Stephanie Dowrick is a psychotherapist, an interfaith minister, and the author of five books. In this one, written in collaboration with Catherine Greer, she probes the riches and depths of happiness. At the outset she notes:

"Whatever our background, culture or race, what rewards us most powerfully and consistently are the most deceptively simple abilities of all: the ability to be kind, to live enthusiastically and creatively, to appreciate and understand experiences different from our own, and to sustain a sense of inner stability and trust even in unwelcome and difficult situations."

Despite work success, financial security, and other high standards, many people are lonely, depression is rampant, and relationships are breaking down all around us. This ambitious tome is designed to help readers achieve greater self-understanding and confidence to cope with the real world. There are sections on trusting who you are, letting your values and goals work for you, choosing your attitudes and responses, building self-respect, considering others, honoring the people you love, and thinking and acting positively. Many of the ideas presented in the book can be explored through journal writing or seed meditations, which are explained in an early chapter.

Here are a few passages from Dowrick:

• "Nourish your mind, spirit, and your soul with at least as much attention as you give your body. What you take in — what you pay attention to — will closely reflect the quality of what you can give out."

• "Presence is what will remain longest in other people's minds when they think about you. It is what will eventually determine whether you affect them positively or not. Be aware of what your presence brings to other people. Stand in their shoes."

• "Simply reminding yourself that 'Not everything is "about" me' can be powerfully soothing. It is also true."

• "Take care of your spiritual needs. Make time for what's uplifting, connecting, inspiring. Compassion must translate into action. Don't just wish for love; be more loving. Don't just wish for happiness; live with greater joy."