WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/256387

Contents of this Issue


Page 89 of 211

pursuit of happiness. Citing the Book of Genesis, "It is not good for a human being to be alone," and recent studies that confirm the biblical claim, Sisenwine believes the first component of happiness comes from a feeling of being connected to a community. But community, in his view, is not enough. Sisenwine considers pursuing meaning and purpose in one's life as the crux of happiness, and cites the Psalm, "Happy are those who do righteousness," as well as contemporary studies to emphasize his point. He also refers to Austrian neurologist, psychologist, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl and his book, Man's Search for Meaning, in which Frankl shows us how even in the horror of the Holocaust, peo- ple could withstand unimaginable pain when they had meaning in their lives. Acknowledging that happiness is not easy even in the best of times, Sisenwine reminds us, "Happiness is a moral obligation, not because it feels good, but because happy people are more inclined to do good, to give, to heal, to reach out and repair our world." He con- siders worry to be an evolutionary response that motivates us to fix the wrongs we see in the world. "Do worry, be happy," he concludes, with a twist on Bobby McFerrin's famous lyrics. While all Americans are free to pursue happiness, perhaps the biggest takeaway from Rabbi Sisenwine, Professor Norem, and Coach Peppercorn is that the best way to find happiness is not to focus on happiness as a goal at all. In fact, back in 1851 Nathaniel Hawthorne cautioned, "Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us on a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it." 88 Are We Happy, Yet? W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 Not surprisingly, Wellesley Books buyer Lorna Ruby believes the word "happy" or "happiness" in a title helps to sell a book. Here is a list of the independent bookstore's bestsellers: n A SHORT GUIDE TO A HAPPY LIFE by Anna Quindlen (Random House, 2000) www.wellesleybooksmith-shop.com/book/9780375504617 A popular graduation gift since first published. n THE HAPPINESS PROJECT: OR, WHY I SPENT A YEAR TRYING TO SING IN THE MORNING, CLEAN MY CLOSETS, FIGHT RIGHT, READ ARISTOTLE, AND GENERALLY HAVE MORE FUN by Gretchen Rubin (HarperCollins, 2009) www.wellesleybooksmith-shop.com/book/9780061583261 A bestseller in hardcover, now available in paperback, and a word-of-mouth favorite. n THE ART OF HAPPINESS, 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION: A HANDBOOK FOR LIVING by Dalai Lama (Riverhead Books, 1998) www.wellesleybooksmith-shop.com/book/9781594488894 The Dalai Lama is widely known and, according to the publisher's catalog, The Art of Happiness is the book that started the genre of happiness books, and it remains the cornerstone of the field of positive psychology." n THE CHILDHOOD ROOTS OF ADULT HAPPINESS: FIVE STEPS TO HELP KIDS CREATE AND SUSTAIN LIFELONG JOY by Edward M. Hallowell, MD (Ballantine, 2002) www.wellesleybooksmith-shop.com/book/9780345442338 Hallowell is a well-known name in child psychology with a center in Sudbury, plus parenting books with happy in the title sell well. n HAPPIER: LEARN THE SECRETS TO DAILY JOY AND LASTING FULFILLMENT by Tal Ben-Shahar (McGraw-Hill, 2007) www.wellesleybooksmith-shop.com/book/9780071492393 The classic from the popular Harvard lecturer. Want to read more about " Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us on a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. " Ë Nathaniel Hawthorne 080-088_WWMa14_science of happiness_v3_WellesleyWeston Magazine 2/1/14 4:22 PM Page 88

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of WellesleyWeston Magazine - SPRING 2014