Happiness: Lessons from a New Science

Happiness: Lessons from a New Science

by Richard Layard, P. R. Layard
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Happiness: Lessons from a New Science by Richard Layard, P. R. Layard

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594200397
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/2005
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.74(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.14(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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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Happiness: Lessons from a New Science 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the past, economists could not measure factors intrinsic to human nature, so they conveniently left concepts like happiness out of their calculations thus they compare the wealth of nations using measures such as the gross national product. But what if, following the example of the tiny Asian country of Bhutan, nations began instead to try to increase their 'gross national happiness'? How would they do it? Economist Richard Layard attempts to answer these questions by applying lessons from the relatively new field of 'positive psychology' to human social systems. Although some readers may dismiss his viewpoint as touchy-feely, it is based on science. He finds, for instance, that if politicians truly wish to create happy societies, they will have to aim at something greater than ever-expanding marketplaces. This readable discussion of the 'new science' of happiness draws some provocative conclusions. We recommend it to those who are interested in self-development and to public policy experts looking for a new approach.
Guest More than 1 year ago
very interesting summaries of many studies but some policy conclusions were false and made me very angry - people should 'hand over some decisions to experts or government,' meaning 'king' economists (144-45) because we're irrational - the more we're taxed the happier we'll be
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is a must read for anyone interest in positive psychology, politics, economics, or all three. Unfortunately, the first reviewer admits that she did not finish the book and most the applicable ideas come later on. It is a completely different view of how we should implement public policy. Yes, some of it is quite liberal, but why shouldn't we try to increase the happiness of all in society?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I admit that I did not get further than the end of the 3rd chapter, the overwhelming feeling of a socialistic political view was making it harder to continue reading. I personally do not think the rest of the world and it's problems relate to my overall happiness. As Lincoln said: 'People are about as happy as they make themselves be.'