more time by limiting access points to yourself (e.g. remove certain social media, limit emails, texts, etc), it is easier done than said—just do it, act to inspire new way of thinking, don’t try to change thoughts first as much more difficult to think self into new action, just act and will build chain of motivation, happiness is when what you say, think, and do are in harmony (Ghandi quote), best to appreciated for authentic self than liked but pretending, Saturday Morning Test: what do you do on a Saturday morning with nothing to do—ask this and think, guides you towards passions, Walmart office has 10 feet rule: say hi to anyone within 10 feet of you to get to know, five closest people to you influence your world experience greatly, important to choose friends/partners who add to your happiness and not an energy drag (eg you are happy 80% of the time, they are happy 50% then they are a mathematical energy drag, should be aware of this dynamic as it impacts you), “don’t take advice”—advice conflicts depending on advisor, all cliches have their opposites (opposites attract yet birds of a feather flock together, nothing ventured nothing gained yet better safe than sorry), listen but decide for self (advice reflects view of person giving advice and not your own), be authentic to yourself

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Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




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