Book Excerpts

Welcome to The Option Institute Reading Library

On this page you will find links to books by best-selling author, Barry Neil Kaufman.

Happiness is a ChoiceHappiness Is A Choice

Happiness Is A Choice represents the cutting edge of Barry Neil Kaufman’s evolving teaching, focusing on empowering our moment of change, the moment in which we can make self-acceptance, inner peace, joy, and love immediately tangible with these easy-to-use tools. Bears (Barry) Neil Kaufman offers a gentle, yet powerful, way to jump through a lengthy “process” of change right into action.

This book takes us step by step on a journey to increase personal power, sharing the same techniques that participants use at The Option Institute. In his work over the years, Bears has observed that people who are most successful in finding happiness share certain traits. He has used these traits to create, in this book six Shortcuts To Happiness that you can begin using immediately.

Happiness Is A Choice is filled with moving and inspiring examples of people taking roadways you too could follow – mapped by those who have chosen happiness, peace of mind, and love as a way of life. Many of these people used the tools presented in this book to heal troubled relationships, to revitalize stagnant careers, to deal with sickness or stress, or to infuse new vigor into their lives.

This book will change your life. A book to cherish and to share…a book that will ignite the healing process.

Chapter Segments

Personal Note

Creating a Vision to Live By

The Way We Look at Life Determines Our Experience

We Are Belief-Making and Belief-Consuming Creatures

Reader’s Letters

Happiness Is A Choice: The Little Book That Could

“It all started with a little book that could. I have been given this book titled HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE a few weeks ago. I looked at the title and thought to myself: “really…tell me something I don’t know” (I also made this weird gesture with my mouth which I made when in serious doubt). This is how my wonderful journey with my own happiness and The Option Institute began. With that doubtful gesture and that little book that could.

Already after a few pages I fell in Love, yes, Love at first sight exists! Each and every page made so much sense to me it was as if the words were written just for me. I felt special, loved and accepted to such a point that when I finished the book I knew that my journey had only begun. I immediately signed up for the Calm Amid Chaos seminar and the next day was on a train towards The Option Institute and towards my biggest decision making yet.

In the week I was there, I met and loved beautiful people from all colors of the rainbow. I allowed myself to let go of old believes (the knife is gone!!!), I allowed myself to cry, smile, laugh. I was a student, student of life. I witnessed firsthand that unconditional love really exists – if I choose to see that it exists. The most important thing I took with me home are my new grid goggles. When I choose to put them on, I see love, I see peace, I see my life with so much happiness. Come whatever may, I know it will be great – it is great!!!!!

I want to give thanks, to that little book that could, to the author (Bears – Barry Neil Kaufman) who’s smile and words are just a gift to the universe, to the most wonderful teachers who care in the most honest manner, to my personal rainbow of people who enriched my life and to myself for always choosing the right path for me!”


~Keren Rosenboim, New Jersey

“Dear Bears,
I am sure you get to hear the words ‘thank you’ quite often. Well, this is one to add to your wall of positive, happy, loving thank you’s!

I was given Happiness Is A Choice for my high school graduation back in 2002. I didn’t open it up until a few years later, when I was at my unhappiest. Your book became my… bible. It helped me survive Crown Heights Brooklyn, several deaths, break-ups, melt downs, etc. In effect it saved my life. It became my belief maker. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We are all truly blessed in this amazing world.”

~Celeste Roeller

“Hi Bears, I just wanted to drop by your wall and let you know how grateful I am for your book ‘Happiness is a choice’. I am reading it every night last thing and stopping everytime that I find a golden nugget to meditate on. I rarely read more than a page before I stop as each page has something thought provoking and helpful to say whether my day has been challenging or smooth. Thank you so much for this little but wonderful book, it is such a blessing for me. Love always Alison ♥”

~Alison Sharpe Taylor


stepsGiant Steps

Here are the stories of young people at critical turning points in their lives. Here also is the story of the man who neither judges them nor censures them, but simply accepts them and, ultimately, helps them to make their own choices.

Children are born from us; they are not owned by us. They are not possessions. The fact that they are little does not mean they are less. They are free spirits for us to love and enjoy. For all of us, children can be a beautiful experience … doorways into our own humanity.

Chapter Segments


Chapter One


TOBEHAPPYWITH copy 2To Love Is To Be Happy With

This best-selling book, which details the principles and applications of The Option Process, has become an indispensable personal manual for hundreds of thousands of people who want a more loving and life-affirming basis by which to guide their lives. It has also become a teaching text, along with Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues and A Miracle to Believe In, in over 250 universities.

The Option Process is a very simple, beautiful, accepting, and non-judgmental dialogue method and attitude. Through the fascinating and intimate stories of the author and those with whom he shares theOption Philosophy, we read the awe-inspiring stories of people who come to trust themselves and experience themselves as their own best experts.

In each chapter, Barry Neil Kaufman shows us how to apply those very same principles in our everyday lives dealing frankly with love relationships, guilt, self-trust, children, questions of health, sex, and money.

The Option Process, based on the attitude that to love is to be happy with, is an extraordinary way to discard self-defeating beliefs and to clarify doubts that have for years inhibited our personal and professional success.

“I read your books when they first came out, and I believe they have shaped parts of my life forever. I am healed and strengthened by the concept of ” To Love is to be happy with.” Thank you. “

~Victoria Thurmond

Chapter Segments

PrologueChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3
Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7
Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11


power dialoguesPower Dialogues

Many of us travel through our lives learning about many different philosophical, psychological, religious and spiritual paths in order to create a sense of clarity, comfort and understanding about our lives and the world around us. Some call this the search for knowledge. Some view such pursuits as the inevitable outcome of the human preoccupation with sanity and justice. Others believe we all really search for God. No matter what the rationale, we have a yearning for connection, communion and inner peace. Oftentimes, our sincere efforts, molded by the modern fad of going from discipline to discipline, keeping our options open, never quite committing, leave us empty-handed. There can be many roads to heaven, many avenues to clarity, many routes to peace of mind and many byways to love. However, we must travel far enough on one of those paths to reach such destinations. We believe the path outlined in this book is one of those paths that really delivers.

Chapter Segments

Chapter Summaries


NoRegrets copy 2No Regrets

Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award. No Regrets is an intimate memoir of an extraordinary reconciliation between a father and son. This remarkable true story explores the fear that can rip families to shreds, as well as the courage and love that can bring them back together exemplifying the Option Process® in action.

Kaufman and his father had a rift between them the size of the Great Divide. Kaufman’s father, Abe, considered him the black sheep of the family and rejected his son’s philosophy and teachings. When Abe called saying he had twenty-seven malignant tumors in his abdomen and groin, Kaufman responded with excitement, “Sounds like you’re about to have one of the great adventures of your life, Pop!” There was silence at the other end of the phone, until he heard his dad say to his mom, “See? That’s why we called him. Listen to what he just said!”

Barry Neil Kaufman’s response typifies his attitudinal perspective. An outrageous, “out-of-the-box” optimist, he helped his father live more fully in his final two years of life than Abe had in his previous eighty-three years. It’s the same attitudinal perspective Kaufman had used to help his own son recover from autism, nearly twenty-five years earlier.

The life-affirming principles that are woven throughout No Regrets have been taught to thousands of people at The Option Institute since it was founded by Barry Neil Kaufman in 1983.

Chapter Segments


futureFuture Sight

If you’ve ever ignored your own “visions” or intuition, this book may very well change your mind. After you’ve read this book, you’ll think twice before you dismiss your next dream, hunch or premonition.

Peter and Jamie had everything — a loving marriage, a beautiful baby, and a successful business. Then, suddenly, with life at its fullest, Peter is haunted by a frightening premonition — the sense of a violent tragedy awaiting his young family. With growing surprise, he discovers that his own unspoken fears match his wife’s recurring nightmare. Caught in the shadow of their “FutureSight,” the only lifeline for Peter and Jamie is the whispering voice from within.

Barry Neil Kaufman has created a compelling tale based on the experiences that changed his life — and may change yours — forever.

Chapter Segments



karmaOutsmarting Your Karma

Sometimes it is the simplest thought that allows us to cut through the clutter of confusion and, in a moment of time, reframe our beliefs and worldviews. The reflections and insights in Out-Smarting Your Karma and Other PreOrdained Conditions are offered in the hope that they may gently and playfully tickle your mind to question your “reality” … and inspire you to recreate your thoughts (and, therefore, your life) so that everyday experiences become more sensible, friendly, fulfilling and empowering.

This book by best-selling author Barry Neil Kaufman (Happiness Is A Choice and Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues) was published in October 1996. Twenty-six pages from the book have been posted here on this web site for your perusal and enjoyment!

So take a “break” and have a mental snack on us… you’re sure to come back for more! Just click on any of the links below to preview sample pages from Out-Smarting Your Karma and Other PreOrdained Conditions.



MiracleContinues copy 2Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues

In 1979, the classic best-seller Son-Rise was made into an award-winning NBC television special, which has been viewed by 300 million people worldwide. Now, Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues presents not only the expanded and updated journal of Barry and Samahria Kaufman’s successful effort to reach their “unreachable” autistic child, but goes beyond to include a sensitive portrayal of how that singular event has become a world-wide phenomenon.

Part one of Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues is the astonishing and poignant record of Raun Kaufman’s development from a lifeless, non-communicative child into an active, loving, and verbal boy. When he was a year old, Raun began to withdraw from human contact. Oblivious to his surroundings, he appeared deaf and blind, staring silently for hours, examining his fingers, and rocking endlessly.

The experts offered little hope and as the Kaufmans watched their son slipping further and further into his impenetrable shell, they sensed time was critical. They decided to act on their own – crossing a bridge into uncharted territory in what became the adventure of their lives. When the Kaufmans completed their program based on love and total acceptance, their son showed no traces of his former condition.

Part two tells of Raun’s development after age four. His accomplishments surprise us and teach us much about love and limitless possibilities.

Part three delivers deeply moving accounts of five other ordinary families who become extraordinary when they refuse to be daunted, refuse to stop loving, and, guided by the Kaufmans, use the Son-Rise Program® to reach their own “unreachable” children.

Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues is an awe-inspiring reminder that love made tangible can move mountains.

Chapter Segments

Foreword by Raun Kaufman

Letter To Reader

Chapter 6


miracleA Miracle to Believe In

A group of people from all walks of life come together and are transformed as they reach out, under the direction of the Kaufmans, to help a little boy the medical world had given up as hopeless. This heartwarming journey of loving a child back to life will not only inspire you, the reader, but presents a compelling new way to deal with life’s traumas and difficulties.

Chapter Segments

PrologueChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9
Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14
Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17Chapter 18Chapter 19
Chapter 20Chapter 21Chapter 22Chapter 23Chapter 24
Chapter 25

Contact Us

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Or send us a message or question and we will get back to you as soon as we can.



The Option Institute and its teachers have had the honor to present programs (during the last four decades) that explore the attitudes and beliefs we have (and may want to change) and to help program participants find their own answers to questions about relationships, careers, family challenges and health issues. Our new program, Health & Healing: Navigating Life’s Health Challenges (formerly '5 Days to Live') , focuses on navigating significant health challenges and decision-making with greater ease, clarity, and clear purpose.

We are not a medical facility and we do not dispense any medical advice. We have and would always guide our program participants, to consult with their doctors, healthcare providers, and family members in making medical decisions for themselves and those they love. Neither Mass General Hospital nor any member of its medical staff endorses any program being offered by the Option Institute and its teachers.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration



PRE-REQUISITES for attending Advanced Power Dialogues are:

  • Completion of The Option Institute’s PowerDialogues program.
  • If it’s been more than 5 years since you attended PowerDialogues, please call 413-229-2100 to discuss options.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar