If you are not happy, you can be. That is the message of the latest book by nationally syndicated radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, “The Happiest Life: Seven Gifts, Seven Givers & the Secret to Genuine Success.”
Hewitt’s thesis is simple: seven gifts - encouragement, energy, enthusiasm, empathy, good humor, graciousness, and gratitude - enrich those who receive them, and thereby produce happiness in those who give them.
Every chapter in this book is full of examples from Hewitt’s own experiences and his observations about others, including guests on his radio show. And every chapter closes with a challenge to consider ways you can start giving these gifts to others.
The insights are not just from Hewitt’s personal experiences and observations, but from good books, too. I now have some great additions to my “books-I-want-to-read list.”
Here is a partial list of books I now want to read (or re-read): “Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul” by John Eldredge; “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand; “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis; “The Last Lion” by William Manchester and Paul Reid (3-volume biography of Winston Churchill); “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor” by Jake Tapper; “The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming” by Henri Nouwen.
And these books are from just the first half of the book.
I especially appreciated the chapter on Encouragement. While reading that chapter I thought of a friend who is going through a rough patch in his career. Taking Hugh's advice, I decided I should encourage my friend. So I bought a card at Rite Aid and wrote him a note of encouragement. I found myself using a phrase Hugh recommends: "You are very good at what you do." I hope I brought encouragement my friend.
Regular listeners to Hewitt’s radio show will enjoy the insights and stories about people Hugh has interviewed… the remarkable energy and gusto of Louis Zamperini the day he arrived at the studio to be interviewed for the radio show… Hugh’s poignant recalling of the enthusiasm and curiosity of his friend Andrew Breitbart… the good humor of Dennis Prager, who believes it is necessary to “wear happiness like a coat, as armor against whatever weather life throws at you.”
This book is an absolute treasure. Everyone looking for graduation gifts or birthday gifts should have “The Happiest Life” at the top of their list.
I will close by returning the point made at the beginning of this review, that if you are not happy you can be. Each chapter includes practical suggestions for people who want to live a happy life. Take Hugh’s advice and start with small steps. Say an encouraging word to the next clerk who rings up a sale for you. Devote extra energy and attention to the things that interest your spouse. Bring enthusiasm to your project at work and your church volunteer work. Be gracious. Acknowledge teachers and others who helped you along the way. Start giving these gifts to others and you will find yourself becoming happier.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. To order this book from Amazon, click the button below.