I just finished The Art Of Happiness, by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D. Throughout last semester I mentioned this book many times, and highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of their beliefs. The Dalai Lama does an excellent job of keeping any religious dogma out of the book. He addresses Buddhists, other faiths, and non-believers alike. He simply puts forth a clear argument for a philosophy of loving kindness. His co-author, Dr. Cutler is a psychiatrist who discusses the Dalai Lama’s points.
The book is a series of talks by the Dalai Lama, interspersed with questions from Dr. Cutler in his interviews with HHDL. Dr. Cutler then discusses some of his HHDL points from a psychological perspective. He uses studies to support points the Dalai Lama makes. The chapters discuss how one can make even small changes that ultimately will help humanity, and in HHDL’s opinion, make individuals happier.
I consistently used references from this book last semester when teaching “Personal Adjustment”, a class about facilitating personal growth. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and agreed with much of its philosophy. Although I do embrace some Buddhist belief, I am not a Buddhist. I do believe this book is relevant to anyone who wants to be a better person. I also believe anyone who wants to be happier and will put their faith in a set of beliefs that runs counter to popular American culture will benefit.