The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life

Climbing the ladder toward happiness may, in truth, be scaling the wrong wall. That's the persuasive case Mike Rucker makes in The Fun Habit, a lively and engaging argument for escaping the "happiness trap" by trading the pursuit of an elusive mental state for the effort to inject more fun into your everyday life.

If there's an overriding theme to Rucker's book, it's that there's a strong element of intentionality in the quest for more fun. In aid of that effort, for example, he recommends creating a "Fun File" of activities in the upper two quadrants of something he calls the PLAY Model (just one of the book's several helpful acronyms)--things that are easy to execute and enjoyable ("Pleasing") and those that are more challenging ("Living"). And rather than detracting from enjoyable pursuits, he points out that it's critical to schedule time for fun, "looking carefully at the choices you're making about how to spend your time and considering whether they are in alignment with what supports your well-being, now and in the future."

The Fun Habit blends abundant but concise accounts of contemporary scientific research, stories drawn from Rucker's life and a profusion of practical tips on how to consciously bring more joy into our "critically fun-starved" lives. "Happiness is a state of mind," he writes, "but fun is something you can do." Though he holds a Ph.D. and is a charter member of the International Positive Psychology Association, Rucker writes in a conversational style that makes The Fun Habit feel more like advice over a coffee from a well-informed, thoughtful friend than a dry academic treatise. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

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