Book Review: Choose the Life You Want by Tal Ben-Shahar

Choose the Life You Want by Tal Ben-Shahar

Subtitle: 101 Ways to Create Your Own Road to Happiness
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Number of pages: 304
First published: 2012
I got this book: from The Experiment via Netgalley (ebook)
Genre: non-fiction, self-help

Choose the Life You Want: What it is about

This is not the sort of self-help book where you are asked to do many exercises which will tell you some great truth about yourself or that help you forward in life. Rather, the book lists 101 choices that you can make at a time of decision. Once you realise that you have a choice at any time in your life, in your day, in your present, you can act.

An example, choose between Procrastinate or Just do it! Easy to say, but the book adds some tips: just carry out that unpleasant task for 5 minutes. Usually that is enough to get you started and you’ll Just be doing it after all. Another example of a choice: Remain indifferent or Help and contribute. A study found that the well-being of people who help other people is higher than those who do nothing. So, by helping others you are helping yourself. Being aware of this will improve your own life.

The book is organised such that each of the 101 choices is followed by a quote from a famous person that is pertinent to the choice, whereafter there is a brief explanation of the choice and a real-life story illustrating the choice.

Choose the Life You Want: What I thought

If you read the book all in one go and plan to take all these options into account, you’ll go mad. But what you can do, is look through the options and choose one or two that you want to work on in the next few weeks. Then make sure you recognise situations where there is a choice to be made, and act upon your new resolution.

I think the book is useful as a dip-in/dip-out book that you can use when you have a dilemma, or simply when you feel your life could be enhanced. I’m not a self-help person myself, I hardly ever read self-help books but I think this book is very handy, as you can take it or leave it just as much as you want. It makes you consider how you are dealing with things in your own life and how changing how you handle them might improve things.

The choices are clever but it sometimes feels like several choices could be grouped under one higher-level choice. However, as the writer says himself, by having more choices listed, you can approach your dilemma from different angles. I do think 101 choices is probably overkill for one single person, but there will always be a number of choices that are relevant to each person to use in their own life.

I liked this book!

Have you read this book?

Is this a book you would enjoy?


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

7 Responses to Book Review: Choose the Life You Want by Tal Ben-Shahar

  1. Rikki says:

    This sounds rather interesting. The point about giving people are happier is also made in the book that I am reading right now about spending money wisely.

  2. bibliosue says:

    I’ve just ordered this book based on your review. It sounds like the perfect book for me right now. Thanks, Judith.

  3. Charlie says:

    Someone once told me there was a theory about that every time you make a choice two different versions of yourself come into being, sort of a reality of the film Sliding Doors. Thinking like that can help you realise what to do sometimes, a which person would you choose to be sort of thing. “The book adds some tips: just carry out that unpleasant task for 5 minutes. Usually that is enough to get you started and you’ll Just be doing it after all.” I’ve been using this idea recently, and as long as you don’t keep a check on the clock it works really well. I’ll just start it becomes I’ve finished.

    I know what you mean about self-help books, this one sounds a good balance, not too preachy, especially if it favours a dip-in approach.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Charlie, I loved Sliding Doors! I think it’s true to some extend, that whatever decision you make can be the beginning of a completely different life path.

      It works for me too, an unpleasant task I can handle for a few minutes. Just making a beginning is often enough to keep going.

  4. Chinoiseries says:

    Hahaha, 101 choices may be an overkill indeed 😉 But it does sound like an inspirational book from which anyone can pick up a few tips to help improve one’s life. Are there any tips that you tried?

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