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Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America - And How We Can Get More of It

Overview


Who are the happiest Americans? Surveys show that religious people think they are happier than secularists, and secularists think they are happier than religious people. Liberals believe they are happier than conservatives, and conservatives disagree. In fact, almost every group thinks it is happier than everyone else. In this provocative new book, Arthur C. Brooks explodes the myths about happiness in America. As he did in the controversial Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate ...
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Overview


Who are the happiest Americans? Surveys show that religious people think they are happier than secularists, and secularists think they are happier than religious people. Liberals believe they are happier than conservatives, and conservatives disagree. In fact, almost every group thinks it is happier than everyone else. In this provocative new book, Arthur C. Brooks explodes the myths about happiness in America. As he did in the controversial Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, Brooks examines vast amounts of evidence and empirical research to uncover the truth about who is happy in America, who is not, and-most important-why. He finds that there is a real “happiness gap” in America today, and it lies disconcertingly close to America’s cultural and political fault lines. The great divide between the happy and the unhappy in America, Brooks shows, is largely due to differences in social and cultural values. The values that bring happiness are faith, charity, hard work, optimism, and individual liberty. Secularism, excessive reliance on the state to solve problems, and an addiction to security all promote unhappiness. What can be done to maximize America’s happiness? Replete with the unconventional wisdom for which Brooks has come to be known, Gross National Happiness offers surprising and illuminating conclusions about how our government can best facilitate Americans in their pursuit of happiness.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Can money buy happiness? Are happier people better citizens? Who are the happiest Americans? Brooks (business & public policy, Syracuse Univ.; Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism) tackles these questions and more in this thought-provoking analysis of happiness on a national and global scale. He explores the culture, demographics, politics, and economics of happiness and reaches some seemingly counterintuitive conclusions. For instance, he delves into whether liberals or conservatives are the more contented group and whether work or leisure contributes most to happiness. And if you think happiness can't be bought, you're wrong, though the exact equation may not be what you had in mind: it's giving, not having, money that contributes most to a sense of well-being. Brooks concludes with some well-grounded advice for our national leaders on what will contribute most to our gross national happiness. Political extremism, for instance, will set us back in this pursuit. A handy appendix provides supporting data from numerous studies as well as the author's own research. This is an enjoyable read that will contribute to the overall happiness of academic and larger public library patrons.
—Carol J. Elsen

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465002788
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/21/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 697,293
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Arthur C. Brooks is Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. The author of Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, Brooks writes widely about the connections between culture, politics, and economic life in America, and his work appears frequently in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. He is a native of Seattle, Washington, and currently lives in Syracuse, New York, with his wife Ester and their three children.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: America's Pursuit of Happiness     1
The Culture of Happiness
The Politics of Happiness     21
Happiness Is a Gift from Above     41
Is Happiness a Family Value?     57
Staying Happy in the Age of Freedom and Insecurity     83
The Economics of Happiness
Does Money Buy Happiness?     111
Inequality and (Un)happiness in America     133
Happiness Is a Full-Time Job     153
The Secret to Buying Happiness     175
Conclusion: Happiness Lessons for Our Leaders     193
The Data on Happiness     209
Notes     231
Acknowledgments     263
Index     267

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