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Journalist Dan Harris Tells Us How to Be Happier


The Music Hall’s Innovation and Leadership Forum and Writers in the Loft series welcome Award-winning ABC News Anchor Dan Harris (Nightline, Good Morning America) on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Harris will discuss his #1 New York Times bestseller,10% HAPPIERHow I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story, the meditation guide for skeptics that has taken the country by storm. (Click title to see full article)

The 7pm event includes an author presentation and moderated Q and A, plus book signing and meet-and-greet. It will be held at the Music Hall Loft at 131 Congress Street, in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Dan Harris has covered wars and presidential campaigns; he’s investigated human traffickers and been chased by wild elephants. But by far his most challenging assignment involved something much more personal: taming the voice in his head. His new book tells the story of an accidental odyssey, one that ranges from the inner sanctum of television news to the bizarre fringes of self-help to the vanguard of neuroscience.


It’s a far cry from the heal-your-life, solve-all-your-problems over-promising of “self-help.” What Harris stumbled upon is practical, doable, and scientifically researched. In10% HAPPIER, Harris tells this story as only a reporter can: through deep research, tough questions, and a healthy dose of humor.

“I came to realize,” writes Harris, “that if you can get past the unfortunate cultural baggage, what you’ll find is that meditation is exercise for your brain. There’s nothing necessarily mystical or spiritual about it; it’s a treadmill for optimizing your mental fitness.”


Part investigation and part immersive journalism, Harris’ personal story, together with scientific research on the benefits of meditation, will leave readers with a simple and potentially life-changing takeaway.


“This is not your run-of-the-mill self-help guide,” says Patricia Lynch, Executive Director of The Music Hall and the evening’s moderator.  “Not only does Harris manage to avoid cliché, he gives us a wildly entertaining read and “how-to” guide that shows how meditation is a simple and practical exercise anyone can benefit from. No matter how much of a skeptic you are, you’ll find yourself wanting to try it. Don’t miss this remarkable evening with one of network television’s best known reporters and star newscasters,” she added.




Working his way from local television to the bright lights of network news, Harris had always believed the restless, relentless, impossible-to-satisfy voice in his head was one of his greatest assets. How else can you climb the ladder in a field like TV news without hand-wringing and hyper-vigilance? For a while, his strategy worked. Harris anchored national broadcasts; he covered wars. Then he made a series of poor decisions in his personal life that culminated in a televised panic attack in front of an audience of millions.

What happened next was completely unforeseen. Through a bizarre series of events involving a disgraced evangelical pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a fateful gift from his wife, Harris discovered something that helped him tame the voice in his head: meditation.


At first, he was deeply suspicious. He had long associated meditation with bearded swamis and unwashed hippies. But after learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using the practice to boost their focus, reduce their addiction to technology, and stop being yanked around by their emotions.


With stacks of books on meditation piled up by his bedside, Harris became a daily meditator, starting with 5 (excruciating) minutes. Before long, he found himself on a ten-day silent meditation retreat, which in a flash, went from the most annoying to the most incredible experience he’d ever had.


But meditation did not transform Harris's life into a parade of rainbows and unicorns. Life’s problems still reared their heads. Could he use meditation to navigate a series of fresh career crises? Is it possible to be "zen" and successful?

Written with candor and a wicked sense of humor, 10% HAPPIER is a spiritual book written for, and by, someone who would otherwise never read a spiritual book. It is both a serious and a seriously funny look at mindfulness and meditation as the next big public health revolution.


DAN HARRIS is co-anchor of ABC News’Nightlineand also co- anchor for the weekend edition ofGood Morning America. Before that, he was the anchor of theSundayedition of World News. He regularly contributes stories on ABC for such shows as 20/20, World News with Diane Sawyer, and GMA. Harris has reported from all over the planet, covering wars in Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, and Iraq; and produced investigative reports in Haiti, Cambodia, and the Congo. He has also spent many years covering America's faith scene, with a focus on evangelicals — who have treated him kindly despite the fact that he is openly agnostic. He has been at ABC News for 13 years, receiving Murrow and Emmy awards for his reporting. Prior to joining ABC, he was in local news in Boston and Maine. He grew up outside of Boston and currently lives with his wife, Bianca, in New York City. This is his first book.


The ticket package for the Innovation and Leadership Forum with Dan Harris presented with Writers in the Loft on Tuesday, June 10, at 7pm is $40. In addition to a reserved seat, the package includes a copy of 10% HAPPIER ($25.95, hardcover), a bar beverage, and book signing meet-and-greet.  Ticket pages are now on sale to Music Hall members.  The event will go on sale to the public on May 21. Packages can be purchased through The Music Hall Box Office, located at 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, over the phone at 603-436-2400 or online at  


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