This past Tuesday, May 24, I had the wonderful fortune of listening to Neil Pasricha speak at the Toronto Reference Library. Most people know Pasricha from his bestseller, The Book of Awesome, but I was most excited to hear him talk about his latest book, The Happiness Equation (check out my review). This new book really hit home for me at a time when I needed it most, and I couldn’t wait to hear Pasricha talk more about what you can do to maintain a feeling of happiness in your life.
Pasricha discussed a lot of ideas that were in his book and applied them to audience questions, which only helped to validate his research and opinions on the topic. A lot of people in the crowd were nodding along intently and even taking notes. Besides his clear knowledge and passion on the subject, listening to him talk was just a wonderful treat, because he was such a kind and down-to-earth person who raved about being in constant awe of the world and the amazement of meeting a new person and experiencing any simple moment together – a viewpoint which I tend to share.
But for me, the thing that I loved hearing the most (and maybe this is a little twisted to say), was the fact that Pasricha ended up writing The Book of Awesome to help get himself through a very rough time in his life. The fact that he was so open about why he needed to find the awesome in the world was really touching and it definitely related to why I picked up The Happiness Equation in the first place.
His honesty also opened up the door to some very personal questions from the audience, who were clearly inspired by his bravery and optimism, which was quite emotional.
Getting a chance to speak with Neil after the Q&A was super awesome. He shook hands and introduced himself to each person in line. When it was my turn, we talked about book blogging and reading slumps, at which point he highlighted a section of his acknowledgements where he lists some favourite authors and artists, if I need some reading inspiration. I also mentioned how this book picked me up when I was in a low place, and how I tell everyone about the story of Buddha that helped me so much (again, mentioned in my review).
Overall, it was such a wonderful night, and there is no doubt that I left the library feeling very, very happy.