Happiness Is a Choice You Make by John Leland

Happiness Is a Choice You Make

An extraordinary look at what it means to grow old and a heartening guide to well-being, Happiness Is a Choice You Make weaves together the stories and wisdom of six New Yorkers who number among the "oldest old"-- those eighty-five and up.In 2015, when the award-winning journalist John Leland set out on behalf of The New York Times to meet members of America's fastest-growing age group, he anticipated learning of challenges, of loneliness, and of...

Details Happiness Is a Choice You Make

TitleHappiness Is a Choice You Make
Release DateJan 23rd, 2018
PublisherSarah Crichton Books
GenreNonfiction, Self Help, Psychology, Health

Reviews Happiness Is a Choice You Make

  • Maggie
    My non-fiction favorite book of 2018. I don't think it's #1 spot will be challenged. An uplifting, perspective-shaking & beautiful examination of the lives of 6 people over the age of 85. I would like to read this every year of my life, to make sure the wisdom in it continues to sink in and stay with me. No book has made me feel more grateful for everything in life, and just life in general, no matter what I'm stressing about, and actually in spi...
  • Rachel Blakeman
    I'm not sure why I bothered finishing this book. Would have been a great long form article but as a book it dragged on and felt like the lessons got lost along the way. Also didn't feel like I got much new insight about the wisdom of oldest of the old. It did however remind to appreciate my time with both my own grandmothers, with one living until 91 and the other until 101. I miss them but they live on our families' memories.
  • Lesa
    At the beginning of 2015, John Leland, a journalist for the New York Times, embarked on a year-long project. He met with seniors to come up with six people to follow to learn from them about being old, and what it means today. The result was a series in the newspaper and the book, Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year among the Oldest Old.One of the fastest growing groups in the United States is those over the age of eighty-five. Th...
  • Lynne Spreen
    Happiness is a Choice You Make is the account of a yearlong conversation between a New York Times journalist and six people who are among the “oldest old” in America. The journalist, John Leland, was 57 as of the the time of this writing, and going through his own challenges. He was hoping to learn from these elders, and to share his findings with us. He did both brilliantly. Leland writes with compassion, humor, and incisiveness. I knew I wa...
  • Ericka Clouther
    This is an interesting, thought-provoking book about old age and how to get the most quality of life. There is some science in it, but it's not a science-based book. Instead, it's based on a small number of long-term interviews. To a lesser extent, it's about facing the inevitability of death, but the focus here is on how to confront life now in order to be prepared for whatever form death takes. There are some valuable thoughts worth considering...
  • Terri Suda
    Borrowed it from my public library, purchasing it for my permanent shelf as a reference and reminder to what's essential, important and true about living life well and in the moment. Loved every word and every lesson. Essential reading.
  • Julie Barrett
    Solid 3 stars. I wanted to love this book but honestly, it wasn't anything too eye opening. Still enjoyable to read. Basically, what the author learned in a year of hanging out with 6 old people is carpe diem. In the words of Ram Dass, "be here now". Of course, that is easier said than done for many people, myself and the author included.One of the 6 people Leland follows does basically that when younger - always living in the moment - and he pay...
  • Holly
    When New York Times journalist John Leland set out to interview six economically and racially diverse octo- and nonagenarians over the course of a year, he thought he would leave the meetings anxious and depressed by their physical and emotional challenges. And at times he came away concerned for their safety and wellbeing. But he quickly discovered that the elderly themselves are hopeful. Without the worries of career, family, and relationships,...
  • Terri
    This book deserves a better title. It's an insightful look at a year in the lives of a half dozen elderly folks. How they cope with diminished capabilities, their attitudes towards dying and living. It's easy for us to forget that older people are unique and have their own views. Leland celebrates them all.
  • Kristine
    Happiness is a Choice You Make by John Leland is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late January.Words of wisdom from 6 elders as part of Leland's 85 and Up series. Their stories are neither fully feast or famine (complete ability or disability) and, quite frankly, it's so much better that way. Each emphasize the necessity to keep busy with the hobbies and interests that they love, to readjusting goals and daily activities to their personal, p...
  • diane diener
    Everyone should read this book. Well written and we'll worth the timeEveryone should read this book. Well written and well worth the time. A subject we all are intimately involved with
  • Dawn
    Wisdom UnfoldsWonderful lessons. Interesting and well written. Personable. I enjoyed how he wrote the lesson from each individual and then shared with readers how he related that lesson to his own life.
  • Deborah Hebblewhite
    Wonderful meditation on life and how we find meaning. Made me realize there are lessons to learn from people who have lived much longer than I have.Interesting quote from the book . . .But what is old age? To a great extent we’ve made it a verdict, something that happens to people who didn’t have the good sense to take up yoga before it was too late, meaning roughly their twenties. Which is to say, old age is a concept largely defined by the ...
  • Maria
    This is a poignant, life-affirming, and inspiring little book with a huge message. Absolutely required reading for everyone who hopes to live a good, long life.
  • Jane
    Being in the moment, enjoying what I have, and not lamenting what I don't are all lessons I can get behind. I don't gain anything by wishing circumstances were different.
  • Patricia
    I appreciated the stories and the wisdom. This book gave me a lot to think about.
  • Karen
    Leland spends a year with six older adults in and around NYC. They are all 85 or older at the time, and they each find ways to find happiness despite some of the losses of advanced age. Fred is a well-dressed ladies man who is grateful for waking up to a new day. He has some problems with mobility, but he's full of gratitude and enjoys life's simple pleasures. Ping enjoys playing mah-johng and socializes with several other Chinese-Americans. She ...
  • Gina
    "Happiness is a Choice You Make" is sometimes painful to read. It reminds us that if we are destined to live for many decades, we may be in for some challenging times, medically and psychologically. Still, it is enlightening to learn from people who have been around long enough to see the big picture. The most successful among the elders engage in pleasurable activities, maintain a certain amount of optimism, and stick with those relationships th...
  • Ellyn Lem
    This book might not seem like it would be a "fun read," but I thought it was fantastic--how one middle-aged NY Times reporter going through some life crises spent a year with six senior citizens who taught him how to make the most of one's life. The six individuals he focused on had different enough stories that Leland could bring out different lessons from his interactions with him, which he laces with current sociological and medical research. ...
  • John Kaufmann
    Solid. Leland wrote about life lessons from six "extraordinary" elders he has met over the years. There are some good insights, and it is an interesting read. I thought about giving it four stars to distinguish it from several similar books about aging to which I gave only three stars - but I'm not sure it quite rises to four stars. Nonetheless, it has some good insights.
  • Elyse P
    Maybe the newspaper column that these stories came from was more interesting. I didn't discover anything new or learn anything surprising. (Gratitude, humor, sense of purpose, social network, etc were among the lessons...) In spite of its short length, I had a hard time finishing because I couldn't stay engaged.
  • Rich
    "Though you may not drive a great big CadillacGangsta whitewallsTV antennas in the backYou may not have a car at allBut remember brothers and sistersYou can still stand tallJust be thankful for what you got"P.S. - Though simple and predictable, this book made me feel good, especially since I'm acting as a caregiver for my mom right now.
  • Steve Middendorf
    This book changed my views on aging. I'm still intent on managing my own end, but less concerned about establishing a specific date.Some pearls:"Severe memory loss is a horrible thing, and we rightly fear it, but selective forgetting can be the better part of wisdom. When you’re forty-five, it pays to remember all the mistakes you made in your marriage or career, so you can learn from them; at ninety it’s better—wiser—to forget, because t...
    John Leland wrote a well-received newspaper series about "the oldest old," people who are eight-five and up. "Happiness is a Choice You Make" originated from his year-long interaction with six individuals in their eighties and nineties. Some are ill, while others are relatively healthy, if you discount the aches and pains that afflict everyone sooner or later. Ninety-one year old John Sorenson has lived for forty-eight years on the Upper West Sid...
  • Annie
    My god, this was depressing. Two stars because of Jonas and John.
  • Kathy
    I am as surprised as John Leland was at the lessons learned when he undertook (as a New York Times journalist) spending a year visiting and interviewing six elderly people. The people chosen were a very diverse group; married, single, several ethnicities, some with health and/or money issues, some without.He expected to find that the elderly among us are a rather glum, plodding lot, focused on their aches and pains. What he found instead were eng...
  • Sharon May
    Thanks so much to NetGalley, Sarah Crichton Books, and John Leland for the opportunity to read and review this book - should be a must read!John Leland, a journalist for the New York Times, spent a year with a select group of "elders" - those oldest of the old in our society to see what lessons they could impart on the rest of us. What followed is this book - we get a glimpse at our society, the government and families treat this segment of the p...
  • Writemoves
    No offense to the author but I only skimmed through the book as I did not like it. I found the stories from his six elderly New Yorkers just as depressing as my current real life experiences with a 93-year-old mother in the throes of late stage dementia. Also at age 65, I am starting to feel the limitations and worries that come with being a senior citizen. There are moments when those of us with some gray in our hair and tread on our tires feel ...
  • Deb Andrade
    The author is a journalist who turned a study of the elderly into a self-help book. The format is pretty straightforward. He followed six economically and socially diverse old people for a one year period to gain insight into how they felt about their lives past and present, their feelings about happiness, dying, etc. A lot of the so called "wisdom" one can glean from the book is not particularly new - life is what you make it, live in the moment...