The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama: Book Review

Title: The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

Author: Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

Genre: Spirituality, Non fiction, Self Improvement

The Art of Happiness is a book about happiness and meeting the very purpose of our existence. Howard C. Cutler, in conversation with the Dalai Lama has presented the paradigm of happiness as preached and practiced by the Buddhists.


The Art of Happiness is based on Howard C. Cutler’s conversations with His Holiness, the fourteen Dalai Lama and on his public talks on the subject of happiness.

“If you want others to be
happy practice compassion; and if you want
yourself to be happy practice compassion.”

If compassion is the basis of human happiness, then, can compassion be cultivated? If yes, how to go about it? These are the questions that the book addresses and succeeds admirably in bringing viewpoints that can be understood by the average reader.

In the book, Cutler presents the Western thought on happiness and compares it with the Buddhist teachings deliberating on mental health and human well being.

The Wonder and Joy

The best part of the book is the simple style, that communicates a sense of helpfulness and joy to the reader.

All the concepts and principles are discussed in great detail. For the remaining parts, Cutler goes to great lengths to show how the teachings can be adapted by non Buddhists, by the Western world in a modern setting.

Cutler draws analogies to explain the things that are a little hard to understand, to follow or to swallow. At other places, he quotes scientific studies or even his own experience with situations and people that he can view in a different light only because of the Dalai Lama’s teachings.

There are specific portions dedicated to the very real struggles of anger management, anxiety and low self esteem which are very useful for a reader looking to apply the concepts to his real life problems. There are a few meditations that anyone can start applying immediately.

This book is not just a treatise of the teachings of the Dalai Lama but also an attempt to understand the concepts completely and to apply it in our lives. For this, the credit goes completely to the coauthor for making things clearer and more applicable.


A simple book on the profound principle of compassion. This book is a gem that can be referenced again and again for a deeper understanding of the principles of kindness, love and compassion.

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