A Review of 10% Happier by Dan Harris

by | Jan 27, 2019 | Books, Wellness

About 10% Happier and Dan Harris

Dan Harris is co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. After an on-air panic attack, Dan knew things needed to change some things in his life. 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 describes his journey from fidgety skeptic to medication advocate. 

Personal Reflections

So, 10% Happier is one of those books I purchased on a whim during an iBook sale late last Spring. I purchased it because I am intrigued by the idea of meditation and felt that the idea of “10% happier” is something worth investigating. Even before I read the book, I tried using a meditation app to start again. I had incorrectly thought that I should give it ago before reading the book. Sadly, I was not successful at meditating and never touched the book. 

Fast forward a bit to late last fall. After reading several articles on the benefits of meditation, I decided to give it a go one more time. This time, however, I decided to start by reading 10% Happier, as it had been mentioned in several of the articles. I am so glad that I decided to start my meditation practice by reading Dan’s book first. His inquisitive nature aligns well with mine and his various trials and errors were relatable. I also enjoyed his self-deprecating humor and the way he internalized the information he was receiving. 

One of the biggest mental hurdles I’ve had with meditation is the connection to religion. I’ve struggled with organized religion for a while now due to its frequent direct opposition to my stance on social issues. However, I felt comforted by Dan’s exploration of Buddhism and the way he was able to benefit from meditation without converting. 

Even before I finished reading the book, I was researching the meditation experts he met and digging deeper into their practices. Then, I discovered that Dan and Joseph Goldstein had launched an app called 10% Happier. The app has a free section that actually teaches you how to meditate! Obviously, I jumped right in and ended up finding it amazingly helpful.

Honestly, I didn’t realize that meditation is a much simpler act than I had previously thought. Between the information in the book and the (free part of the) app, I have been able to start on the right foot. I completely the January challenge in the app and it really helped me to create a practice of meditating on a daily basis. 

Favorite Quotes from the Book

On meditation: “I figured it was something I could never do anyway. I assumed, given the constant lopping, buzzing, and fizzing of my thoughts, that “clearing my mind” wasn’t an option.” – SAME, brother, same. (Also, I may have loudly exclaimed “YES” after reading this at the car dealership.) 

“It finally hit me that I’d been sleepwalking through much of life- swept along on a tide of automatic habitual behavior.” – Just a few pages in and I had never felt so understood. When I had this realization last year, it spurred me to explore and take a professional gap year. It’s so important that we acknowledge that we want to move beyond this habitual sleepwalking. 

“Where do gerbils run wild?” – Honestly, I thought I was the only one who had such out-of-left-field “squirrel” moments during meditation. Also, thanks to you Dan, my search history now includes “where do gerbils run wild”. Also, thanks to you, I know that the “desert rats” run wild in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. 

“Simply begin again.” – Three simple words I will carry near and dear for the remainder of my life. Thank you.

Would I recommend 10% Happier?

YES! If you’ve ever thought about starting a meditation practice, I suggest starting with this book. As I mentioned earlier, I was a bit skeptical about the whole meditation thing. However, I found Dan’s inquisitive nature very real and comforting. In fact, the way he explored the topic and ideas behind meditation is similar to what I would have done. I loved reading about the info-seeking paths he selected, the people her pestered, and the way he finally approaches mediation. 

Get Your Copy of 10% Happier

You can purchase your copy directly from the publisher, in major bookstores, or online. If shopping on Amazon, I encourage you to use my Amazon affiliate link (more info on affiliates) as Amazon pays me a few cents for the referral which I use help offset the cost of hosting my blog.  

Interested in my other book reviews? Check them out here

By Sara Beth

Sara Beth is a wanderlust soul who is focused on simplistic and mindful living. She is passionate about National Parks, road trips, and board games. Her early years were spent in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. After graduating from university, she moved to Las Vegas, fell in love, and adopted a dog. Today, she lives with her husband and their dog in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

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1 Comment

  1. Kristi

    This book has been in my ‘to read’ pile for WAY too long! You’ve inspired me to move it up a few pegs.


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