3 out of 4 stars
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If you are new to the idea and practice of reading self-help books then Happiness Is All We Want by Ashutosh Mishra is a good place to start. Using the concept of happiness as the anchor for the book and focusing on the mind, body and soul the author has created a well-rounded guide to improving one’s life. Mishra weaves personal anecdotes throughout the book which aids in the explanation of concepts with real-world examples that the reader can relate to.
Happiness to Mishra is something that we are often searching for and trying to attain but is also something that often evades us. He explains that “Life is composed of a continuous journey, some intermediate milestones and a final destination… When we are happy and joyful, we enjoy every step of the journey.” He emphasises the importance of physical and mental well-being for happiness as according to the Mishra we cannot be completely happy if we are not healthy.
The book is then broken into the three sections – mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and spiritual wellbeing. Mental wellbeing is the first section tackled by Mishra and it strongly emphasises throughout the section the benefits of meditation. For physical well-being, the emphasis is on healthy eating and exercise. For the spiritual well-being, he encourages the exploration of our spiritual sides as the exploration of spirituality can lead to spiritual enlightenment or self-realisation. This section is heavily influenced by the authors own exploration into Hinduism, Buddhism and Indian philosophy.
The writing is heavily influenced by the author’s background and beliefs which is evident throughout the book and for some, the advice might be unnerving. Such as the fat-shaming in the physical section. Where the wives in a couple anecdotes have put on weight as a result of being pregnant and have the societal and familial pressure to lose the weight to be more attractive to their husbands. This and other advice throughout the book comes across as preachy which can become off-putting to the reader.
Overall, I would rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. This book could be a good starting point for someone new to self-help books and who wants an overall guide. However, readers have to remember that the author is a self-styled wellness guru and should not be seen as an authority on well-being. The concepts of mental, physical and spiritual well-being can be found in many different cultures and as such this book should be read as being an interpretation of wellness from an Indian perspective. That being said in reading the book it is a good way to remind oneself about the importance of being happy.
Happiness is All We Want!
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