How to be Happy, Dammit, written by Karen Salmansohn, is subtitled: A Cynic's Guide to Spiritual Happiness. The book most certainly fits that description, and more. To begin, the actual dimensions of the book are interesting. It measures 7 inches tall and 6 inches horizontally. (That's about 18 and 15 centimeters for those metric folks out there.) Upon opening the book, one at first realizes how little writing there actually is. The bulk of the book is filled with artistic pictures and patterns that augment the advice given to the reader. Salmansohn takes the less is more approach: every word seems hand picked and placed exactly where it belongs.

In terms of which types of philosophies the book teaches, the introduction can probably describe the book as well as anything. "The idea for this book: to create the first and only self-help book that merges Psychology, Biology, Eastern Philosophy, Western Philosophy, Quantum Physics, and the Zen of Bazooka Joe that's guaranteed to perk up even the most cynical spirit."

The book is built around 44 "Life Lessons." One cannot get the same experience from the book by just skimming the list of life lessons, but here they are, for your enjoyment:

  1. Pain Exists. Life can hurt. Like a lot.
  2. That pain back in LIFE LESSON #1 was for your benefit
  3. Life is more mystery than misery
  4. You always have a choice of emotional responses to life
  5. Judge a tree by its fruits. And ditto for people.
  6. Never go shopping for kiwis in a shoe store
  7. You--and those you've befriended/worked with/slept with--each of you--just like plants--comes with your own unique feeding manual. You must read each person's instruction manual carefully--then proceed with caution!
  8. We all come from the same Big Bubbling Pot of World Primordial Nature Stew. Because of this, you are governed--along with your Pot Mates (like plants and flowers and bananas)--under the same Laws of... Primordial Nature
  9. The only constant is change...You never know.
  10. Fear works like Interfear--stopping you get what you really want/need.
  11. If you keep doing what you've always been doing, then you'll keep getting what you've always been getting.
  12. In order to see the path to what you want, you must first see clearly what is holding you back.
  13. If you want to change your life, you must first be ready to see and feel some painful truths...
  14. You must declare your own Independence Day, then your own Independence Year, then your own Independence Life. The purpose of your life is to find the purpose of your life.
  15. You must unlearn.
  16. This is the secret to happiness--in 3 words: rationalize, rationalize, rationalize.
  17. You must celebrate Non-Judgement Day, then Non-Judgement Year, then Non-Judgement Life.
  18. You must relax and enjoy the ride.
  19. You must not live in denial that disappointment and failure and pain and conflict and darkness and evil exist--they are out there.
  20. You must have Great Non-Expectations.
  21. You must remember that you are here, no,, NOW!
  22. It doesn't matter how fast you get there, if you're heading in the wrong direction.
  23. When you practice regular meditation, you find you are able to see so much more.
  24. When you become more calm and serene on the inside, the world becomes more calm and serene on the outside
  25. You must understand that there is chaos in this world--as well as order in all chaos. The trick is to try to see the order in your chaos and accept that...nothing in this universe is random.
  26. You must show more respect for the invisible world, because often what you don't see is what you get.
  27. Worry and doubt can actually be prayers and visualizations--and self-fulfilling programming--for things you do not want
  28. Chaos Theory affects you daily.
  29. There's great power in: I Think Therefore I Have.
  30. You recognize that work + time + faith = results.
  31. Your faith determines your destiny. So you must make sure your faith remains stronger than your mood.
  32. "Never compromise your dreams," Bazooka Joe has said.
  33. When you let go of unnecessary attachments, you pick up speed in heading toward your true goals. Let go.
  34. You must live your life using the same philosophy a mountain climber uses to climb a mountain: "Never look down. Keep looking forward and upward."
  35. Letting go and climbing up to higher life levels, means building new emotional muscles. And just like with all muscle growth, you will always feel the pain before you see the growth.
  36. Everything has its process. You must respect this process.
  37. Often doing less, gets you more. Truly: less is more...more or less.
  38. You must create your own good luck. You must be pro-active--and even pre-active.
  39. Money will never bring you true happiness--however, happiness will bring you true money.
  40. You need balance, baby. It's called the weekend--and not the "weakened."
  41. Prozak Shmozak. Love is this Drug.
  42. Just like there's sexual attraction, there's love attraction. When you feel the love energy inside you, other people feel it coming off of you--and find themselves wildly--and oddly--attracted to you.
  43. There's a difference between knowing vs. doing.
  44. Live now, procrastinate later.

So there you have it. These 44 life lessons paint an accurate picture of what How to be Happy, Dammit is all about. I highly recommend it.

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