“Preaching Happiness is an important voice in our quest for a more joyful and just world. Ginny Sassaman’s down-to-earth wisdom both elevates and elates.” —Tal Ben-Shahar, Brooklyn, NY, best-selling author and lecturer on the science of happiness
Book cover art by Mary Hill
I am thrilled to announce that my book, Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just and Joyful World, will be published on July 28, 2020 by Rootstock Publishing of Montpelier, Vermont.
This book comes straight from my head, heart, and soul: a collection of 16 secular sermons on the urgent need to cultivate personal well-being for both self and collective thriving. Individual happiness and public policies and systems are intimately connected — each affects the other, and both could be a great deal more positive! When you consider income inequality, species extinction, climate change, etc., it’s obvious that we all need a much more just and joyful path forward. Preaching Happiness lays out both the problems and some of the solutions — relying on the amazing expertise, research, and social observations of many wonderful women and men, and interwoven with my own stories as I strive to live the happiest life possible, for myself and all others on this planet.
You can order the book here.
Topics range from beauty to the need for an alternative economic framework, from kindness to social comparison, from lifelong learning to happiness skills for activists. Each chapter was originally delivered from a pulpit, where I tried to be caring, funny, inclusive, enlightening, poignant, provocative, and inspiring.
Since delivering my first lay sermon in 2013, I’ve come to believe that nobody likes to be preached to — unless, that is exactly what they are there for. When I look out at a congregation on a Sunday morning, I believe everyone has open minds and hearts is hoping for something from me — new information, connection, inspiration, an aha moment, a moment of beauty, of community.
That is what I hope readers find as well, as we all do our best to create a more just and joyful world.
Here’s what others have to say about this book:
— “When I hear the word ‘sermon”‘I think of serious, solemn words. But Ginny Sassaman’s sermons are nothing of the sort: they are entertaining, and easily draw you into the subject, which she has studied in depth. They tell us something we probably do not know about the one experience we all long for, the Holy Grail of Holy Grails: happiness. When you read this book expect the unexpected, and be ready for ideas that will change you and lead you closer to the fulfilment you are thirsty for.” – Piero Ferrucci, Turin, Italy, author of Beauty and the Soul, The Extraordinary Power of Everyday Beauty to Heal Your Life and The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits Of Leading A Compassionate Life
— “In clear and no uncertain terms Ginny Sassaman lays out for us the significant and uplifting reasons we all ought to be investing in happiness while building the internal life of goodness we all seek to find inside the temples of our living. With each sermon she reminds us indeed that neither happiness, nor goodness, nor meaning are spectator sports. They require the commitment of our entire being, soul, body, mind, heart and all. Her words are all the more powerful as she herself models the opening of her very living to the cultivation of these desired states and never on behalf of herself solely; always on behalf of the larger worlds to which we each belong. We are guided here toward reflection that is life-giving and action that is healing; there is no higher calling for a minister in my book.” Maria Sirois, Lenoix, MA, author of A Short Course in Happiness After Loss (and Other Dark, Difficult Times)
— “Ginny Sassaman knows happiness! As a co-founder of Gross National HappinessUSA and a participant in the national “Happiness Walk,” she’s been studying the subject for many years. Her approach in these marvelous sermons is both personal and social–she knows we need to change both our behaviors and some of the policies that are wreaking havoc on our planet while actually making us less happy. She doesn’t shy away from the tougher questions. I especially like her sermon on Beauty, an issue of quality of life that has been too often ignored in happiness research, surveys and action. But I found great value in all of them and I think you, dear reader, will too. Don’t miss this book!” –John de Graaf, filmmaker co-founder of The Happiness Alliance, founder of And Beauty For All, and co-author of the best-selling Affluenza: the All-Consuming Epidemic
“If you love animals, including the human kind, then it will do your heart good to read Ginny’s collected sermons.They poignantly remind us that that we are all just trying to make our way in the world, that we are all connected and that our actions influence other people, animals, and the planet. Ginny’s words inspire us, give us food for thought, and provide hope that we may actually be able to find a better, more hopeful, and happier way forward. Together.” —Beth Allgood, US Country Director IFAW, GNHUSA Advisory Board Member, Washington, DC
— “The perfect inspiration for these dystopic times.”- Laurie Forest, Montpelier, Vermont, author of The Black Witch Chronicles
— “Ginny Sassaman is a visionary of good will. Her sermons inspire introspection and hope in a time when we must find ways to hold a strong, kind, loving and patient stance in this rapidly changing world. “ – Kayla Becker, Montpelier, Vermont, NBCTMB, ATMAT, MA
— “Preaching Happiness covers all the aspects of a happy life…Read it and more importantly live it! “ — Braco Pobric, Princeton, NJ, Author of Habits and Happiness: How to Become Happier and Improve Your Life by Changing Your Habits
— “Ginny Sassaman is a true force of nature! Behind her infectious smile and quiet disposition is someone with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom who has an important message for the world to hear. Ginny delivers this message so powerfully, effortlessly and lovingly that one cannot help but listen. Her work touches the heart and inspires action. That’s exactly what the world needs!” — Rania Badreldin, Cairo, Egypt, International Speaker, Happiness Consultant, NLP and Founder & CEO of The Family Hub
— “Ginny has an excellent way of combining the interior and exterior aspects of reality, as well as the practical and spiritual nature of who and what we are as individuals, what we value, and how we should live to create a better reality for ourselves, other people, and our planet. GDP is a woefully inadequate measurement of our country’s well-being. A new system, which considers more than the amount of money changing hands, should be used. Gross National Happiness is a paradigm shift worth understanding and implementing to create a “Just, Joyful World.” – Robert Beezat, Racine, Wisconsin, author of Knowing and Loving: The Keys to Real Happiness
— “Since I’ve known Ginny personally and professionally for over 50 years, I can affirm that she is a ‘reliable narrator’ – someone you can count on to always walk her talk. And such eloquent and urgently needed talk! In these essay-sermons, she points individuals toward more fulfilling lives, and communities towards progress. As a business researcher, I am particularly excited by the potential for well-being measures to bring concord and productivity to the workplace.” –Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin, Editor, The AMA Handbook of Project Management, Fifth Edition(HarperCollins Leadership, 2018), Sylva, North Carolina
— “Preaching Happiness is a book you will find yourself returning to again and again for its wisdom and guidance. Ginny Sassaman speaks to us with humor and passion of life’s most pressing question in this historic moment – How do we thrive together? The sermons presented here artfully combine personal story and social science research to pose new ways of thinking and living. Preaching Happiness will inspire you to engage in everyday practices that promote your own personal growth and fulfillment and to see new possibilities for the world we can create together.” – Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, Minister of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, VT
— “Ginny Sasassam shares several practical lessons on the importance of bringing happiness more fully into our collective consciousness. Through very accessible storytelling, Sassaman speaks to the urgency with which we must create the conditions that support the well-being of people, animals, and the planet. This book serves both as an excellent primer for all who seek to increase their own levels of happiness, as well as a refreshing validation for those who have been steeped in the Gross National Happiness movement for years. It is a collection of sermons every book club should have on their list.” – Paula Francis, co-founder, GNHUSA & chief Happiness Walker (10,000 miles around the United States)
— “Move over Gretchen Rubin. Ginny Sassaman brings at once her unique perspective, some valuable lessons and inspiration. Each sermon is a bite size entry into positive psychology, the happiness movement, and the lovely wonderful world of Ginny Sassaman. Whether you count yourself as religious, spiritual but not religious, or atheist, this book is a fun and worthy read.” -Laura Musikanski, Executive Director Happiness Alliance and co-author The Happiness Policy Handbook, Seattle, WA
— “Ginny Sassaman is a happiness warrior who knows the journey AND walks the journey. Her series of secular sermons offers many paths and insights to develop our own happiness as well as to create a happiness framework for a more just and peaceful world. Actually, the world’s societal and economic paradigms are shifting. People are asking for new ways of living together. Preaching Happiness is a timely, inspiring, and well documented call for action.”— Valerie Freilich, bé Executive Team & World Happiness Fest curator, Paris, France
“Ginny Sassaman’s book, Preaching Happiness; Creating a Just, Joyful World is a gift to us who are her readers. She enables us to envision a world based on the principles of Gross National Happiness, GNH, instead of a world that measures its well-being based on Gross Domestic Product, GDP. Her book is based on her own personal story of how her life has led her to uncovering the truths that she now embraces as a preacher of happiness. Her story is also one of an intellectual who looks deeply into the misguided philosophy underlying a worldview that sees ever greater economic growth as the measurement of all that is good and desirable in this world.” —Alan Parker, Native American attorney, college professor, Vietnam veteran and author of Pathways to Indigenous Nation Sovereignty: A Chronicle of Federal Policy Developments, Olympia, Washington
“Ginny is a very engaging storyteller who relates to people in a very down-to-earth way. She helps listeners and readers understand the scope of happiness as an economic, political, and spiritual strategy. Generally, people react to the word “happiness” as things that are fun, but Ginny is sharing a new understanding of the concept, one that can create a healthier planet and well-being in individuals and society. “ — Sharon Parker, diversity advocate and strategist, Olympia, WA
“Ginny Sassaman is an amazing human being and her commitment to happiness, social and environmental justice is an inspiration for us all. From the moment she begins to speak she invites you into her hopeful and uplifting perspective of how we as individuals can begin to shift our ideas to find true happiness, collectively build a more sustainable and just world and our global connection to all living things. In these challenging times we are living in Ginny’s wisdom is a gift that will keep giving.” — Richard Colombo-Singer-Songwriter, Musician, Teacher, Producer, Community Activist, Bella Musica Song House, Portland, Oregon
— “Ginny Sassaman is the Poster Lady for Happiness In Action. But she’s not about creating escapist fantasies of happiness. She’s a clear-eyed, doing-oriented Love Warrior, who believes in facing the scariest parts of life with a deep breath, patience, compassion, more deep breaths, and the willingness to step up and get her hands dirty and her heart sore in order to make the world a better place to hang out in during our short, sweet lives.” – Kathryn Blume, Creative Climate Activist and Co-Founder of the community climate game Vermontivate! , Charlotte, VT
— “This book is first and foremost practical. These are the kinds of “sermons” with the potential to inform your choices during the work week. Ginny has a way of making it real that you can take into your real world. Read this and be inspired to make better choices for yourself and those you love.” – Dr. Karissa Thacker, founder and president of Strategic Performance Solutions, author of The Art of Authenticity: Tools to Become an Authentic Leader and Your Best Self, Wilmington, DE
“Ginny Sassaman combines her positive psychology knowledge, life experience and enthusiasm for a happier world in a set of beautifully written sermons that invite the reader to reflect on their attitudes, behaviors and decisions towards life, self and others. A must read for anyone who believes a better world is possible and is willing to take action.” – Federico Payro, author of Positive Project Management, Puebla, Mexico.
“Ginny’s sermons are thought-provoking and will reshape the way you perceive happiness. Not only does she skillfully spotlight the attributes that generate happiness within yourself, but she also creates a bridge between personal well-being and broader concepts such as economics and the environment. Her wisdom and personal anecdotes are exquisitely woven together and make it a joy to read.” -Arathi Ramappa, Global Speaker, Executive & Spiritual Coach, and Management Consultant, Miami, Florida