Book Club: When Happiness is Not Enough, by Chris Skellett.

I’ve read a lot of self-help books. They’re a not-so-secret pleasure of mine and I think they’re entirely under rated. I know a lot of people will march past the self-development section of the bookstore and laugh with scorn at the thought of guided self-improvement, but I’m pretty sure that when no one else is looking they tip-toe back and take a peek. And that’s okay.

It takes guts to admit that areas of your life need improving. So when you’re ready to take the leap, I’ll be waiting with a gold star for you. If you’re not quite there yet, then hear me out. Some self-help books are fluffy, self-indulgent tripe, but some are helpful at helping you pinpoint your erroneous zones with a powerful yet accessible message to get you back on that horse to Awesomeville. When Happiness Is Not Enough is one of the latter.

♥ Pleasure… or satisfaction? Definitely satisfaction!

One of the most important ideas author and psychologist Chris Skellett addresses first, is that we often think of pleasure and satisfaction as interchangeable. Do we take pleasure in our work? I’m sure many people do, but generally, we feel satisfied after a hard day’s work. I feel satisfied after I’ve spent an hour at the gym. But do I feel pleasure whilst I’m pounding the treadmill? Hell no!

Pleasure is short term, satisfaction is long term. And we need an equal balance of both. Even when I was reading the book, I had a goal in mind. Usually when I sit down to read a book, I try to get through 30 pages in one sitting rather than just enjoying the simple act of reading. Crazy, right? It’s much the same with other leisure activities, and I don’t believe I’m alone here. Overachievers will work hard, and play even harder. I really began to wonder if I actually enjoyed my hobbies.

When Happiness Is Not Enough shows you how the Pleasure/Achievement principle can be applied to all areas of your life, from work, to relationships, to family, to how to get the most out of leisure time. With equal emphasis on over-achievers and under-achievers, I found this book best read with small reflective breaks in between chapters to complete activities. If you feel like it’s high time you took your foot off the accelerator (or time to put your foot back on it), give this book a chance.

When Happiness Is Not Enough by Chris Skellett. Available from

Review by Camilla Peffer, Curator of Cunning Copy.

Be well,



  1. Karen says:

    It sounds very interesting, a helpful concept to reflect on your life. Am also a personal development book enthusiast!

  2. Annette @ Wellness WA says:

    What are your favourites Karen? 🙂 x

  3. Karen says:

    I got started really young as my Mum gave me a copy of Louise Hay You Can Heal Your Life which I still dip into today. I’ve recently read and re-read Donald Epstein’s 12 Stages of Healing which is the most brilliant, wise and insightful book I’ve eve read x

  4. Russell says:

    Cooll article. Gotta read more of these types of books myself. Keep the book reviews coming! 😉

  5. Annette @ Wellness WA says:

    Karen that is so lucky that your mum got you onto inspirational books when you were young!

    When I worked at the Inspiration Factory I came across a whole lot of inspiring picture books with positive messages for very young children – school aged children. Imagine how susceptible their brains are at that age to positive messages about body image and self. Very cool stuff.

    The 12 stages of healing one sounds very intriguing, I will have to check it out 🙂

    Russell, I’m glad to hear you liked it!


  6. You can heal your life is an all time favourite. I really recommend anything by Eckart Tolle, and of course Jerry and Esther Hicks. It’s all a bit hippy-dippy, but the general idea is spot on.

  7. Hi Camilla, Chris the author here!Thanks for giving such a generous review of When Happiness is not Enough! I love all the aha’s and insights that spin off the basic concept of the book. Here in NZ everyone hates it when the rugby players leap around kissing each other after a try. The Pleasure Achievement Principle suggests that they are simply expressing the ‘wrong sort of happiness’…they are displaying joyous pleasure in the moment rather than the grim, deeper satisfaction of achievement. They should be jogging back feeling their hearts beating with pride, not soaring with joy! Idiots! I’d love to hear any similar insights from others. Thanks again for your kind words. Chris

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