Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier

Robert A. Emmons, Author Houghton Mifflin $25 (244p) ISBN 978-0-618-62019-7

This fine, succinct contribution to the relatively new field of positive psychology (which seeks to promote emotional wellness, rather than treat disorder) focuses on what a French saying calls “the memory of the heart.” Emmons (The Psychology of Gratitude ), a leader in the field and professor at UC-Davis, looks at gratitude from an interdisciplinary perspective, including literature, psychology, religion and anthropology. He demonstrates how it contributes to emotional equanimity and pleasure, richer personal relationships and greater health. Perhaps Emmons's most interesting chapter is on ingratitude, which Kant called “the essence of vileness” and which Emmons sees as resulting from “the grudging resentment of one's own dependence” on others. “Gratitude is more... than a tool for self-improvement. Gratitude is a way of life,” Emmons says, and he ends by offering 10 ways to cultivate gratitude, including keeping a gratitude journal and learning prayers on gratitude. Emmons introduces an important topic through deftly synthesizing scientific and popular inspirational literature. (Aug. 6)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
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