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September 8, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The Art of Happiness at Work

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 8:19 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Art of Happiness at Work by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D., Riverhead Books, 192 Pages, $24.95 Price, August 2003, ISBN 1573222615
One of the surprising best sellers of the late 1990s was the Dalai Lamas book The Art of Happiness which sold over a million copies. In this book, the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard C. Cutler, who met the Dalai Lama in 1982 and maintains a private psychiatric practice in Pheonix, sit down to talk about how we can be happy at work. The book is an ongoing conversation with Dr. Cutler asking very good questions and the Dalai Lama providing stunningly brilliant replies.
This is not the kind of book I usually read. It is a little more inward than I usually like. That said, I am at the age and temperament to want to understand why things have to be the way they seem. I am not sure whether this is the book to answer those questions, but books that make you think are always important booksand this one really makes you think. The Dalai Lamas thoughts on dealing with stress, competitiveness and jealousy are worth the price of admission. For example:
You shouldnt mistake just being contented with ones job vs. just sort of not caring, not wanting to grow, not wanting to learn, just staying where one is even if ones situation is bad and not even making the effort to advance and to learn and to achieve something better. If we have a poor job, perhaps unskilled labor, but we have the skills and qualifications for better work, by all means we should exert our best effort for the better work, make a good attempt. But if that fails, then instead of frustration, anger, or thinking I tried but I wasnt able to make itthen think, ok, Ill carry on with this work. Be contented with the work you have. So if you fail, that is where ones attitude and the practice of contentment can make the difference between anger, resentment and frustration, and a calmer and happier attitude. Thats where training of the mind comes in. These kinds of things, lines of reasoning, can diffuse your frustration and disturbance of mind. So contentment, I think contentment. Thats the key thing.
Usually when I quote something out of a book, I quote much less. With this book I had a heck of a time finding this a short except to share with you because its so loaded with thought provoking, insightful ideas. Definitely a relevant and enjoyable read!

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.