If You Believe Meditation is Stupid, Against Your Religion or Only for Hippies……….(Book Review of 10% Happier by Dan Harris)

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

Many thanks to the author and Litfuse Publicity for providing me a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Dan Harris, a well known coanchor for Nightline and Good Morning America spent an entire yoga class in his tighty whities as a kid, because the jeans he wore to class were too tight.  This event may have shaped his initial animosity towards meditation gurus and religious zealots, but his ongoing experiences with interviewing wayward evangelicals and assorted religious leaders resulted in one heck of an entertaining book.  10% Happier is more memoir than how-to with excerpts from Dan’s life that are truly hilarious if a bit disconcerting. If you aren’t sure you want to meditate or just want to read a book packed with unexpected and blunt commentary on the nature of network news this is an excellent, fun, and often inadvertently informative read.  Instructional bullet points on meditation, fill 11 pages of the appendix and are well written and and simple to understand.  Unfailingly interesting and thoroughly researched, this is gem of a find and I recommend it both for the storyline and the encouragement and guidance of meditation.

About the Book:   10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.

About the Author:

Dan Harris is the coanchor of Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. He regularly reports for 20/20, World News with Diane Sawyer, and the weekday editions of Good Morning America. Before joining ABC News fourteen years ago, he worked for local news outlets in Boston and Maine. He lives with his wife, Bianca, in New York City. This is his first book.

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