Book excerpt: 'Build the Life You Want' by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey

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A collaboration between the Harvard professor and the TV host explores the nature of happiness and how to live a happier, more fulfilling life.

America is in a happiness slump. Just over the past decade, the percentage of Americans saying they are"not too happy" rose from 10 percent to 24 percent. The percentage of Americans suffering from depression is increasing dramatically, especially among young adults. Meanwhile, the percentage saying they are"very happy" has fallen from 36 percent to 19 percent. These patterns are seen all over the globe, too, and the trend existed even before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

This book is about showing you how to break out of this pattern... You, too, can become the boss of your own life, not an observer. You can learn to choose how you react to negative circumstances and select emotions that make you happier even when you get a bad hand. You can focus your energy not on trivial distractions, but on the basic pillars of happiness that bring enduring satisfaction and meaning.

This also isn't another book about minimizing or eliminating pain—yours or anyone else's. Life can be hard—much harder for some people than for others, through no fault of their own. If you're in pain, this book won't tell you to wait it out or extinguish it. Rather, it will show you how to decide to deal with it, learn from it, and grow through it.


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