Happiness: Lessons from a New Science

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Penguin, Jun 27, 2006 - Psychology - 320 pages
3 Reviews
There is a paradox at the heart of our lives. We all want more money, but as societies become richer, they do not become happier. This is not speculation: It's the story told by countless pieces of scientific research. We now have sophisticated ways of measuring how happy people are, and all the evidence shows that on average people have grown no happier in the last fifty years, even as average incomes have more than doubled.

The central question the great economist Richard Layard asks in Happiness is this: If we really wanted to be happier, what would we do differently? First we'd have to see clearly what conditions generate happiness and then bend all our efforts toward producing them. That is what this book is about-the causes of happiness and the means we have to effect it.

Until recently there was too little evidence to give a good answer to this essential question, but, Layard shows us, thanks to the integrated insights of psychology, sociology, applied economics, and other fields, we can now reach some firm conclusions, conclusions that will surprise you. Happiness is an illuminating road map, grounded in hard research, to a better, happier life for us all.

 

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User Review  - flydodofly - LibraryThing

In life, it is important to always refocus, reconsider the motivation, the options and especially the goals. The suggestion in "Happiness" is the obvious one - rethink the reasons behind the decisions ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sillysampi - LibraryThing

This is an interesting way to study happiness through the lense of economics; especially socialism. It asks us to reconsider the meaning of "enough" in terms of wealth. Some people who are very much ... Read full review

Contents

Taxing Pollution
Taxing Addiction
Respect
PerformanceRelated Pay
Advertising
Compete or Cooperate?
RiskTaking
The Fallacy of Competitiveness

Qualities of Happiness
Happiness Improves Your Health
The Function of Happiness
Testing the Facts
Depression and Crime
Social Comparison
The Hedonic Treadmill
WorkLife Balance
Inequality
Our Genes
Our Family Upbringing
Adult Life
Our Goals
Adverse Trends
Gender Roles
Television
Moral and Spiritual Values
The Dilemma
Punishment
Reputation
The Sense of Fairness
Commitment
Tribalism
The Social Good
Private Ethics
Objections
An Overarching Principle
Voluntary Exchange
CostBenefit Analysis
A Sorry Tale
Inequality
External Effects
Forming Our Values
LossAversion
Inconsistent Behaviour
Where Next?
The Race for Status
Income
Work
Family Life
Community
Health of Mind
Buddhism
The Mystical Tradition
Cognitive Therapy
Positive Psychology
Education of the Spirit
The Placebo Effect
Traditional Drugs
Disorders of the Mind
Drugs for the Mind
How Drugs Work
Prozac Nation?
Killing Creativity?
Happiness Matters
Sources of Happiness
Verdict on Economics
Taking Happiness Seriously
Conclusion
WHATS THE PROBLEM?
ARE WE GETTING HAPPIER?
IF YOYRE SO RICH WHY ARENT YOY HAPPY?
SO WHAT DOES MAKE YS HAPPY?
WHATS GOING WRONG?
CAN WE PYRSYE A COMMON GOOD?
THE GREATEST HAPPINESS IS THAT THE GOAL?
DOES ECONOMICS HAVE A CLYE?
HOW CAN WE TAME THE RAT RACE?
CAN WE AFFORD TO BE SECYRE?
CAN MIND CONTROL MOOD?
DO DRYGS HELP?
CONCLYSIONS FOR TODAYS WORLD
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About the author (2006)

Richard Layard is one of Britain's best-known economists and a leading world expert on unemployment and inequality. He runs Europe's leading economics research center within the London School of Economics. He worked for the British government as an economic adviser from 1997 to 2001, and in 2000 he became a member of the House of Lords. He is the author of a number of academic books.

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