In 10% Happier : How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works– a true story, Dan Harris details his life as an extreme Type A personality, busy climbing the intensely competitive network news ladder to the exclusion of everything else, when he experiences a panic attack on live TV. In the months following the attack, Harris begins a gradual process of exploring ideas that he hopes will help him prevent another episode; beginning with therapists, continuing through a study of Buddhist theory, and finally to the practice of mediation.
Meditation was, at times, incredibly difficult, but Harris eventually found some success. He also found that an acceptable way to explain his unexpected hobby was to tell people that mediation made him “10% happier.” This is a very personal book, filled with self-revelatory details that Harris had to ask his bosses’ permission to put in print. He’s candid about his various struggles in his career and personal life, along with his regular habit of making unfounded judgments.
Dan Harris’ story is so interesting because he is presented as a very unlikely person to be telling it. Through meditation and his studies, Harris learns to be in the moment and to stop obsessing about the past and the future in order to calm the “monkey mind.” As a result, he has become better at dealing with conflict, is capable of leaving a bad day at the office instead of bringing it home, and has become less of a worrier – all of which makes me wonder if he might actually be 20% happier?