The Happy Human
Being Real in an Artificially Intelligent World
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Happiness is a multimillion-dollar industry, catering to our deep desire to live a joyful life and to a belief that, as human beings, we deserve to achieve that state. Gopi Kallayil believes in reversing that equation: He holds that what we truly deserve is to be human, and the key to happiness lies in being 100 percent who we are, reveling in and expressing our authentic selves. While he credits his yoga and meditation practices for his deep sense of joy, he also credits these practices for providing him with the confidence to embrace the human experience fully: going for it, full out, even if—maybe especially if—that means falling on his face. And he has. Many times. But he’s also had great success, both in his personal life and in his professional career in the high-tech industry.
This book explores the qualities that make us human and have helped to make Gopi successful and happy in both his personal and his professional life. Told with Gopi’s humor, deep compassion, and love of the absurd, The Happy Human spans the period from his first job after graduate school as a software programmer in South China to his current position as an executive at Google in Silicon Valley. Each chapter captures an event in Gopi’s life where he exhibited his willingness to express himself from a place of confidence and deep focus: Singing live at Burning Man, even though he admittedly sings off-key and was terrified. Participating in a triathlon, which involved swimming in the San Francisco Bay, when he had only swum in a pool, always within four feet of something to hold on to. (Lifeguards pulled him out of the water and into their boat to save him from drowning.) Speaking at Toastmasters International, having just arrived from South Asia with no job and $7,000 to his name—and being willing to be awful, which he admittedly was—before finally, years later, becoming one of their top speakers. He also weaves in accounts of others who have dreamed big and acted on their dreams. Gopi’s stories and practices will help readers find happiness by embracing not only themselves but the entire human experience, inspiring them to fall down and get right back up, to go for what they want on every front, to live life full out.