An open letter to Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness

An open letter from Frank Clayton (a mental health therapist who specializes in Happiness) to Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness

Dear Dr. Lyubomirsky,

Words cannot convey what a thrill it was to receive your comments on the book review of the How of Happiness. I don’t know how much you had a chance to look at the website, but I have been teaching a class called Happiness 101, based largely on your book. Actually at one point I was teaching the class THREE times a week: once in the private practice, once as a conference call and once at my “day job” working at an adult day treatment unit. On September 12th I will be teaching a workshop based heavily on the book as well (I am calling it Happiness 201). I bought several copies of the book to give to participants of the class. I also direct people to your website ( whenever possible – including a link on my website ( and my Facebook fan page (also called Happiness 101). I think anyone that is serious about being happier should start by reading your book. Looking to the future, I am hoping to teach Happiness 101 as an accredited class. Your book will be required reading.

Specifically, I so vehemently support your book because it is empirically based. I have picked up so many books in which the author is talking a good talk but find myself repeatedly asking “Where are they getting this?”, “What do they have to back this up?” In most cases I found their assertions to be subjective and therefore questionable. I also very much enjoy your style of writing. It is packed with information of happiness related studies while remaining down-to-earth and personable – a challenging balance to acquire! It is almost painful to see it sitting on the self-help shelf along with all the other books about happiness. Books like yours should have some sort of seal or special marking setting it apart from the others. I personally have two copies of your book. One to read and one to underline, highlight and scribble in the margins. I think every inch of white space has notes on it – even the cover!

It has been amazing to see the transformation in the “students” of the Happiness 101 classes. They are becoming Happiness ambassadors; teaching their friends, family and co-workers how to be happier. At the adult day treatment unit, many of the people I work with have been severely depressed for many years. Now most of them smile and eagerly share each week about the positives in their lives. We usually start the class by dancing to an upbeat, positive song. This week we got every single person on their feet – over 30 of them! They have HOPE, where they had none before. These are people with severe mental illness but because of your book, they have realized they have choices they can make to make their lives better. In turn, they inspire others – not only other clients but their friends, family members and even staff. After all, it is difficult to gripe about our problems when we see someone suffering from a severe mental illness making better choices and improving their lives. My “students” are an inspiration and many times my teacher.

I am incredibly excited to hear you are writing a new book! I will do everything I can to spread the word about the Happiness application for the iPhone ( What an amazing idea!! I’ll become a fan on Facebook, put a link on my website, tell my “students” and of course put the app on my own phone.

Your research and your book is changing many, many lives. Thank you SO much.


Frank G. Clayton
Licensed Professional Counselor

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky
The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky

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