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“The information here will undoubtedly move readers toward a more abundant, satisfying life.” Library Journal


Embracing All Your Feelings to Create a Life You Love

By Randy Taran


Highly successful people are expected to have social skills, emotional literacy, as well as the capacity to handle whatever comes their way. Sounds good, but in most cultures, people are not given an instruction manual. Author Randy Taran’s new book, EMOTIONAL ADVANTAGE: Embracing All Your Feelings to Create a Life You Love (St. Martin’s Essentials; on sale June 4, 2019; $26.99), is the guide that people have been missing.

As founder and CEO of Project Happiness, Taran has been obsessed with happiness and the science-based strategies to create more of it. Lately, she noticed that the Project Happiness audience has been asking different questions, specifically how to deal with the so-called negative emotions, the ones we’d often rather avoid. EMOTIONAL ADVANTAGE provides insights into the lessons negative emotions have to offer, ways to amplify positive states, and eminently doable action steps to take so that readers can experience transformation immediately and take control of their own emotional lives in the process.

EMOTIONAL ADVANTAGE presents the skillset for interpreting and navigating the full spectrum of emotions:

  • Fear is your best friend Fear can provide the focus to help you collect yourself, harness your energy, and make your next move. The challenge is honoring your instinct rather than squashing it.
  • If you think you are addicted to love, you are Biological anthropologists have found our brain circuitry for romantic love follows the same neural pathways as addiction. So quite literally, we are designed to be “addicted to love.”
  • Passion vs. obsession: The one differentiator you need to know There are two kinds of passion – harmonious passion or obsessive passion. Only one is healthy. 
  • Bad feelings are actually good So-called “bad feelings” (like fear, anger, guilt) are messengers of valuable information trying their best to tell us something is off.
  • Keeping it all together can set you up to explode We all hear the message – keep calm and carry on. But if that comes at the price of denying authentic feelings it becomes harmful. 
  • The upside of anger: When it is actually a good thing Anger is telling you that something is not right: and is a potent energy and a useful one if we learn to identify it and use it skillfully.

The skillset for navigating the full spectrum of emotions is rarely taught or even addressed.  We do learn about other subjects, of course: such as math, reading, writing, science, and in progressive schools, we’re now seeing coding. But what is the code for inner confidence, what is the program for creating healthy relationships, and what is the strategy for handling, with humor, grace and resilience, everything that’s thrown at us? This book establishes the advantages of working with the full range of emotions, not just the happy parts.

EMOTIONAL ADVANTAGE guides you to the emotional advantage of being aware, skillful and resilient no matter what situation you face.


Randy Taran is the Founder and CEO of the global organization, Project Happiness.  With a loyal following of 2.5 million people, she has been covered in O magazineNPR, and HuffPost.  As the producer of an award-winning documentary on the nature of happiness, she facilitated interviews with George Lucas, Richard Gere, and neuroscientist Richard Davidson. Her bestselling book on happiness became the basis for curriculum in over 120 countries worldwide.  She has worked with First Ladies, Ministers of Education, and major thought leaders. For nearly a decade, she has served as a board member of the Dalai Lama Foundation and is on the board of the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of Happiness. Randy, a master in NLP, is a sought-after international speaker on the topics of happiness habits, preventative wellness, and emotional resilience.

For more information or to set up an interview with Randy Taran, please contact: Sarah Schoof, Publicist; sarah.schoof@stmartins.com or 646-307-5568

EMOTIONAL ADVANTAGE: Embracing All Your Feelings to Create a Life You Love

By Randy Taran

Published by St. Martin’s Essentials | On-Sale: June 4, 2019

Hardcover | 9781250200051 | $26.99

EBook | 9781250200068 | $13.99




Emotional Advantage is a comprehensive guide to emotional wellbeing, providing a multitude of bite-sized tips for how to increase well being drawn from dozens of different psychological approaches.  The unifying and most important message is that all emotions serve an important purpose, and that we need to honor and embrace them all. Highly recommended for anyone wanting a broad overview of ways to increase emotional intelligence.” Kristin Neff, Ph.D, bestselling author of Self-Compassion, co-founder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion  

“Emotions control our lives for better or worse. Research has shown that emotions can have a profound effect on our physiology and ultimately affect our health. For many these effects are negative. What Randy offers through her wonderful book is not only the latest research on emotion but techniques to teach us how to use all of our emotional states to gain better insights about ourselves and by doing so allow us to live our best lives.” James R. Doty, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Into the Magic Shop, founder & director, The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Stanford

“Randy Taran's words are informative and transformative, interesting and enlightening. Reading Emotional Advantage felt like embarking on a journey, at the end of which I felt more deeply connected to myself and to others, better understood and more understanding, lighter as well as happier. Don't just read this book, engage with it! Do the exercises, apply its wisdom, open yourself up to the richness of your emotional life.” Tal Ben-Shahar, New York Times bestselling author of Happier

Emotional Advantage is a clear, easy to understand, journey deep into the emotions, showing how even the most challenging ones can be a wakeup call to living life fully. A fastrack to learning more about yourself and others, this is a book of hope and transformation.” Chade Meng Tan, international bestselling author of Search Inside Yourself and Joy on Demand

“Emotional Advantage is a guidebook to embracing the real version of yourself. If you've ever had to hide your feelings, or if you’ve ever experienced guilt or regret, you'll feel like it's written directly for you.” Chris Guillebeau, author of Side Hustle and The Happiness of Pursuit

“I LOVE THIS BOOK! I'm going to get it for all four of my teenagers and every single one of my clients. Well-researched, soulful, and eminently practical, Emotional Advantage is eye-opening and inspiring. Randy Taran shows us how even the most difficult emotions have upsides: they can be used to guide us towards our best lives. An absolute must-read for anyone seeking inner peace, greater confidence, or unlimited joy.” Christine Carter, Ph.D.,  author of Raising Happiness and The Sweet Spot, Senior Fellow: Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley

Emotional Advantage is not only a guide to managing our emotions but a call to action to work with them to create a better life and a better world.” Tiffany Shlain, Emmy-nominated filmmaker & Founder The Webby Awards & Character Day

Emotional Advantage is such an uplifting answer to our challenging times. In its pages, you will find encouragement, support, and new perspectives. Randy Taran offers an antidote to emotional overwhelm—a powerful way to discover how useful your emotions can be in guiding you towards your best life.” Marci Shimoff, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Happy For No Reason and Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul

“As a long-time fan and supporter of Project Happiness, I was thrilled to get my hands on Randy's new book. I expected a helpful tool for understanding, embracing, and learning from our emotions, and Emotional Advantage didn't disappoint. I wish I had found this book years ago, when I regularly numbed my feelings instead of hearing their valuable messages. With journal challenges and practical tips to take the wisdom off the page, Emotional Advantage could be just what you need to live your best life, using the gift of your emotions as a guide.” Lori Deschene, tinybuddha.com founder, author of Tiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal and other books

Emotional Advantage takes a fresh approach to making sense of our emotions. Randy Taran, in a clear and accessible way, reminds us that life isn’t about avoiding pain; it’s about removing the mental resistance to its inevitability. Even negative emotions are arrows pointing to our evolution. Every emotion has much to reveal when we know how to chart our inner landscape.” Dr. Shefali Tsabary, clinical psychologist and author of The Awakened Family  

“Happiness is an evolving field and Emotional Advantage is the up-to-date dispenser of the latest in research and practices.  Promoting the subtle intersection of enjoyment and purpose, Emotional Advantage engagingly shows how to handle one’s negative emotions and sustain one’s positive emotions. Written in a friendly yet carefully researched manner this book offers clear guidance to a better and more skillful life.” Dr. Fred Luskin, bestselling author of Forgive for Good  

Emotional Advantage is a must-read for everyone: leaders, parents, in fact, all of us who dare to envision new possibilities, to embrace the bright and beautiful, and to skillfully and gently face the inevitable struggles in life with grace and love.  Randy Taran offers us a wise, honest, and well-researched map to true, sustainable and transformative happiness.” Carole Pertofsky, Director of Wellness and Health Promotion Services, Stanford University

“I recommend Randy Taran’s Emotional Advantage to all my colleagues in public office who are working hard to make their communities better.  Emotional Advantage gives all of us better tools to listen deeply, foster more effective understanding, and be tolerant of the diverse nature of the communities we represent. Along with Robert's Rules of Order, this book should be required reading for all elected officials.” Senator Robert M. Hertzberg, Majority Leader, California State Senate


Emotional Advantage illuminates a new path to working with all your emotions to reconnect with your authenticity and create a more fulfilling life. With its simple and accessible strategies, it provides actionable ways to positively impact your life and the lives of those you love.” Emma Seppälä, Ph.D., author of The Happiness Track, Co-Director: Yale Emotional Intelligence Project



Your book is called Emotional Advantage: Embracing All Your Feelings to Create a Life You Love. What was it that made you start to think differently about emotions?

I’d been focusing on happiness, and received so many questions on how to deal with its flipside – the tough emotions, like sadness, fear, and anger. What if instead of hijacking our mind, we could use their messages to create a better life? It turns out we can learn how fear can move us to courage, how guilt can clarify our values, and how anger can help us create healthy boundaries.

What kind of research do you do? Are your findings based on neuroscience?

First, let me say that I am not a researcher – my specialty is curating the best of what’s out there from the psychology, neuroscience, and mindfulness, and translating it into actionable tips and challenges that we all can actually use in everyday life. The science tells us that we can change our brains, that’s well and good...and this book will tell you how.

Everyone at birth is given a spectrum of emotions. Which emotion did you find was the hardest to write on?

Great question – I’d have to say shame was challenging – it’s something we don’t talk about much – it’s deep in the dungeon of our minds. Fear, sadness, and anger were runner ups, and the thing is, they all can help guide us to our best lives IF we know how to work with them.

In your opinion, what is the most common way people deal with difficult feelings?

Two ways – either they let it ALL out, (explode, wail) or keep it all in (stuff the emotions, take things out on yourself instead of others) – denial is pretty popular too. But the thing is, when we suppress what we’re feeling, those feelings can become monsters. When we see them and accept them (hey nobody’s perfect – we’re not supposed to be), we get to work with their information and architect a life we love.

What authors inspired you during the creation of Emotional Advantage?

Oh, so many: Brene Brown, Kristin Neff, Dan Siegel, Rick Hanson, Richie Davidson, Tal Ben Shahar, even Rumi. Marcus Aurelius too; “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Have you incorporated real-life experiences that have happened to you or your loved ones into your book?

That inspired parts of the book certainly – it’s why I started this whole journey in the first place, but I could not have written it if I myself wasn’t looking for answers. What I learned is that making friends with your so-called negative emotions (the shadow side) gives you more awareness, hence more choices, and leads to a better life, period.

Living in Silicon Valley, do you think seeing all the stress people go through at work and in study influenced your interest in mental and emotional wellbeing?

It’s here for sure, and everywhere. It’s in the air we breathe, our addictions to our devices, the pressure to be seen as perfect. 4/10 people in the US self-report as lonely; it’s an epidemic. The WHO has declared depression the greatest cause of disability, even ahead of heart disease, and that’s globally. 1 in 5 people say they deal with Anxiety, even kids. This is a wake-up call for all of us.

In your opinion, what makes the genre of emotions so special?

We have an inner compass inside of ourselves and we’ve forgotten how to use it! And in a culture that values appearance over authenticity, we often ignore the clues our emotions are giving us to help us navigate. It’s easier when life is good, but in complex times like these, we need to be able to work with how we’re feeling, and that does not mean just stuffing it away and pretending that it’s all good. We need emotional literacy to have emotional intelligence, and most people have no clue what their emotions are trying to communicate.

What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about emotional intelligence and will be surprised to learn?

We all like the “good emotions” like happiness, and desire, but what we don’t realize is that even the toughest emotions are sending messages to alert, protect, and fuel us forward. The good news, is that this can be accessed if you know how. I love the quote by Jon-Kabat-Zinn, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”

What was one of the most astounding things you learned about feelings when writing?

I learned that we don’t have to live on alert that our emotions will “take over our life.” When we welcome them, embrace them, and listen to them, they have the power to bring us back to our strongest selves, capable of not only self-love but having wonderful relationships with others, and above all aligned with our true nature.

Have you incorporated any of the tenets of Project Happiness into the book?

Big yes! This book is the natural next step to everything we talk about at Project Happiness – mindful Monday, Gratituesday, Wellness Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday, Freedom Friday, Social Saturday, Soul Sunday – these actually reshape the neural pathways of our brain, but it goes further delving into the science of tougher emotions, and challenging the reader to USE the wisdom of ALL the emotions – yes, even sadness, anxiety, anger and fear – to inform our awareness and choices. The result: we are not a victim of circumstances – we regain the power to create a life we love.

Without giving too much away, what vital resources are you giving your readers?

Every chapter has tips and strategies, both reflection and challenge questions to meet you where you are and inspire you towards creating your better life. Let me say one thing – this book is NOT about being happy all the time: A – that is impossible and B – it’s the fastest way to become UNhappy! Happiness is not the absence of obstacles; it’s an inner reservoir that helps us handle whatever comes our way.

What does literary success look like to you?

This is all about giving people proven tools to take charge of their emotions and their life. My dream is that this book reaches people everywhere, give it to good friends, family members, people who need a little boost, and it will shift not only their life, but the lives of those around them. Emotions (from anger to joy) are all contagious – our energy enters the room before we do – what do we want to spread? Success to me is about spreading love, confidence and the knowledge that you are in charge of your own life.

In a culture that tells us to push down our emotions and worries in order to work harder, how important to you is it that people are able to deal with difficult feelings without becoming overwhelmed?

Incredibly important – when people get overwhelmed, they either fight, go into flight or get paralyzed and freeze. Our emotions are telling us when to recalibrate, when to course correct, and when to take a break. The idea of crushing it, killing it, and dominating leaves no room for self-awareness and self-care – it’s antiquated – people may rally in the short run, but we’re seeing more anxiety, burnout and depression than any society before us. The message is clear: pure grit is not enough. With self-compassion, people are more resilient, more productive and simply have better lives.

Of all the “good” emotions you wrote about, which one do you think readers will enjoy the most, and why?

I think desire is a cool chapter: it looks at the nature of desire, how it is different from hope or expectation, why it is misunderstood, the two types of passion to watch out for, and what to do if it gets extreme.

Finally, if you had any wishes for your readers, what would they be?

That we all can learn to embrace the power of our emotions, and instead of being hijacked by them, use them as an inner GPS to create the life we love. It is 100% possible and more intuitive than you think. Know that everything you need is inside of you – this is a reminder of how to get back to your true nature, back to your calm, strong and very best self.