The Happiest Life: Seven Gifts, Seven Givers, and the Secret to Genuine Success

pic_giant_010114_Living-the-Happiest-Life-Hugh-Hewitt
This is a very, very, very, VERY belated review. I am very much over the “please review within 30 days of receiving the book” deadline provided by the blogger review program I am a part of. Oops. But I have some great reasons (aka, wimpy excuses)! Ahem:
1)    I have been REALLY busy with moving and junk.
2)    I am super backed up on product reviews and giveaways.
3)    There have been other, more urgent (and interesting) books to read in my pile of “books to read”.
4)    And lastly, this book just wasn’t all that good. I literally had to choke it down. But more on that in the actual review…
I chose to review this book because it’s about happiness. And who doesn’t want to be happy?! With all of the major – and I mean MAJOR – life changes and transitions Jonathan and I are currently going through, I figured a book on happiness would be a great “always look on the bright side” type pick me up!

About The Book

From Amazon.com book summary:
What’s the secret to a life of happiness? 
In this delightful book brimming with humorous and poignant passages, radio personality Hugh Hewitt provides the answer. The starting place is generosity, he says, and there are seven gifts that are sure to improve the lives of both giver and receiver: encouragement, energy, enthusiasm, good humor, graciousness, gratitude, and patience.
Anyone can give these gifts, but Hewitt shows that some people are particularly well placed to offer them: parents, spouses, family members, friends, teachers, coworkers, and fellow church members.
Channeling his skills as a broadcaster, journalist, lawyer, and teacher, Hewitt weaves stories about these seven gifts and seven givers with inspiring and motivating observations to help readers become generous in the ways that matter most.

About The Author

Hugh Hewitt hosts a nationally syndicated radio program heard daily in more than one hundred cities. Hewitt is a professor of law at Chapman University and a partner in the law firm Hewitt Wolensky McNulty & Hickson LLP. He is the author of more than a dozen books and is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and Townhall.com and blogs daily at HughHewitt.com. Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School.

My Thoughts on the Book

As I mentioned above, I had a really hard time getting through this book. At first, it started kind of slow, but still stuck to the point of “steps to happiness”. Hugh Hewitt introduces himself, explains his purpose and book outline, and while there was a bit too much name dropping and self-importance for my taste, the book finally got moving and I assumed (hoped) the name dropping had passed.
The first part of the book focuses on the “Seven Gifts” that you can give to promote happiness in your life and the lives of others – Encouragement, Energy, Enthusiasm, Good Humor, Graciousness, Gratitude, and Patience. These chapters are so woefully short and educationally void that I quipped a couple of times while reading out loud to my husband, “If he finishes the seven gifts so quickly, what is the other half of the book going to be about??” I mean, the information was trivial and common sense mixed with a lot of name dropping that was rather off-putting. What else could he go on about for another 100+ pages that hadn’t already briefly been covered?
Now it was in the second part of the book that my 3 star “meh” rating plummeted to a “this book sucks” 2 star rating. In the second half of the book, Hewitt discusses the “Seven Givers”, which could more accurately be described as the, “Seven Types of Famous and Important People Hugh Hewitt Has Rubbed Elbows With”. While Hewitt doesn’t come across as haughty or arrogant, the entire second half of the book seemed far more self-serving and self-absorbed than helpful or useful to the reader.
Don’t get me wrong, while I have never listened in on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, from what I could tell, he seems like a pretty awesome guy. Even with his “me-centered” book, I’m pretty sure I’d like Hugh Hewitt. But I was extremely disappointed with this book.
The actual advice to the “people I know and have interviewed” ratio was pretty frikkin’ off kilter. Roughly two thirds of the book reads like a giant, rambling, eyes-glazing-over Acknowledgments chapter. What’s sad is that I am not exaggerating in the least. It’s just packed full with a ton of name dropping and autobiographical reminiscing about people and places and events that are only interesting if you are overly familiar with – or absolutely idolize the author. But even if you find Hugh Hewitt’s personal life fascinating, there’s still no real substance to this book, it is all fluff and filler.
I am inclined to agree with another Amazon.com reviewer who stated, “It should be titled: “The Happy, Happy Life of the Highly Successful Hugh Hewitt”. I found very little content or “food for thought”.”
To summarize, I can’t say that I garnered anything useful from this book, which was really just a giant name dropping fest and retirement party shout out to Hugh Hewitt’s friends, family and coworkers. Unless I knew someone who has a binder with “Heart Hugh Hewitt” scribbled all over it, I don’t think I could recommend this book to others.
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]

Are you a Hugh Hewitt fan? Interested in reading this book, even with my less-than-glowing review? Share below!