science of happiness

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pages: 222 words: 75,778

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

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call centre, crowdsourcing, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, Y2K

In the end, it turns out that we’re all taking different paths in pursuit of the same goal: happiness. In 2007, I started getting interested in learning more about the science of happiness. I learned that it was a relatively new research field known as positive psychology. Prior to 1998, almost all psychology was about trying to figure out how to get people who had something wrong with them more normal. But most psychologists and researchers never bothered to examine what would make normal people happier. I started reading more and more books and articles about the science of happiness including Happiness Hypothesis and Happier. Initially, it was just a side hobby and interest of mine that had nothing to do with Zappos.

It’s been interesting to look at the evolution of the Zappos brand promise over the years: 1999—Largest Selection of Shoes 2003—Customer Service 2005—Culture and Core Values as Our Platform 2007—Personal Emotional Connection 2009—Delivering Happiness From my perspective, it seemed to make sense to try to learn more about the science of happiness so that the knowledge could be applied to running our business. We could learn about some of the science behind how to make customers and employees happier. Today, we even offer a Science of Happiness class to our employees. As I studied the field more, I learned that one of the consistent findings from the research was that people are very bad at predicting what will actually bring them sustained happiness.

But research has shown that you can perform better in a marathon if you train yourself in ways that may initially seem to go against your gut instinct. Similarly, research in the science of happiness has shown that there are things that can make you happier that you may not realize will actually make you happier. And the reverse is true as well: There are things that you think will make you happy but actually won’t in the long run. I don’t claim to be an expert in the field of the science of happiness. I’ve just been reading books and articles about it because I find the topic really interesting. So I wanted to briefly share some of the frameworks of happiness that I personally found the most useful in helping shape my thinking, with the goal of whetting your appetite to do a little bit of reading yourself so that you can maximize your own personal level of happiness.

 

pages: 317 words: 87,566

The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being by William Davies

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1960s counterculture, Airbnb, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, corporate governance, dematerialisation, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gini coefficient, income inequality, invisible hand, joint-stock company, market bubble, mental accounting, nudge unit, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, urban planning

A hard science of subjective affect is available to us, which we would be crazy not to put to work via management, medicine, self-help, marketing and behaviour change policies. What if this psychological exuberance had, in fact, been with us for the past two hundred years? What if the current science of happiness is simply the latest iteration of an ongoing project which assumes the relationship between mind and world is amenable to mathematical scrutiny? That is one thing which this book aims to show. Repeatedly, from the time of the French Revolution to the present (and accelerating in the late nineteenth century), a particular scientific utopia has been sold: core questions of morality and politics will be solvable with an adequate science of human feelings.

The spirit of this agenda originates with the Enlightenment. But those who have exploited it best are those with an interest in social control, very often for private profit. That unfortunate contradiction accounts for the precise ways in which the happiness industry advances. In criticizing the science of happiness, I do not wish to denigrate the ethical value of happiness as such, less still to trivialize the pain of those who suffer from chronic unhappiness, or depression, and may understandably seek help in new techniques of behavioural or cognitive management. The target is the entangling of hope and joy within infrastructures of measurement, surveillance and government.

Arguably, we are already the product of various overlapping, sometimes contradictory efforts to observe our feelings and behaviours. Advertisers, human resource managers, governments, pharmaceutical companies have been watching, incentivizing, prodding, optimizing and pre-empting us psychologically since the late nineteenth century. Maybe what we need right now is not more or better science of happiness or behaviour, but less, or at least different. How likely is it that, in two hundred years’ time, historians will look back at the early twenty-first century and say, ‘Ah, yes, that was when the truth about human happiness was finally revealed’? And if it is unlikely, then why do we perpetuate this kind of talk, other than because it is useful to the powerful?

 

pages: 361 words: 111,500

Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

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Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, cuban missile crisis, Exxon Valdez, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, Mikhail Gorbachev, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Transnistria, union organizing

It appeared on maps—located, ironically, at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in what is now modern-day Iraq. European explorers prepared for expeditions in search of paradise by learning Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke. I set out on my journey, my search for paradise, speaking not Aramaic but another obscure language, the modern liturgy of bliss spoken by the new apostles of the emerging science of happiness. I brush up on terms like “positive affect” and “hedonic adaptation.” I carry no Bible, just a few Lonely Planet guides and a conviction that, as Henry Miller said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” And so, on a typically steamy day in Miami (itself some people’s concept of paradise), I pack my bags and depart my home on what I know full well is a fool’s errand, every bit as foolish as the one I tried to pull off as a peripatetic five-year-old.

A new study has found that homework dulls the brain / enlarges it. We especially like studies that lend credibility to our own idiosyncrasies, as in, “A new study has found that people with messy desks are smarter” or “A new study has found that moderate daily flatulence improves longevity.” Yes, if this new science of happiness was to be taken seriously, it needed studies. But first, it needed a vocabulary, a serious jargon. The word “happiness” wouldn’t do. It sounded too frivolous, too easily understood. This was a problem. So the social scientists came up with a doozy: “subjective well-being.” Perfect. Not only was it multisyllabic and virtually impenetrable to laypeople, it also could be condensed into an even more obscure acronym: SWB.

Not only was it multisyllabic and virtually impenetrable to laypeople, it also could be condensed into an even more obscure acronym: SWB. To this day, if you want to find the latest scholarly research on happiness, you need to Google “SWB,” not “happiness.” Next came other pieces of the jargon puzzle. “Positive affect” is when something feels good; “negative affect” is—you guessed it—when something feels bad. Next, the new science of happiness needed data. Numbers. For what is science if not numbers, preferably large ones with lots of decimal points. And how do scientists get these numbers? They measure things. Oh, no. Major roadblock. How can you measure happiness? Happiness is a feeling, a mood, an outlook on life. Happiness can’t be measured.

 

pages: 505 words: 127,542

If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan

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Broken windows theory, business process, cognitive dissonance, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fundamental attribution error, job satisfaction, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Phillip Zimbardo, placebo effect, science of happiness, Skype, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, working poor, Zipcar

over 80 percent in 2014: For the data from 2014, see p. 44 of findings from The American Freshman Surveys, accessed from www.heri.ucla.edu/monographs/TheAmericanFreshman2014-Expanded.pdf. The statistic from the 1970s is from Dacher Keltner’s introductory lecture for the course “The Science of Happiness” on EDx. The course can be accessed at www.edx.org/course/science-happiness-uc-berkeleyx-gg101x-1 or by searching for “The science of happiness” on search engines such as Google. See also Luxury Fever by Robert Frank for many examples of how the need for superiority is stoked in the pursuit of materialistic yardsticks of success. Materialism scale: M. L. Richins and S.

But thanks to the sheer weight of emerging scientific evidence, it’s much easier now to see how and why the determinants of happiness lead to other benefits as well. In other words, adoption of happiness “habits” has been slow until now because we had little scientific evidence of its “win-win-win-win.” With the emergence of the new “science of happiness”—positive psychology—however, this is all set to change. The second part of my answer has to do with perhaps the most important megatrend that has characterized the evolution of human beings in the past few decades. Perhaps due to the convergence of a number of factors—including unprecedented levels of peace, incredible technological advancements, and increasing access to information—the average person living in developed nations enjoys a far better standard of living than that which even the kings and queens of yore enjoyed.

Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness (Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009); J. Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom (New York: Basic Books, 2006); Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want (New York: Penguin, 2008). See also E. Diener, “Subjective Well-being: The Science of Happiness and a Proposal for a National Index,” American Psychological Association 55(1) (2000): 34; and E. Diener, and S. Oishi, “The Desirability of Happiness Across Cultures,” unpublished manuscript, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2006. even many economists: See R. Layard, Happiness: Lessons from a New Science (London: Allen Lane, 2005).

 

pages: 83 words: 26,097

Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations (TED Books) by Dan Ariely

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, science of happiness, Snapchat, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Dan Pink The puzzle of motivation Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories—and maybe, a way forward. Dan Gilbert The surprising science of happiness Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned. ALSO FROM TED BOOKS When Strangers Meet by Kio Stark When Strangers Meet reveals the transformative possibility of talking to people you don’t know—how these beautiful interruptions in daily life can change you and the world we share.

 

pages: 401 words: 112,784

Hard Times: The Divisive Toll of the Economic Slump by Tom Clark, Anthony Heath

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, Carmen Reinhart, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, interest rate swap, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unconventional monetary instruments, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor

The misery of the jobless was undoubtedly the chief societal poison during the Depression; but in Chapter 4 we explore the low pay, casual contracts and unpredictable shifts which combined during the recent recession to bring hard times to much of the working population too – and in a manner that is dragging on into the recovery. The next stage of our inquiry moves out of the jobs market and into the communities, the homes and the hearts where the human consequences unfolded. Chapter 5 looks at family life and individual well-being, drawing on the new science of happiness and the oldest statistical indicator of its absence – the suicide rate. Chapter 6 then steps out of the home and onto the streets, to gauge the strength of social networks. Throughout, we ask whether hard times are re-inforcing pre-existing divisions by blighting the vulnerable more. With the American recovery well under way and the British economy finally picking up, too, we consider whether we might soon be able to forget a passing storm.

From the 1990s onward, the ties of community – or, in the jargon, ‘social capital’ – have been shown to bear on everything from the safety of the streets to the life expectancy of the people who live along them.4 The idea that social networks have value is commonsensical at one level; but the formalisation of this insight within sociology has had results just as radical as those of the new science of happiness. Pubs, Alcoholics Anonymous branches and everything in between are these days tallied as a measure of how tight-knit a community is. Just as the value of this traditional asset of American society was coming into view, however, Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone charted the decline of countless forms of civic association in the later decades of the twentieth century, and forced a country to ask whether it was squandering this great inheritance.

For the rest – all those Americans, and latterly Britons as well, whose pay packets did not share in the proceeds of growth – there was a burgeoning range of options for credit. Anglo-American societies did not always seem healthy: Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone recorded the withering of American community life, and the new science of happiness suggested that the rising average wealth of society was doing little to reduce the misery quotient. But the political mainstream regarded these insights as quirky caveats attached to more general principles about the unique efficacy of running things on individualistic lines. The great inflation of the 1970s had, after all, exposed Foot's old order as bankrupt, and so – like the Cold War before it, and the British Empire before that – the New Right's ‘post-post-war’ settlement had slowly developed an air of permanence by the time the slump arrived.

 

pages: 297 words: 96,509

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

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Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, impulse control, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

The surprisingly wrong answer is apparently so sensible and so widely believed that only a protracted thrashing has any hope of expunging it from our conventional wisdom. So before the grudge match begins, let me share with you my plan of attack. • In Part II, “Subjectivity,” I will tell you about the science of happiness. We all steer ourselves toward the futures that we think will make us happy, but what does that word really mean? And how can we ever hope to achieve solid, scientific answers to questions about something as gossamer as a feeling? • We use our eyes to look into space and our imaginations to look into time.

By the same logic, the careful collection of a large number of experiential reports allows the imperfections of one to cancel out the imperfections of another. No individual’s report may be taken as an unimpeachable and perfectly calibrated index of his experience—not yours, not mine—but we can be confident that if we ask enough people the same question, the average answer will be a roughly accurate index of the average experience. The science of happiness requires that we play the odds, and thus the information it provides us is always at some risk of being wrong. But if you want to bet against it, then flip that coin one more time, get out your wallet, and tell Paul to make mine a Guinness. Onward One of the most annoying songs in the often annoying history of popular music begins with this line: “Feelings, nothing more than feelings.”

 

pages: 297 words: 96,509

Time Paradox by Philip, John Boyd Zimbardo

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Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, impulse control, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

The surprisingly wrong answer is apparently so sensible and so widely believed that only a protracted thrashing has any hope of expunging it from our conventional wisdom. So before the grudge match begins, let me share with you my plan of attack. • In Part II, “Subjectivity,” I will tell you about the science of happiness. We all steer ourselves toward the futures that we think will make us happy, but what does that word really mean? And how can we ever hope to achieve solid, scientific answers to questions about something as gossamer as a feeling? • We use our eyes to look into space and our imaginations to look into time.

By the same logic, the careful collection of a large number of experiential reports allows the imperfections of one to cancel out the imperfections of another. No individual’s report may be taken as an unimpeachable and perfectly calibrated index of his experience—not yours, not mine—but we can be confident that if we ask enough people the same question, the average answer will be a roughly accurate index of the average experience. The science of happiness requires that we play the odds, and thus the information it provides us is always at some risk of being wrong. But if you want to bet against it, then flip that coin one more time, get out your wallet, and tell Paul to make mine a Guinness. Onward One of the most annoying songs in the often annoying history of popular music begins with this line: “Feelings, nothing more than feelings.”

 

pages: 432 words: 124,635

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, City Beautiful movement, clean water, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, East Village, edge city, energy security, Enrique Peñalosa, experimental subject, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, happiness index / gross national happiness, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, license plate recognition, McMansion, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, wage slave, white flight, World Values Survey, Zipcar

You would have to tabulate the psychological effects of driving in traffic, or catching the eye of a stranger on the sidewalk, or pausing in a pocket park, or of feeling crowded or lonely, or of the simple feeling that the city you live in is a good or bad place. You would have to go beyond politics and philosophy to find a map of the ingredients of happiness, if it exists at all. * * * The cheers in that Vancouver ballroom echoed in my ears for the five years I spent charting the intersection of urban design and the so-called science of happiness. The quest led me to some of the world’s greatest and most miserable streets. It led me through the labyrinths of neuroscience and behavioral economics. I found clues in paving stones, on rail lines, and on roller coasters, in architecture, in the stories of strangers who shared their lives with me, and in my own urban experiments.

Now is a great time to take another stab at defining it, because during the decades that the suburban project accelerated, a network of psychologists, brain scientists, and economists devoted themselves to the study of the subject that intrigued the Greeks, stumped the Enlightenment scholars, and provided fodder for those who design cities to this day. A Science of Happiness In the early 1990s the University of Wisconsin psychologist Richard Davidson attempted to isolate the sources of positive and negative feelings in the human brain. Doctors have long noticed that people with damage to the front left side of their brain (the left prefrontal cortex) sometimes, and quite suddenly, lose their sense of enjoyment in life.

 

pages: 222 words: 54,506

One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard L. Brandt

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Amazon Web Services, automated trading system, big-box store, call centre, cloud computing, Dynabook, Elon Musk, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, Kevin Kelly, new economy, science of happiness, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, software patent, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Hsieh still didn’t want to sell. Zappos was now profitable, but the economy was in a recession, and Bezos was offering an astounding amount of money, although in the form of stock rather than cash. In April 2009, Hsieh flew to Seattle to talk about the company and its culture, including Hsieh’s philosophy on “the science of happiness—and how we try to use it to serve our customers and employees better.” Bezos suddenly piped up with the question, “Did you know that people are very bad at predicting what will make them happy?” That exact question was the next slide in Hsieh’s PowerPoint presentation. From that point on, Hsieh relaxed, feeling that Bezos did understand his dedication to his company’s culture: both men were more dedicated to customers than to short-term profits.

 

pages: 241 words: 75,516

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, attribution theory, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, framing effect, income per capita, job satisfaction, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, Own Your Own Home, positional goods, price anchoring, psychological pricing, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Larson, and S. Griffin, “The Satisfaction with Life Scale,” Journal of Personality Assessment, 1985, 49, 71–75. And one of the things A central figure in the study of happiness is psychologist Ed Diener. For a sample of Diener’s recent work on the topic, see E. Diener, “Subjective Well-Being: The Science of Happiness and a Proposal for a National Index,” American Psychologist, 2000, 55, 34–43; E. Diener, M. Diener, and C. Diener, “Factors Predicting the Subjective Well-Being of Nations,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1995, 69, 851–864; E. Diener and E.M. Suh (eds.), Subjective Well-Being Across Cultures (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001); and E.

 

pages: 270 words: 64,235

Effective Programming: More Than Writing Code by Jeff Atwood

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AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, cloud computing, endowment effect, Firefox, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, gravity well, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Merlin Mann, Minecraft, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, price anchoring, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, science of happiness, Skype, social software, Steve Jobs, web application, Y Combinator

Money is an opportunity for happiness, but it is an opportunity that people routinely squander because the things they think will make them happy often don’t. You may also recognize some of the authors on this paper, in particular Dan Gilbert, who also wrote the excellent book Stumbling on Happiness that touched on many of the same themes. What is, then, the science of happiness? I’ll summarize the basic eight points as best I can, but read the actual paper to obtain the citations and details on the underlying studies underpinning each of these principles. 1. Buy experiences instead of things Things get old. Things become ordinary. Things stay the same. Things wear out.

 

pages: 221 words: 68,880

Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy (Bicycle) by Elly Blue

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, active transport: walking or cycling, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, big-box store, car-free, hydraulic fracturing, if you build it, they will come, Jane Jacobs, job automation, Loma Prieta earthquake, medical residency, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, ride hailing / ride sharing, science of happiness, the built environment, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional

Besides making us unhappy, stress is an aggravating factor in just about every mental and physical disease there is, particularly the chronic ones that we are struggling with in the U.S. today. The vast majority of us regularly feel unduly stressed out,62 particularly those who live in poverty. In economics, happiness is conveniently measured in units. We expect that money creates more happiness units. A standard finding in the science of happiness, is that this is true—for those living in poverty. Once your income rises above subsistence level, earning yet more money still makes you happier, but in much smaller increments and not nearly as much as having strong family and social relationships. And the diminishing returns continue—once you move beyond a middle class income they nearly dry up entirely.

 

pages: 211 words: 69,380

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman

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experimental subject, fear of failure, Kibera, Lao Tzu, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, science of happiness, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, World Values Survey

It is only months later, back at my home in New York, reading the headlines over morning coffee, that I learn the news that the largest church in the United States constructed entirely from glass has filed for bankruptcy, a word Dr Schuller had apparently neglected to eliminate from his vocabulary. For a civilisation so fixated on achieving happiness, we seem remarkably incompetent at the task. One of the best-known general findings of the ‘science of happiness’ has been the discovery that the countless advantages of modern life have done so little to lift our collective mood. The awkward truth seems to be that increased economic growth does not necessarily make for happier societies, just as increased personal income, above a certain basic level, doesn’t make for happier people.

 

pages: 202 words: 64,725

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans

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David Brooks, fear of failure, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, market design, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs

Dan Goleman is the author of Emotional Intelligence (New York: Bantam, 1995) and the follow-up book Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships (New York: Bantam, 2006) from which we draw the notion of the “wisdom of the emotions.” For an informative and interesting summary of these ideas go to Dan’s Social Intelligence Talks at Google at https://​www.​youtube.​com/​watch?​v=-hoo_​dIOP8k. 3. For more on Dan Gilbert’s ideas on “synthesizing happiness” watch his TED Talk, “The Surprising Science of Happiness,” http://​www.​ted.​com/​talks/​dan_​gilbert_​asks_why_​are_we_​happy and read Stumbling on Happiness (New York: Knopf, 2006). 4. For more on Barry Schwartz’s ideas on choice and choosing watch his TED Talk, “The Paradox of Choice?,” https://​www.​ted.​com/​talks/​barry_​schwartz_on_​the_paradox_​of_choice?​

 

pages: 411 words: 95,852

Britain Etc by Mark Easton

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, British Empire, credit crunch, financial independence, garden city movement, global village, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, James Watt: steam engine, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, social software

Kahneman was aware that the pursuit of happiness, although enshrined in America’s constitution, was too easily dismissed as a nebulous and naïve ambition by hard-nosed policy advisors in Washington. Reducing unhappiness, however, was accepted as a legitimate and noble aim. In Britain, the new utilitarians were beginning to grow in confidence: the government was pledged to evidence-based policy and they hoped the science of happiness could become a driving force in determining the political direction of travel. Within Number Ten itself, Tony Blair’s strategy team included enthusiastic advocates of the new utilitarian cause. Geoff Mulgan and David Halpern were quietly encouraging the Prime Minister towards the politics of well-being, but the Labour leader was never totally convinced.

 

pages: 209 words: 89,619

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing

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8-hour work day, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, deskilling, fear of failure, full employment, hiring and firing, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mini-job, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nudge unit, pensions crisis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, precariat, presumed consent, quantitative easing, remote working, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, Tobin tax, transaction costs, universal basic income, unpaid internship, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, young professional

Making the precariat ‘happy’ Meanwhile, the paternalists who have dominated social policy since the 1990s have refined a utilitarian mentality built around the desire to make people A POLITICS OF INFERNO 141 ‘happy’, to the extent that provision of happiness has become quasi-religious and dignified by being called ‘the science of happiness’. In some countries, including France and the United Kingdom, official statistics are being collected to measure people’s happiness. Let us suppose we have a society in which politicians and their advisers want to make people ‘happy’. The utilitarian rationalisation for inducing labour has grown in sophistication.

 

pages: 513 words: 141,963

Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari

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Airbnb, centre right, failed state, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, McJob, Naomi Klein, placebo effect, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, Steven Pinker, traveling salesman, War on Poverty

Drug Addicts Are Human Beings. Washington, D.C.: Shaw Publishing Company, 1938. ———. Drugs Against Men. Reprint. New York: Arno Press, 1981. ———, ed. The Historians’ History of the World. Vol 3. Encyclopedia Britannica Company, 1926. ———. Luther Burbank. New York, Hearst’s International Library Co., 1915. ———. The Science of Happiness. New York; London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1909. ———. The Survival of the Fittest. New York: R.M. McBride & Co., 1932. Woods, Sally C. “Heroin and Methadone Substitution Treatments.” Unpublished thesis, Liverpool John Moores University, 2005. Yardley, Tom. Why We Take Drugs: Seeking Excess and Communion in the Modern World.