The Secrets of Happiness: Three Thousand Years of Searching for the Good Life

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Simon and Schuster, Nov 14, 2006 - Self-Help - 256 pages
Unhappy is the story of happiness. More than two thousand years ago, when the ancient Greeks first pondered what constitutes "the good life," happiness was considered a civic virtue that demanded a lifetime's cultivation. Not just mere enjoyment of pleasure and mere avoidance of suffering, true happiness was an achievement, not a birthright. Now, in an age of instant gratification and infinite distraction, history professor Richard Schoch takes a refreshingly contemplative look at a question that's as vital today as ever: What does it mean to be happy? Schoch consults some of history's greatest thinkers -- from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas to Buddha -- in his quest to understand happiness in all its hard-won forms. Packed with three thousand years' worth of insights, many long forgotten, The Secrets of Happiness is a breath of ancient wisdom for anyone who yearns for the good life.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
LIVING FOR PLEASURE
23
Pleasure Is Good The Epicureans
46
CONQUERING DESIRE
67
The Enlightened One Buddhism
93
TRANSCENDING REASON
115
The Alchemy of Happiness Islam
141
Contents
142
ENDURING SUFFERING
167
The Hidden Face of God Judaism
192
Conclusion
209
Bibliography
223
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