The Five Thieves of Happiness is the latest book by well-known author and speaker John Izzo. Inspired by his long sabbatical which included walking the Camino Santiago in Spain , Izzo thought deeply about the happiness we all seek but seem unable to find in our modern world.
According to Izzo, the good news is that we already possess happiness; it is “our natural state”. However, the complexities of life – and the way our brains respond to those complexities – cloud our early experiences, essentially robbing us of peace and harmony. He has identified “five thieves of happiness” which he describes as “thought patterns and internal filters through which we see the world in a distorted way”. (p. 6)
The bulk of the book is devoted to defining each of the five thieves (control, conceit, coveting, consumption and comfort), explaining how each has adversely affected our happiness and providing a sequence of steps to help readers banish the thieves from their lives. It is written in layman’s language and includes frequent and relevant examples which clarify both the traits of each of the thieves and the suggestions for identifying and removing them.
I found this book to be thought provoking and hopeful. Izzo’s study of the thieves goes beyond the strictly personal by connecting the “thieves of happiness” to the larger world, reflecting on how our thought patterns have contributed to the current political arena, our response to global warming and our relationship with social media.
It is a book which deserves to be read, considered and re-read: to help us regain our own personal happiness and, as a corollary, the well being of the planet as well.
– Judy Robb