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First half: somewhat faulty science whose flaws were mildly offensive to my sensibilities. Example: a study of nuns showed that 21% of those most cheerful died in the following nine years, compared to 55% of least cheerful nuns. Layard claims this “shows how happiness can increase a person’s life.” How naively speculative to assume causality between these two variables!! Perhaps the nuns were happy for the very reason that they were healthy. Or maybe an outside variable (having family members vi
Second half: PAINFUL PREACHY PROPAGANDA on how to be happier. Layard discourages teachers treating religious ideas as “interesting topics for discussion” and advocates presenting them as “established truths.” In his disucssion of cocaine, he snarkily refers to nicotine as “more gentle – it kills the body, not the soul.” Had I not been reading this for a class, I would have thrown it across the room. UGH. In short: exactly what I feared might happen as I ventured into the self-help section to buy this last week.
it was amazing
Happiness- Lessons From A New Science by Richard Layard
Another version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
This is a Fantastic book.
It touches so many aspects of happiness that I am in awe.
From Bhutan to the Academy Awards Winners.
From taxation to teaching morals in schools.
The different indicators that make the differences in well being levels between countries are revealed.
– Levels o
This book was pretty interesting. Layard is an economist and he talks about how it would seem better for nations to use a measure of happiness as a marker of progress rather than gross national product. He does a good job of evaluating the science of happiness (enough to satisfy my rather critical eye) and concludes that we can now measure happiness well enough in a meaningful way. The book ranges from the science of happiness, to the economics of producing happiness, and to the spiritual aspect