happiness

While researching the toxic and addictive properties of sugar for his New York Times bestseller Fat Chance, Dr. Robert Lustig, a neuroendocrinologist at UCSF, made an alarming discovery - our pursuit of happiness is being subverted by a culture of addiction, depression, and chronic disease from which we may never recover.

In his new book, The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains, Dr. Lustig presents the fundamental differences between pleasure and happiness – at the biological and chemical level—and explains the way big business is taking advantage of advances in neuroscience to confuse and conflate pleasure with happiness, and getting into our heads.

Dr. Robert Lustig is professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at University of California, San Francisco. 

In The All-Or-Nothing MarriageHow The Best Marriages Work, renowned relationship expert and Northwestern University professor, Eli Finkel shows that the best marriages today are better than the best marriages of earlier eras. In fact, they are the best marriages the world has ever known.

Finkel reverse engineers the best marriages to better understand the new modern marriage, and shows how any marriage can be better. What does a modern marriage look like? And how can today’s couples seek personal fulfillment in a marriage while remaining committed to it for the long run?

Finkel first introduced this idea in a popular 2014 New York Times op-ed of the same name. Divorce rates may be down from their 1980s peak, but so is general marital happiness, which is what Finkel’s “All-or-Nothing” theory can change in a big way.  

Dr. Atul Gawande helped transform the conversation about aging and death in his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

He is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a professor at Harvard Medical School, and a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Paula Poundstone is a popular panelist on NPR’s weekly comedy quiz program Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!. She tours regularly, performing standup throughout the country. Poundstone was the first woman ever to share the stage with the President as host at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Her new book is The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness.

She will perform at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA at the Fairview Hospital Gala on September 16, at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on October 13, and at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on October 14.

Hidden anger that comes out indirectly can undermine relationships between friends, family, and colleagues. When people feel compelled to conceal their true beliefs and emotions, there can be serious physical and psychological results for everyone involved.

In Overcoming Passive-Aggression, Revised Edition: How to Stop Hidden Anger from Spoiling Your Relationships, Career, and Happiness, Dr. Tim Murphy and Loriann Oberlin offer a clear definition of passive aggression and show readers not only how to end the behavior but also how to avoid falling victim to other people's hidden anger.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

In The Book of Joy, they look back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the fact of life’s inevitable suffering?

The Book of Joy is featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things list for 2016 and is an instant New York Times bestseller. Doug Abrams is the co-writer of The Book of Joy and he joins us. 

In New Aging: Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever Matthias Hollwich has laid out his work on aging and architecture into a collection of short, digestible passages that will inspire us to think creatively and realistically about how we want to spend the rest of our lives.

His advice ranges from practical design tips for making our homes safer and more comfortable to thought-provoking insights on how we work, relax, travel, socialize, and even how we eat. Most importantly, Matthias wants us to make small, simple changes in our 40s, so we won’t be forced to make large ones in our 70s.

  Award-winning actress Drew Barrymore shares funny, insightful, and profound stories from her past and present told from the place of happiness she's achieved today in her new memoir, Wildflower.

In the book, she looks back on the adventures, challenges, and incredible experiences of her earlier years. It includes tales of living on her own at 14, saying goodbye to her father in a way only he could have understood, and many more adventures and lessons that have led her to the successful, happy, and healthy place she is today.

It is the first book Drew has written about her life since the age of 14.

  Do you believe that "winners never quit and quitters never win"? Do you tend to hang in longer than you should, even when you're unhappy?

Our culture usually defines quitting as admitting defeat, but persistence isn't always the answer: When a goal is no longer useful, we need to be able to quit to get the most out of life. In Quitting, bestselling author Peg Streep and psychotherapist Alan Bernstein reveal simple truths that apply to goal setting and achievement in all areas of life, including work, love, and relationships.

  Do we have a duty to be happy? Is there a connection between individual and collective happiness? Is happiness contagious?

Frédéric Lenoir explores these questions and more in his book, Happiness: A Philosopher's Guide. In understanding how civilization’s best minds - from Aristotle, Plato, and Chuang Tzu to the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad; from Voltaire, Spinoza, and Schopenhauer to Kant, Freud, and even modern neuroscientists - have answered those and other questions we are shown a way to happiness, that most elusive of feelings, and how it is attainable in our lives.

  Stacey Morris is a journalist and food writer, who has been working in this region for many years. Her latest project is a cookbook-memoir, Clean Comfort, which tells the story of the author's rocky relationship with food, how the dieting hamster wheel ballooned her weight to 345 pounds, and how she ultimately made her way back to balance and sanity - while loving food.

Does being happy make you healthier? Is, perhaps, the inverse also true?

Dr. Julia Boehm, assistant professor in psychology at Chapman University, is studying the correlation between mind and body.

   Why is it easier to ruminate over hurt feelings than it is to bask in the warmth of being appreciated? According to our next guest, it is because your brain evolved to learn quickly from bad experiences but slowly from the good ones and he believe this can be changed.

Rick Hanson’s new book Hardwiring Happiness lays out a simple method that uses the hidden power of everyday experiences to build new neural structures full of happiness, love, confidence, and peace.

Dr. Hanson’s four steps build strengths into your brain— balancing its ancient negativity bias—making contentment and a powerful sense of resilience the new normal.

Rick Hanson is a neuropsychologist and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and an Affiliate of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

    The new book, The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn't, What Shouldn't Make You Happy, but Does, isolates the major turning points of adult life, looking to both achievements and failures to reveal that our misconceptions about the impact of such events is perhaps the greatest threat to our long-term well-being.

What does happiness - being happy - mean to you? How do you define it?

Other books tell us how to live the good life—Making Home is about improving life with the real people around us and the resources we already have. While encouraging us to be more resilient in the face of hard times, author Sharon Astyk also points out the beauty, grace, and elegance that result, because getting the most out of everything we use is a way of transforming our lives into something much more fulfilling.