10% Happier Book Review

I’ve taken Dan Harris with me on my daily walks for a while now, and I’ve finally finished “reading” 10% Happier. As a regular yoga practitioner, I know all about the benefits of meditation. I also know how difficult it is and about some of the stigma attached to it. 10% Happier tries to get rid of the stereotypes many people believe about meditators.

The book claims that a regular meditation practice will make you 10% happier. In this unscientific experiment, the author has made himself the test subject, carving regular meditation into his daily life and applying the lessons learned from books and teachers. The claim that meditation makes one happier is backed by Harris’ personal experience as well as interviews with people like corporate workers, a marine, and even the Dalai Lama.

I was intrigued to read a book advocating meditation by a self proclaimed skeptic. Over the course of the book Dan Harris becomes a believer and crusader for meditation, the end result is often times quite funny. He regularly provides anecdotes where he finds himself proven wrong, and/or in sometimes embarrassing situations. He also comes clean about a past of addiction.

There’s a lot of name dropping in this book- the Dalai Lama, Peter Jennings, Deepak Chopra, Barbara Walters… Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, the author is a well known news journalist. The thing is, the name dropping isn’t always done in a nice way- rather in an honest way.

This isn’t a meditation how to, not by a long shot (though there is a 10% Happier app you can download to your phone which gives instruction and your very own meditation coach via text messaging). It’s a memoir of a man who was completely lost in a world of drugs and ego, and how he used meditation, and eventually some tenets of Buddhism to turn his life around.

It’s a compelling case for meditation. You’ll probably laugh along the way, but the ultimate goal of this book to get everyone to let go of their preconceived ideas about what meditation is and is not, and just give it a try.

Whether or not you currently meditate, I would recommend this book as an educational and entertaining read.

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