by Edith Cody-Rice
Neil Pasricha is the best selling author of the Book of Awesome Series which has sold over a million copies. His underlying theme in his writing is the appreciation of life. In The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing+Do Anything = Have Everything, he sets out guides to achieve happiness in our busy lives. He is a sort of Marie Kondo of the spirit. Like her, he advises us to appreciate what we have and then sets out techniques to essentially declutter our spiritual lives to get the most out of them.
Mr. Pasricha is a Canadian, but his book reads very much like an American self help book – facile with examples from life. At first the style did irritate me somewhat but he actually has something to say. It has been said before in various publications, but is valuable nonetheless. His book in many ways is about relationships, how to control, and value your relationship with your work, your colleagues and friends and your mate.
While you declutter your life, Mr. Pasricha encourages you to “be yourself” How many times did we hear that from our parents, but it does require much less emotional effort, leads to true friendships and a more satisfying life. In itself, it is a form of decluttering.
There is the usual focus on saving time for productive work. As someone who has exited the paid work force, I find this less appealing. Sometimes when we are so busy saving time, we lose the value of unproductive hours but he deals with this too – talking about creating space for life and the value of leisure time to the creative brain.
A most valuable piece of advice is to “be happy first”. That is, do what makes you happy, don’t think that achievement of external goals set by others will make you happy. It probably won’t. He even sets out techniques for achieving self acceptance and happiness that will help you know what makes you happy.
The author recommends reading this in varied places – airports, beaches – as a change of scenery stimulates the mind. I agree. This is the perfect airport/vacation book.