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An image showing a book cover of "Hardwiring Happiness" by Dr. Rick Hanson, Ph.D., with a light blue background featuring a white silhouette of a human head with a brain diagram. The text "1-Minute Book Review" and a "10 almonds" graphic are on the right side.

Hardwiring Happiness – by Dr. Rick Hanson

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Publishers are very excitable about “the new science of…”, and it’s almost never actually a new science of. But what about in this case?

No, it isn’t. It’s the very well established science of! And that’s a good thing, because it means this book is able to draw on quite a lot of research and established understanding of how neuroplasticity works, to leverage that and provide useful guidance.

A particular strength of this book is that while it polarizes the idea that some people have “happy amygdalae” and some people have “sad amygdalae”, it acknowledges that it’s not just a fated disposition and is rather the result of the lives people have led… And then provides advice on upgrading from sad to happy, based on the assumption that the reader is quite possibly coming from a non-ideal starting point.

The bookdoes an excellent job of straddling neuroscience and psychology, which sounds like not much of a straddle (the two are surely very connected, after all, right?) but this does mean that we’re hearing about the chemical structure of DNA inside the nuclei of the neurons of the insula, not long after reading an extended gardening metaphor about growth, choices, and vulnerabilities.

Bottom line: if you’d like a guide to changing your brain for the better (happier) that’s not just “ask yourself: what if it goes well?” and similar CBTisms, then this is a fine book for you.

Click here to check out Hardwiring Happiness, and indeed hardwire happiness!

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