Why Be Happy?

The Japanese Way of Acceptance


By Scott Haas

Read by Gary Furlong

Formats and Prices



  1. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
  2. ebook $12.99 $16.99 CAD
  3. Hardcover $24.00 $30.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around July 7, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

This beautiful and practical guide to ukeireru, the Japanese principle of acceptance, offers a path to well-being and satisfaction for the anxious and exhausted.

Looking for greater peace and satisfaction? Look no further than the Japanese concept of ukeireru, or acceptance. Psychologist Scott Haas offers an elegant, practical, and life-changing look at ways we can reduce anxiety and stress and increase overall well-being. By learning and practicing ukeireru, you can:
  • Profoundly improve your relationships, with a greater focus on listening, finding commonalities, and intuiting
  • Find calm in ritualizing things such as making coffee, drinking tea, and even having a cocktail
  • Embrace the importance of baths and naps
  • Show respect for self and others, which has a remarkably calming effect on everyone
  • Learn to listen more than you talk
  • Tidy up your life by downsizing experiences and relationships that offer more stress than solace
  • Cultivate practical ways of dealing with anger, fear, and arguments — the daily tensions that take up so much of our lives
By practicing acceptance, we learn to pause, take in the situation, and then deciding on a course of action that reframes things. Why Be Happy? Discover a place of contentment and peace in this harried world.


  • "Respect, flexibility, and the inspiration to articulate core values are the key elements to understanding different cultures. With these three approaches, Why Be Happy? describes quite eloquently the values that Japanese people want to hand to the next generation."
    Yoji Yamakuse, author of Japaneseness
  • "Scott Haas describes dualism of life in Japan perfectly. He allows the reader to view the culture through his experiences as the Japanese simultaneously strive for perfection or imperfection, depending on whether you view it (the culture) from a western or Japanese standpoint. I highly recommend Why Be Happy? to anybody who's interested in learning about Japan. Omedetoo gozaimasu!"
    Kenny Garrett, Grammy Award-winning jazz musician
  • "Why be Happy? is a fascinating, suggestive contemplation, filtered through experiences in Japan, of the happiness perplex in America. Haas perceives the basic elements of contentment in Japan as acceptance and empathy and asks if these aren't more satisfyingly found in the connections between people than in the isolated (American) individual."
    Merry White, PhD, Professor of Anthropology, Boston University
  • "Scott Haas has written a valuable book that is enormously helpful for integrating our Western approach with Japanese practices for stress reduction. Both anecdotal and grounded in research, the book is extremely pragmatic. By focusing on Japanese methods to reduce stress, he then suggests that the subsequent calm can enable people to better address the systemic and institutional causes of their stress."
    Robert B. Saper, MD, Director of Integrative Medicine, Boston Medical Center
  • "Scott Haas understands that Japanese cuisine reflects culture and history; he takes us behind the scenes and shows how the food is a sure way to appreciate Japan."
    Shinichiro Takagi, owner and chef at Relais & Chateaux, two Michelin star restaurant Zeniya in Kanazawa, Japan
  • "Scott Haas's insightful and engrossing exploration into the Japanese way of acceptance is a road map to a more meaningful life. This wonderful book excites with food for thought that is sumptuous, savory, and nuanced."
    Drew Nieporent, Restaurateur: Nobu, Tribeca Grill, Bâtard
  • "Scott Haas asks a very philosophical question, and he is really interesting and deep. Every time you open a page, you'll be amazed."
    Kenichiro Ooe, former chef at Kozue, Park Hyatt Tokyo, featured in Lost in Translation

On Sale
Jul 7, 2020
Hachette Audio

Scott Haas

About the Author

Scott Haas is a writer and clinical psychologist and the author of four books. The winner of a James Beard award for his on-air broadcasts on NPR’s Here and Now, he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Detroit and he did his doctoral internship at Massachusetts Mental Health Center, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. He works in Japan three to four times each year. He is based in Cambridge, MA.

Learn more about this author