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Cheer up, Enda! EU leader sends Taoiseach 'Book of Happiness'

European Council chairman Herman van Rompuy sent the self-help tome to Enda and other world leaders for Christmas.

That's the spirit, Taoiseach.
That's the spirit, Taoiseach.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

YOU MIGHT THINK Enda Kenny has every right to feel a little down these days. But EU leader Herman van Rompuy begs to disagree – he’s sent the Taoiseach The World Book of Happiness for Christmas.

The self-help book, which gathers the work of 100 “researchers of happiness” from around the world, extols the benefits of positive thinking for self-confidence and decision-making.

Van Rompuy, the chairman of the European Council, sent a copy of the book to every world leader including Enda – along with a letter urging them to “make people’s happiness and well-being our political priority for 2012.”

The work may make interesting Christmas reading for the Taoiseach, arriving as it does in the wake of fresh Budget cuts, crumbling Fine Gael support, and with a new EU deal threatening years more austerity for Ireland.

But he shouldn’t let all that get to him. “Positively inclined people see everything in its right proportions,” van Rompuy writes in his accompanying letter.

In words that may resonate with the Taoiseach, he adds that people who think positively perform better, make better decisions, are better in negotiations, and win more trust from other people. Van Rompuy continues:

I know the cynics will immediately dismiss these proposals as naive. But they are not. By addressing men and women who are on a growth path, we all become better and happier people.

The book is the brainchild of Belgian author Leo Bormans. However, Bormans has sounded a note of caution about its positive effects, telling the Sunday Times: “Everybody is looking for happiness. But anybody who says they have the key is a charlatan.”

Van Rompuy is well known for his love of literature. He spends some of his spare time writing haikus – and has even been known to present them at international events:

(Video: HermanVanRompuy)

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Michael Freeman

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