The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being (Hardback)
  • The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being (Hardback)
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The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 320 Pages
Published: 12/05/2015

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What was a Buddhist monk doing at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos lecturing the world's leaders on mindfulness? Why do many successful corporations have a 'chief happiness officer'? What can the chemical composition of your brain tell a potential employer about you? In the past decade, governments and corporations have become increasingly interested in measuring the way people feel: 'the Happiness index', 'Gross National Happiness', 'well-being' and positive psychology have come to dominate the way we live our lives. As a result, our emotions have become a new resource to be bought and sold.
In a fascinating investigation combining history, science and ideas, William Davies shows how well-being influences all aspects of our lives: business, finance, marketing and smart technology. This book will make you rethink everything from the way you work, the power of the 'Nudge', the ever-expanding definitions of depression, and the commercialization of your most private feelings. The Happiness Industry is a shocking and brilliantly argued warning about the new religion of the age: our emotions.

Publisher: Verso Books
ISBN: 9781781688458
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 511 g
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

When did happiness itself become a liability? When the market figured out that making us content is the first stage in manufacturing our consent. In this accessible, fact-filled history of measured happiness, William Davies shows us how metrics of well-being were systematically disconnected from meaning and community, and in the process transformed from the very core of human power into an access panel to our desires and behavior. I can't listen to that damned 'Happy' song anymore without thinking about whom my supposed happiness really serves, and what they're willing to do to make sure I stay that way. - Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

In a heady mixture of psychology, economics, sociology, and philosophy, this book reveals the misguided nature of the currently popular intellectual project to make people happier and improve society through 'scientific' understanding - and manipulation - of human beings. With many governments and corporations hell-bent on control promoting it aggressively, this project is increasingly depriving our societies of true social bonds, democratic participation, critical thinking, and even happiness itself. An eye-opening, head-spinning, and mind-expanding book. - Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism

Deeply researched and pithily argued, Davies's work is a welcome corrective to the glut of semi-scientific happiness books that have become so popular in business and management circles, and which rarely, if ever, acknowledge the larger ideological goals of workplace well-being. - New York Magazine

When the 18th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham suggested that maximising happiness was the job of government, he inspired a quest to measure happiness that continues today. Until recently, the only effective tool for that-as the political scientist Will Davies explains in a forceful new book, The Happiness Industry-has been money. - Observer

As Davies implies in this readable, disturbing book, being depressed by the human condition will no longer be socially acceptable, or even an option. The state or big business will soon see to it! - Independent

Rich, lucid and arresting. - John Gray, Literary Review

A brilliant, and sometimes eerie, dissection of our times. - Vice

William Davies argues that our happiness fixation may have more to do with the interests of corporations and governments than personal fulfillment. - Fortune

An interesting contribution to the growing genre of happiness studies. - THE

Davies, explaining the evolution of the science of happiness from the French Revolution to the present, argues it essentially serves the interests of the powerful elite. This challenging book will appeal to academics and students of various disciplines. - Booklist

Skillfully written intellectual entertainment-prime fodder for postmodern psychologists and New-Age thinkers alike. - Kirkus Reviews

Davies's concern is to show that by making us more resilient and more productive, the happiness industry tricks us into settling for too little. - Katrina Forrester, London Review of Books

How 'managing our happiness' is becoming an increasingly lucrative and insidious industry. - New Humanist

The Happiness Industry is a thought-provoking and daring intervention into the crowded field of neoliberal political economy [.] Its bold theses and elegant historical foundation provides political economists with much new material to consider. - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics

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