3D of Happiness covers a personal and scientific journey of searching for happiness through pleasure, meaning, and spirituality. It is the story of a former shepherd, Necati Aydin, who was at the bottom 1% of the world’s population, living in complete poverty and deprivation. He managed to acquire two PhDs and climbed to the top 1% in terms of possessions and position. Nonetheless, he failed to achieve happiness along the way.
In 3D of Happiness, the author shares his journey of having, doing, being, and loving which turned out to be a vicious cycle of deprivation, emulation, accomplishment, and disappointment. Inside, he shares a powerful message through the story of a youth who lived in poverty and only tasted a banana for the first time while attending college but lost the pleasure of this taste when he was able to purchase whatever he desired. Ultimately, he reveals his success in finally discovering three dimensions of happiness through a converging path of science, philosophy, and spirituality.
Through the personal and academic journey, the author came to the realization that we fail to find happiness because we are provided the wrong navigation device. Free market capitalism urges us to search for happiness through pursuing more possession, experience, and position. We work day and night to reach happiness. With every success of having, doing, being, and loving, we think we are almost there. Then, we soon realize we are not there yet. The consumption compass will point to another target for us to reach happiness. Every time, we set a goal to achieve happiness by having, doing, being, or loving, we end up realizing we need to do even more. This is what he calls the “DEAD loop” which consists of Deprivation, Emulation, Achievement, and Disappointment.
3D of Happiness consists of four parts. In the first part, the author shares his journey within the pleasure (hedonic) dimension of happiness. The first part ends with a confession of being very successful with having, doing, being, and loving, but failing to find happiness in them along with the discussion of scientific research on hedonic happiness. The second part covers the meaning (eudemonic) dimension of happiness. It begins with Aristotle’s search for eudemonic happiness through meaningful and flourishing life. Then, it covers the author’s journey of searching happiness through meaning. It ends with the scientific research on the meaning dimension. The third part includes the confession of not finding happiness through both pleasure and meaning dimensions. It covers the failed promised paradise of the free-market capitalism. It presents data on how “American dream” turns to nightmare for many people. It ends with Nietzsche’s nihilism which defines the ultimate outcome of life as the infinite nothing. The fourth part includes the author’s journey of spiritual (G-donic) dimension of happiness. It begins with the very definition of G-donic dimension along with its underlying principles. Then, it covers the author’s own journey of searching happiness through spirituality. It also discusses Tolstoy’s journey of finding happiness through faith.
In short, the book shows that the failure in finding happiness in modern times is largely due to the mistake of limiting the search for happiness to the pleasure (hedonic) dimension. As we delve into the meaning and spiritual dimensions of happiness, we are likely to increase our level of happiness.