The book was actually written by Howard Cutler, an American psychiatrist who has done a serios of interviews with the Dalai Lama. This book is the sum of all of the conversations and meetings between the Dalai Lama and Cutler.
The Dali Lama is the religious figure Head of Tibetan Buddhism and the Tibetan Government in exile centered in Dharmsala, India. The Dalai Lama has written many books of his own about his life and traditional life in Tibet; My Land and People (1962), Freedom in Exile (1990), and My Tibet (1990). He also has written many books about the doctrines and practices of Tibetan Buddhism.
Since the Dalai Lama did not write the book you question whether or not the Dalai Lamas Ideas and messages are completely conveyed by Cutler. On that same note Cutler adds a different twist to the book. He helps put things in perspective to the West.
Because the Dali Lama is from the East, sometimes it is hard to grasp exactly what he is saying. He asks the questions that a Westerner would, summarizes Western scientific research that supports points the Dalai Lama makes, and illustrates the Dalai Lama's teachings by examples from his personal life and his practice as a psychiatrist. All of this makes the book pretty easy to understand.
The main theme of the book is simple, how to live a happier life. Thought the Dalai Lama is Buddhist he does a very good job of keeping his themes universal to all beliefs and aspects to life. The book goes from chapter to chapter explaning in plain English how to live a happier life and the steps to reaching happiness.
The book starts out by laying down the Dalai Lama's basic views about happiness and human nature. He states that the...