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Article  •  13 September 2023


Arthur C. Brooks’ letter to readers

Arthur C. Brooks co-authored ‘Build the Life You Want’ to inspire readers to live their happiest lives through the power of science. Read what he has to say about the book and the inspiration behind it.

Dear Reader,

One evening last year over dinner, Oprah Winfrey and I compared notes on what people told us they wanted the very most in life – to Oprah in her iconic career in mass media, and to me as a professor and social scientist. They almost never said they wanted to be powerful or famous, or even rich. And they certainly never said, 'I want a new social media platform' or anything like that.

They always said they wanted to have more joy and less worry, more sense of purpose, and more love in their lives. In short, they wanted to be happy.

And that’s what you want, too, isn’t it? And yet, that one single goal is strangely difficult to achieve. The one thing we really want doesn’t have a clear formula, it isn’t for sale, and it isn’t provided by the government. No matter how successful you are, it can elude you. And despite all the promises from entertainment and tech, these things never deliver the happiness we seek.

And there’s a simple reason for this: Happiness doesn’t come from the outside world, but rather from inside ourselves. Waiting for the world to change – for relationships to improve, or finances to look up, or health to get better – won’t bring happiness. And at best, a new app, gadget, or shopping spree will temporarily distract us.

To get happier, we need to understand and learn to manage our complex emotions – to adopt habits of mind and living so that no matter what the world delivers, we can maintain a stable and steady inner life focused on enjoyment, satisfaction, and purpose.

Sound hard? Well, we have good news: You can learn to do these things. We have written this book to unlock for you the amazing secrets to emotional self-management. This isn’t based on some ancient, esoteric, mystical formula. Rather, it comes from the most cutting edge neuroscience and social science, conducted at the greatest universities in the world, related in terms non-scientists can understand and put into use.

This book is the owner’s manual for your emotions. If you read this book, you will understand yourself in greater depth than ever before. If you change your habits based on this knowledge – and we will tell you how – your life will improve. Relationships will get easier and more enjoyable. You will stop fearing bad feelings and start seeing them as an opportunity for learning and growth. You will stop frittering away precious time on silly distractions, and start building on the pillars of a happier life. In pretty short order, friends will be asking you for advice. You’ll be sharing the secrets yourself.

And it will be exciting and fun, as the project of your life should be.

The adventure of your lifetime – the journey to getting happier – can start the day you pick up Build the Life You Want.

Join us!


– Arthur C. Brooks

Feature Title

Build the Life You Want
You can get happier, says Oprah. And getting there will be the adventure of a lifetime.
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