If you’re looking for happiness, forget about it. Literally.
In an engaging, paradigm-shifting book, René Breuel deconstructs our consumerist models of happiness and proposes a radical, Jesus-based alternative: we don’t find happiness when we try to fulfill our desires—we find it when we stop looking for it and start focusing on serving others. By letting go, we find; by giving, we receive.
Writing with the joie de vivre of a Brazilian living in the Eternal City of Rome, Breuel brings us a fresh and arresting treatment of the classic paradox of happiness, why its quest is normally doomed before it starts, and how it can be turned around to be gloriously successful. A book to savor for all who pursue happiness.
—Os Guinness, author of The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life
René Breuel, in his excellent, provocative book, The Paradox of Happiness, exposes the modern fallacies in our understanding of happiness and reveals its true path—which isn’t the result of self-improvement, self-satisfaction or pleasant circumstances—but something far more satisfying and surprising.
—Rebecca Manley Pippert, author of Hope Has Its Reasons: The Search to Satisfy Our Deepest Longings
As many other thinkers and writers have discovered and articulated, we humans were created by a very happy God to enjoy the happy God’s own happiness. To enjoy this happiness, however, involves following the counterintuitive way and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth, the happiest human who ever lived. René Breuel gets it. He gets why most of us miss out on this happiness—self-turned-in-on-itself; and gets how Jesus leads us into true happiness—self-giving-self-away-for-others. And what René develops in this book makes me want to live Jesus’ counter-intuitive way. May I be as consistently happy as you are René!
—Darrell Johnson, Teaching Fellow, Regent College
“Finding happiness is not a matter of searching for it more intently, with greater creativity, or in a more spiritual way. It is a matter of not searching for happiness. It is a matter of not living for ourselves but for God and for others.” (Page 40)
“Individual happiness does not exist for its own sake—as what gives meaning to life. It is a property of meaningful lives. And if there isn’t meaning or life, there is no happiness. It won’t originate itself.” (Page 44)
“‘If I were to ask you why you have believed in Christ, why you have become Christians,’ reasons Augustine, ‘every man will answer truly, ‘For the sake of happiness.’ ’” (Page 12)
“If pleasure is the definition of happiness, we can get a lot of it without a concern for acting rightly. But happiness as pleasure is a much smaller happiness too: It is reduced to some rare, brief moments in an ocean of ordinary life and boredom. It is fragmentary, scrappy, random, minimal happiness.” (Page 15)
“ Happiness arrives incidentally, as a consequence. We experience it when we are pursuing something else” (Page 42)
René Breuel (MSt, Oxford; MDiv, Regent College) is the founding pastor of Hopera, a church in Rome, Italy. He has written for the Times Literary Supplement, Books & Culture, and The Gospel Coalition. He blogs at renebreuel.com, is a contributor for Evangelical Focus, and is the editor of Wonderingfair.com, a community of authors exploring the significance of the Christian faith for today's debates. He is married to Sarah and they have two young, energetic boys.