Book review: Instructions for happiness and success

As part of fun/happy week I wanted to review a book about the subject, seeing as happiness is rather a hot topic at the moment. To this end I’ve got hold of a copy of ‘Instructions for happiness and success’ by Susie Pearl.

The book also comes with seven MP3s that you can download for free from the related website. It’s split into three parts, with eleven chapters in total, and in the first part of the book each chapter is composed of a preamble/explanation, followed by several exercises to try. The later sections of the book are more focused on exercises.

The tone is very friendly and engaging, and it’s easy to read. However, the preambles did not sit very well with me in places. The main problem I have with the introductory sections is that the author discusses various topics within the field of quantum physics, extrapolates them to subjects that are not related to quantum physics and then presents the secondary subjects as ‘scientific fact’ and on occasion ‘proof’. I’m not sure what the point of this is, although talking about ‘the universe’ might be a round about way of talking about God or maybe getting your mind into a sort of ‘prayer state’ without freaking out atheists.

Anyway, that aside, I’ve had a very good look at the exercises and I genuinely think many of them might work well for most people. I don’t think they would work for the reasons claimed (quantum physics et al), more likely because they harness the human mind, and the human mind is indeed a very powerful and incredible thing. It’s a case of throw it at the wall and see what sticks with you, the individual: you can go for examining your personal values and beliefs, improving your concentration, trying creative visualisation, using relaxation and meditation techniques, consciously steering your mood and thoughts gently into a more positive direction, learning to let go of certain  things, setting goals and priorities, and so on.

My best guess is that this book would cheer most people up and make you count your blessings if you were feeling a bit ‘blah’, and it would help you to feel more focused, in control and motivated in your work and personal life. There is something practical and useful in this book for almost everyone, but only if you are okay with picking and choosing.

However, as it talks about manifesting (as in ‘your past thoughts are what’s caused every event in your life’) I’d suggest trying a different book if you’re suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, the after-effects of childhood abuse, debilitating genetic illness, or moderate to severe anxiety or depression where sensations of guilt are a prominent feature.

The book design has garnered much attention, and I also have to agree that it’s very handsome indeed. Lots of attractive illustrations, fold-out pages, and plenty of room for your own notes and drawings.

To sum up: a good-looking self-help book that those of a cosmic bent are very likely to enjoy. If you have a friend like that it would be a nice gift for them. I can’t recommend it more widely because of the pseudoscience.

Instructions for happiness and success by Susie Pearl is published by Quadrille and has an RRP of £12.99. It’s currently available on Amazon for £7.53.

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  1. Good review, love the quantum physics expose! Definitely not for me as I have a real beef with justifying certain things through science. Mainly because I dislike how creativity is under valued compared to science.

  2. It’s a shame really, as many other parts of the book are potentially very useful. I’ll keep an eye out for other books to review on the same subject.

  3. I found the book to be a rehash of Ask and It Is Given. That book has a set of exercises at the end and some of them are v. similar as is the range of emotions chart. Pearl’s book makes the information more accessible and has audios which the former does not, but it is much of a muchness. That aside, it has the workbook feature which is very good and anything which motivates, encourages and helps people focus and see life and themselves in a positive light is to be recommended. Not sure you can manifest anything you want in life, but other readers may want to give this a go and report back.

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