Book Review: Creating Optimism

by Bryant Evans on June 26, 2009

Happiness seems in short supply today. There are many reasons for the surliness of the world including financial worries, health concerns, declining morality and troubled relationships on every hand. Plenty of reasons to frown to be sure. If I were a worldly person I would probably be sad too.

The shortcomings of culture are being laid bare daily. It does not and cannot fulfill our deepest needs. Living for God and looking for the coming of Jesus Christ in glory is the best answer for happiness I know. But on a purely secular level there is a book you might come across for reading. Let me give you a quick rundown of Creating Optimism, a book designed to help you increase your happiness in this life as task at which it falls a bit short.Authors Bob Murray and Alicia Fortinberry reason that rise stress is at the heart of our sadness in life. That stress is brought on because we have been forced to function in ways which were not common for our ancestors. These changes generate stress which in turn limits happiness. They write:

“Our society constantly tries to makes us into something we are not, with purposes and functions that are not congruent with out real selves. The way we are forced to live is abusive.”

The authors suggest eight fundamentals of happiness. They are:

  1. Connection to others
  2. Autonomy
  3. Self-esteem
  4. Competence
  5. Purpose
  6. Connection to your body
  7. Connection to nature
  8. Spirituality

The remainder of the 203 pages offers insights into these eight areas. As you might imagine I was most interested in what they had to say about spirituality. They write, “Spirituality, along with functional relationships is the ultimate antidepressant.” Certainly we would agree if that spirituality is based on truth. Unfortunately, these authors equate spirituality with a belief in anything spiritual-like. In fact in one example they speak of an antelope god. Perhaps they are being absurd to make a point but the tenor of the chapter does not point to the one true God, Jehovah.

The book does highlight some research into various aspects of spirituality including prayer. But the sad fact is that the book believes prayer is a method whereby the subconscious “tricks” the brain into believing deliverance has come by the divine.

There are some useful aspects to the book as long as we remain outside of the spiritual. But once these two begin to focus on spirituality they show there humanistic sided through and through.

On a scale of 10 I give it a 4. Just my thoughts, yours?


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{ 1 comment }

gail bush June 27, 2009 at 3:29 pm

It’s hard to be happy when with each breath,there is pain. I am happy that things could be worse but they are not . I am happy that God hears my prayers and an swers them There is only one way to find true happiness and that is with God.

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