Sunday, November 29, 2015

ebook review: the happiness industry

When Jeremy Bentham proposed that government should run “for the greatest benefit of the greatest number,” he posed two problems: what is happiness and how can we measure it? With the rise of positive psychology, freakonimics, behavioural economics, endless TED talks, the happiness manifesto, the Happiness Index, the tyranny of customer service, the emergence of the quantified self movement, we have become a culture obsessed with measuring our supposed satisfaction.
In anecdotes that include the Buddhist monk who lectured the business leaders of the world at Davos, why the Nike Fuel band makes us more worried about our fitness, how parts of our city are being rebuilt in response to scientific studies of oxytocin levels in our brain, and what a survey from Radisson hotels—that proves that 62% of us believe that well-being is a luxury worth more than work or a good relationship—really tells us about the way we measure ourselves, and continually find ourselves wanting.
The pursuit of happiness only makes us sad—and the rise in depression and anxiety proves it.

My Review:

I've been doing really well reviewing my NetGalley books, and this is one of those that I'm doing again, because when I first signed up for NetGalley I was a really bad reviewer. Now I'm trying to be a good one!

The thing about writing nonfiction is that no matter how boring or academic your subject is, you still need a voice to capture someone's attention. If I wanted to read something dry and academic I'd go back to college. Which is really disappointing, because the premise of this book was really enticing and I was excited to read it--until I wasn't. When our computers crashed at work, I read the first page and told my coworkers "oh, this is already boring." The unofficial den mother of the group told me "then stop reading it."
Hopefully the cure for the common cold isn't in this book.

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