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Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

I recommend The Happiness Handbook to everyone. It is a comprehensive guide for finding happiness today – right now – for anyone who is still looking for it (in all the wrong places). The book offers advice, strategies, techniques and ideas on love, life and being happy, and gives the reader a chance to participate in the journey. There are cut out quotes, charts, fill in behavioral and quality essay sections, questionnaires, opportunities to share opinions and a guide to self-acceptance throughout the book.

I especially liked the section on figuring out what will allow me to find personal happiness (or what “makes” me happy). Once you determine what makes you happy (in my case, it always begins with coconut chocolate chip cookies), you need to next determine what motivates you, what frightens you, who shares your life and brings you happiness, how much sexuality plays int your happiness, what you would change about yourself to be a better person (the dark side), and a glimpse into your highest and best life (living an extraordinary life at last).

Many of the sections with enlighten the readers, but the best parts of the book deal with doing unto others as you would do unto yourself. I liked the idea of taking myself on a date. I am told to take myself out, hit the town, pamper myself and enjoy the perfect day (or night) alone as a treat just for living (do you really need a reason to be good to yourself?). I decided to try dating myself and set aside a day near my birthday (as it was coming up, but any day will do for this exercise). I took myself first to my computer and ordered new CDs from an online website I trust, then I used a gift card for a massage that I never got around to using (luckily these never expire). Later that day, I went to the mall and bought myself some dresses on sale, then came home to make a fab dinner and ate the coco-choco cookies before eating the meal – all in all, I had a day that I remember as one of my happiest to date (literally). I am such a fan of the personal date that I am making time to date myself at least twice a month, it is a delicious habit that I certainly suggest everyone try at least once. I have taken this one step further and now “date” myself every day on my treadmill, date myself in my car for scenic drives and date myself at specialty stores (when I need the groceries anyway).

Buy the book, change your life, be better to yourself and your friends and family will notice something awesome. You will seem happier in the process and yes, it will rub off on them as well. This book is recommended for readers of any age; parents should read it first then share with teenagers since it will open up a discussion of how to maintain happiness for life and develop healthy outlets for finding happiness as teens mature. Now if you will excuse me, I have a very important date to keep, and I can’t wait….

Rating: ★★★★★ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Bush Street Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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