Practical Happiness: A Young Man’s Guide to a Contented Life. Bob Schultz. Eugene, OR: Great Expectations Book Co, 2008 223 pp.
Can you name one dozen reasons to be happy? In Practical Happiness, Bob Schultz gives three dozen compelling reasons to get out of the emotional doldrums and into the trade winds of productive living. From Solomon, to Aesop, to Schultz, lessons stick when taught as bite-sized stories.
Schultz was husband of one, father of three, laborer, employer, contractor, coach, but ever a student. Bob spent 40 years observing people and cataloged his observations in 57 journals. For fifteen years, Bob seriously observed the things that make men happy. For your convenience, the highlights of fifteen years have been condensed into 36 short chapters. Like Solomon, Schultz drew great lessons even from bad experiences. Like Aesop, he relates each lesson simply and directly.
The back cover summarizes it well, “True happiness is not found in money, power, or fame. It is a precious gift from God, available to all who learn to hear His voice and obey His call.” True happiness is found in your attitude and response to life – especially during the trying times.
Solomon writes from the pinnacle of success, Aesop from the station of slave, and Schultz from the position of “Everyman”. His target audience, “everyman”, is neither at the top, nor on the bottom, but is the vast majority of us somewhere in between. Schultz does not hold happiness out as a distant goal to be reached after prerequisites are met, instead he makes happiness a present responsibility.
This title helped me, a young man who looks forward to serving a wife and raising children, to realize my role in setting the atmosphere for my home. Not only is intentional happiness a duty, it is a privilege and a ministry. Each short chapter begins with a gem of a quote and concludes with an appropriate bible verse and discussion questions. Schultz’s bold inclusions of lessons from his own shortcomings gives a decidedly self-deprecating tone which is both heart-warming and convincing. Practical Happiness, the third Bob Schultz book, follows Boyhood and Beyond and Created for Work. Throughout his writing, Bob pulls insights from sources as diverse as a spider’s web, a marauding bobcat, comments of the Apostle Paul, and contemporary psychology together into a cohesive and credible lesson.
In Practical Happiness, I found fresh and lasting inspiration to be diligent, take responsibility, and practice contentment. You will too.