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The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

March 15, 2016


Neil Pasricha provides nine secrets and a simple equation (Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything) to find happiness in life and work.

Neil Pasricha’s #1 international bestselling Book of Awesome series opened the eyes of readers around the world to the simple pleasures of everyday living. Now, he explains how anyone can actually build an awesome life in his brilliantly counterintuitive and delightfully engaging new book, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything (G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Publication Date: March 8, 2016). Drawing on more than a decade of developing leaders in many of the world’s most prominent companies, Pasricha presents his 9 Secrets to Happiness, each including specific and practical action steps that will lead to a more fulfilling life today.

A Harvard MBA, former Director of Leadership at one of the world’s largest companies, and one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, Pasricha has spent years helping people lead teams, businesses, and organizations. But a troubling insight slowly dawned on him while doing this work: Hardly anyone was happy. So many leaders told him they didn’t have space in their lives, were stressed about time and money, and felt burdened with endless decisions and conflicting advice. Even the greatest leaders in the world—including billionaires and Fortune 500 CEOs—were all plagued with dramatic crises on a daily basis.

Pasricha also realized he wasn’t happy himself. Moreover, he couldn’t find a book that would help him and others navigate and simplify their most challenging decisions so they could live with contentment, freedom, and happiness. He set out to write a practical book with real frameworks that lead to happiness—an action book that could be used every day to help reach what Pasricha presents as the only three goals in life:

To want nothing — that’s contentment.
To do anything — that’s freedom.
To have everything — that’s happiness.

And the 9 secrets that will get us there include:

Secret #1 — The First Thing You Must Do Before You Can Be Happy.

The happiness model we’re taught from a young age is actually completely backward. We think it goes Great Work → Big Success → Be Happy. In fact, exactly the opposite is true. It goes Be Happy → Great Work → Big Success.

Secret #2 — Do This and Criticism Can’t Touch You.

The key to blocking all criticism, he says, lies in 4 Simple Words: Do It for You. Extrinsic motivators—like stat counters , job evaluations, and financial rewards—actually mentally block our intrinsic motivators.

Secret #3 — The 3 Words That Will Save You on Your Very Worst Days.

“Remember the Lottery.” These words remind us how lucky we truly are: to be alive, to live in a rich country, and to have the leisure to ponder our happiness. When we “Remember the Lottery,” we realize that we’ve already won.

Secret #4 — The Dream We All Have That Is Completely Wrong.

Retirement is the broken dream and it is a broken concept. It assumes we enjoy doing nothing and that we can afford to do so. It needs to be eliminated.

Secret #5 — How to Make More Money Than a Harvard MBA.

The secret to making more per hour than a Harvard MBA is to know your “dollar per hour” and Overvalue You.

Secret #6 — The Secret to Never Being Too Busy Again.

The key to creating space in our lives lies in the 3 Removals—of choice (make decisions at twice the speed), time (move up deadlines, which allows more time later), and access (have only one means of access to you in a work day).

Secret #7 — How to Turn Your Biggest Fear into Your Biggest Success.

We grow up thinking we need motivation to create action but actually, action leads to motivation. In other words, it is far easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting. Just Do It.

Secret #8 — The Simple Way to Master Your Most Important Relationship.

There are three tests you need to guide you to find your authentic self: The Saturday Morning Test, The Bench Test, and The Five People Test.

Secret #9 — The Single Best Piece of Advice You’ll Ever Take.

All advice conflicts. Defense wins championships or the best defense is a good offense? Absence makes the heart grow fonder or out of sight, out of mind? Don’t take advice.

The Happiness Equation distills the wisdom of one of the world’s most renowned leadership experts and observers of awesome into a direct, concrete, and entertaining guide to action, filled with the essential tools anyone needs to help them live a richer, simpler, happier life.



Neil Pasricha is the New York Times–bestselling author of the Book of Awesome series, which has been published in ten countries, spent more than five years on various bestsellers lists, and sold more than a million copies. Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, and the Director of the Institute for Global Happiness. He has dedicated the past fifteen years of his life to developing leaders—creating global programs inside the world’s largest companies and speaking to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Pasricha lives in Toronto with his wife and son.

To learn more, please visit The Institute for Global Happiness at

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