Book Review: 10% Happier

The Book

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in my Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing my Edge and Found Self-help that Actually Works — A True Story. By Dan Harris. First published in 2014.


A super-successful TV journalist suffers a on-air panic attack and realizes he needs to make some radical changes in his life. He searches for happiness and finds one thing that actually works: Mindfulness Meditation.

What You Need To Know

This book is 95% biography, 5% how to. The “how to” teaches the basics of mindfulness meditation, but it’s Harris’s account of his personal journey that will make you want to try it.

I’ve written before about how I let my own journalism career get in the way of my own happiness, so I could relate to Harris’ journey of trying to break through the skepticism of journalism to discover true happiness.

Key Takeaway

As the title says, meditation will make you 10% happier. Harris came up with this tagline to convey that meditation can make a real and dramatic impact, while avoiding the over-promising of so many self-help books.

Here’s Harris’ reaction after trying meditation for the first time:

When I opened my eyes, I had an entirely different attitude about meditation. I didn’t like it, per se, but now I respected it. … It was a rigorous brain exercise: rep after rep of trying to tame the runaway train of the mind. … This was a badass endeavor. I resolved to do it everyday.

Personal Impact

This is the book that led me to try mindfulness meditation for the first time. If you haven’t tried it, you can learn how to do it in this post: An Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation.

Here’s a five-minute YouTube video where Harris teaches the basics of mindfulness meditation.

Worth Reading?

Yes! Harris is a terrific storyteller. His insider’s account of being a journalist at ABC news is fascinating on its own. But following a skeptic’s journey of self-discovery is what makes this book great for anyone looking for science-based self-discovery.

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