Marie-Claude Gavard, Dominique Bouchart

Happiness in Sixty Questions Publication date : May 15, 2008

This concise guide aims to help us lead happier lives, by establishing easier, smoother relations with ourselves, with strangers, with friends and co-workers, and with our families and children. It concentrates on issues that are part of everyone's daily lives, such as: Is making peace between partners in a couple the result of concessions or a compromise?; How to get along with one's siblings; How to overcome a propensity toward guilt; Is it possible to “love” one's mother-in-law?; How to cope with anger; Falling in love — should you give in?

Usually, answers to the many questions that arise during a lifetime take the form of long theoretical treatises. Years are sometimes needed before one can understand them and put them into practice. In this book, the authors provide straightforward answers to sixty common questions. Each question is dealt with in a structured manner, its terms defined, and its symptoms and causes analyzed. The authors then examine what must be done to unblock situations that hinder development.

Simple notions of psychology and basic commonsense inform the answers that are given here. They tell us to develop the skill to change our mental states, to adopt a different perspective to look at ourselves, our families and friends, and to envisage a new way of living and communicating with them. These are some of the tips the authors give to help us lead happier lives — without wasting time.

The highly structured method described here is designed to reassure readers by offering them clear pointers to help them progress:

• It shows how to stop over-dramatising situations that don't warrant it, and to reduce feelings of anxiety.

• It offers commonsense advice, backed by clear and accessible psychological explanations.

• It provides keys to greater understanding and gives practical advice to facilitate action and change.

Doctor Marie-Claude Gavard, a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and psychoanalyst, has practised in Paris for more than twenty years. She uses interactive therapies and specialises in treating couples and depression in adults.

Dominique Bouchard, a Harvard-educated engineer, is an expert in development.