Before Happiness

  • by Shawn Achor
  • Narrated by Mike Chamberlain
  • 8 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In his international best seller, The Happiness Advantage, Harvard-trained researcher Shawn Achor described why happiness is the precursor to greater success. This book is about what comes before both. Because before we can be happy or successful, we need to first develop the ability to see that positive change is possible. Only once we learn to see the world through a more positive lens can we summon all our motivation, emotion, and intelligence to achieve our personal and professional goals.
In Before Happiness, Achor reveals five actionable, proven strategies for changing our lens to positive:

The Most Valuable Reality: See a broader range of ideas and solutions by changing the details on which your brain chooses to focus
Success Mapping: Set goals oriented around the things in life that matter to you most, whether career advancement or family or making a difference in the world
The X-spot: Use success accelerants to propel you more quickly towards those goals, whether finishing a marathon, reaching a sales target, learning a language, or losing 10 pounds
Noise-Canceling: Boost the signal pointing you to opportunities and possibilities that others miss
Positive Inception: Transfer these skills to your team, your employees, and everyone around you
By mastering these strategies, you’ll create a renewable source of positivity, motivation, and engagement that will allow you to reach your fullest potential in everything you do.


What the Critics Say

In this remarkable book, one of the leading thinkers in the field of positive psychology digs deep into the science to find practical techniques for unleashing your genius for happiness. So forget about cheap gimmicks and gooey affirmations. Instead, listen to Shawn Achor -- and prepare to take notes!"
-- Daniel H. Pink, author of DRIVE, TO SELL IS HUMAN, and A WHOLE NEW MIND

“Shawn Achor, one of our greatest positive psychologists for the workplace, has done it again. With his characteristic blend of academic rigor and twinkle in the eye, Achor will change your view of happiness, of reality -- and of yourself.” 
--Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Before Happiness 
is the book that positive psychology fans have been waiting to read. Shawn Achor, the leading light in bringing the science of happiness to work, offers his signature blend of eye-opening research insights, entertaining stories, and infectious enthusiasm. This fresh, uplifting book is filled with ideas for improving our organizations and our lives.
 -Adam Grant, Wharton professor and bestselling author of Give and Take

"Shawn Achor is a positive genius who is capable of taking complex academic research and making it come to life in companies and schools across the globe."
-Tony Hsieh, bestselling author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of, Inc.

In Before Happiness, Shawn Achor provides simple, scientifically sound strategies built around three key factors most of us undervalue: where we choose to put our attention, how much social support we build into our lives, and whether we view stress as a challenge rather than a threat.  
--Tony Schwartz, best-selling author of The Power of Full Engagement and Be Excellent at Anything

“Read this book before you buy any other self-improvement title. For anyone who wants to find more meaning, achievement, and joy in life, this is the single best place to start."
-Tom Rath, Bestselling author of StrengthsFinder 2.0 and Eat Move Sleep

From the Hardcover edition.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Positive Genius

Inspired, enthused and encouraged is how this Before Happiness made me feel. This audibook is about how we can all move toward positive genius written by the positive genius himself. Shawn Achor has an incredible ability to breath life into research using his own and other compelling stories. He then guides us by the hand through the practical steps to create our own positive reality.

For someone with such great academic ability he is also down to earth making this material accessible to anyone with even the slightest interest in becoming happier. If you enjoyed the Happiness Advantage this book updates and makes those ideas even more powerful by revealing the mindset that makes happiness possible. The fact that every idea is linked back to solid research that you know works adds even greater credibility.

Shawn has a great sense of humour too. I was genuinely surprised to find they let kidnappers into Harvard. I’d like to hear his sister Amy’s side of some of these stories one day too I’m sure they will be quite different and revealing. Remembering some stories from the first book about video games I did wonder if this sense of humour was also responsible for releasing the audiobook in the same week as Grand Theft Auto 5. Mike Chamberlain does a good job of the narration but for the humour and emphasis on some points I'd have preferred Shawn had read this himself (but I know he's been busy inspiring many so that is only a minor point).

I place Shawn Achor's books alongside others who are challenging us to think beyond our current reality such as Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, Carol Dweck, Jim Collins, Gary Hamel, Barbara Fredrikson and Tim Harford. They all share that rare ability to see what is truly possible if we reach toward our potential and use all forms of intelligence.

I was inspired by how easily we can create a more positive reality for ourselves, enthused by the practical ideas to increase success and reduce noise and encouraged that Shawn wants us to share this research and inspire others through ‘positive inception’. This book has doubled my enthusiasm for sharing these ideas with others and to play my part in a more positive and engaged world. I'm already applying these ideas in my own life and looking forward to sharing the practical steps with many others. A must listen, thank you Shawn.
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- Mark

Excellent book - very frustrating narration.

Any additional comments?

The book is fantastic. Shawn Achor has some stella ideas and the research to back them up. He has an ability to boil it all down into approachable narrative and simple steps.Unfortunately, the narrator doesn't live up to the material. The book is read with little apparent investment in the subject, seemingly trying to 'act' the narration. But this is not a fluffy novel; there are important and textural sentences here which need breath and inflection in the right places to communicate the point to the listener. It is so hard to follow because of this. Shawn narrated the first book himself and I wish he had done this one too. He may not have the most exciting speaking voice, but he is a likeable guy and his verbal commitment to the subject matter makes it so much better in my view. If you are a Shawn Achor 'fan', listen to the Happiness Advantage, but read this book yourself.

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- Jane

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-09-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio