Happiness As A Second Language: A Guidebook to Achieving Lasting, Permanent Happiness by Valerie Alexander (Non-Fiction)
Valerie Alexander, the author, narrates this book. Her performance is clear, strong, and inviting. Her voice is easy to listen to, and her pacing is excellent. There is a sincerity to the narration that adds credibility; in other words, listeners feel like they are hearing from someone who knows from personal experience what it is like not to be happy as opposed to someone who is simply reading a script about not having been happy.
The lessons are presented in a voice that is not overbearing: it is instructional in a way that attempts not to condescend but rather to convey the idea that the speaker realizes the challenges and/or the difficulties that people seeking to be happy are going to encounter.
Book Review: Happiness As A Second Language
Having read books about happiness and positive thinking written by some of the greatest contributors on the subject, I had my own criteria as to what would make this book an acceptable instructor on the subject.
I was pleased to hear the author’s first step toward being happy. This step was not new to me, and I wonder what distinguishable information she would provide to make her course worth investing in. The angle of approaching happiness as learning a new language is appealing and one most people can easily relate to and follow.
The greatest attribute of this book seems to be the simplicity of the approach toward happiness. It is simplistic on the surface, yet as a person performs the exercises, they are making complicated changes in themselves at the subconscious level: an important fact, because if changes are not made at this level, no real change occurs.
The advantage of the teachings presented is that with their daily application, people do learn the language of happiness in much the same way as they would learn to speak a foreign language. With dedication, they become comfortable speaking and experiencing it until happiness becomes second nature, much as a well-practiced second language would become. The best part is, since the language of happiness is spoken in English, the challenge of wrapping one’s tongue around new vowels and sounds is not required. Kudos to that!
The steps required are not all soft-soaped, easy-to-make adjustments. People who take the course seriously are compelled to look at themselves and others with a certain degree of examination that might be uncomfortable. The author doesn’t hesitate to share experiences both painful and personal that had to be faced and evaluated from a perspective that would allow this new language to bring about a genuine change of attitude.
While the overall concepts are good, one of the author’s suggestions borders on having the potential to create internal disagreement. Moreover, in the case of one person’s situation, the desire expressed by the author as the way for this individual to reverse course and move in the direction of happiness doesn’t come across as the best means to that end. Synonyms for the word “happy” and affirmations that don’t use it are also recommended.
A major plus of the book is that Valerie emphasizes the importance of self-honesty in people’s quest to apply the principles involved. No one is encouraged to fake happiness in any circumstance, but rather to view life’s situations in ways that open the mind to the idea that “Yes, even in this experience, there is a way for me to be happy.”
While this audio is only a little over three hours long, I recommend listening to it in small increments. The language of happiness, as presented here, has subdivisions. Listen to these sections gradually instead of pushing through to hear them all at once. This approach starts the wheels turning, allows for absorption of what is being suggested, and prepares the mind for wanting to know more.
This is also the kind of book with which you’ll want to own the e-book or printed copy, so you can quickly reference your preferred sections. The audio- and e-book are whispersynced, so you can take advantage of this deal.
Happiness As A Second Language is a keeper that will be a constant companion and a book that you will no doubt share with other individuals who are curious—perhaps, even demanding—to know how you became so fluent in happiness.
An audio sample and purchase options are available here.
Bibliography: Happiness As A Second Language by Valerie Alexander
Length: 3 hrs and 8 mins (unabridged)
Publisher: Valerie Alexander