Marketing Book Worth a Look: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

May 29, 2017

What is the ROI of being happy?

It seems like a strange question to ask. Conventional wisdom says happiness is a mental state brought about by a personal achievement—losing weight, getting a promotion, paying off a credit card—or at least a lucky break. So it’s odd to think of what happiness can do for you. You succeed, success makes you happy.

At least, that’s the way most people think of it. But according to Shawn Achor, we’ve got it backwards. Success doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. I’m sure you can think of countless examples of people who were both successful and miserable. However, perhaps happiness can lead to success.

When you’re happy, your brain is more engaged, you have more energy, you deal with setbacks better, and you can be more productive. If there were a way to train happiness—to choose to be happy and work towards that goal—it would make good business sense to pursue it. Retraining your brain for a positive mindset could lead to greater success at work and a more fulfilling personal life.

Shawn has spent over a decade at Harvard University applying scientific rigor to researching happiness. In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn applies that research to identify practical, actionable ways you can reprogram your brain for positivity.

Take a Look: The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work, by Shawn Achor

In addition to research and lecturing at Harvard, Shawn has worked with executives in Fortune 500 companies across the globe. Thousands of people have capitalized on Shawn’s training to develop a positive mindset that allows for more productivity, resilience, and even an edge up on the competition.

Why Shawn Wrote The Happiness Advantage

In a recent interview, Shawn told LinkedIn Marketing Solutions that his experience at Harvard led directly to the research that became The Happiness Advantage, and the 2009 financial crisis kicked it into high gear:

“I spent 12 years at Harvard, first as an undergrad, then as a researcher and was shocked to see how many students go through depression despite their successes.

That led me to want to study the relationship between success and happiness. I began to see that scientifically the formula only worked one direction--happiness led to success not the other way around. When the global economy began to collapse I realized we needed to battle-test the research on how to create happiness in the midst of uncertainty and uncontrollable variables.

I found that the same challenge existed in companies: we keep thinking happiness lies on the opposite side of getting a job or a promotion or hitting our sales target, but really, happiness is an incredible fuel for the brain allowing us to achieve those goals.”

Why Marketers Should Read It

The Happiness Advantage isn’t a book strictly for marketers, but its fundamentals definitely apply to our challenging, fast-paced profession. Shawn says, “I was writing for people who were frustrated that their successes did not lead to happiness. But I began to see that parents and managers were writing in daily talking about how small changes rippled into massive changes in happiness and success. Now we're seeing that the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain.”

Shawn’s impressive client roster is proof that happiness is a powerful motivator for anyone in the business world: “I've now worked with nearly half of the Fortune 100 as well as places like NASA, the White House and the NFL to show how you can choose and spread a positive mindset,” Shawn says.

What You Will Learn

We asked Shawn what the big takeaway is for readers who might be skeptical about the ROI of happiness. He said, “I want readers to understand that change is possible; that we are not just our genes and our environment.  But when we prioritize and create habits for happiness, we not only dramatically improve our worldview, but every business and educational outcome rises significantly.”

The Happiness Advantage offers seven practical, actionable ways to start retraining your brain to create those happiness habits.

Don’t Worry; Be Happy

We tend to think of happiness as an intangible, fleeting feeling that comes from good fortune or the results of hard work. The Happiness Advantage suggests that if we can get happy first, we’ll be better equipped to capitalize on good fortune and more energized to do hard work. By turning the happiness formula inside out, marketers can be happier and more successful. Which definitely makes The Happiness Advantage a marketing book worth a look.

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