The Importance of Happiness

Following the introduction of his book 59 Seconds, Richard Wiseman starts chapter 1 with an exploration of why it is important to be happy.  He explains a study by Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California that reviewed hundreds of studies regarding happiness to find what was common between them all.  One thing her team found is that happiness does not just result from success, but in many ways it actually causes success.  Wiseman summed up Lyubomirsky’s research by writing, “happiness makes people more sociable and altruistic, it increases how much they like themselves and others, it improves their ability to resolve conflict, and it strengthens their immune systems.”


Wiseman’s book dives into the science of the ideas and strategies in self help books.  Many of the books are meant to increase happiness, even if their main goal is to help someone in a specific area.  Becoming a better leader, achieving financial peace, and becoming more self aware all have an end goal of helping someone reach a more happy state of mind.  Wiseman starts his book with this quote to show just how important happiness can be, and why we all strive for it.  His quote shows that those who are happy are able to have more personal and engaged relationships, perform better in their career, and live healthier.  The question he sets out to explore is what methods for improving happiness have a scientific backing behind them.


I enjoy the quote from Wiseman that sums up Lyubomirsky’s findings because I think it is something we all understand.  I think that we can all vision a happy version of ourselves, and that version does have meaningful relationships with a long and healthy life at the center.  The quote also shows me that it is not a bad thing to try and understand this happiness to a greater extent through reading.  Often times reading self help books carries a certain stigma, but with the importance of happiness, there is no reason not to try and understand happiness and its ties with success.

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