Get a good education, be successful, get married, have kids and look after your health. This is what we're told will make us happy. But what if these stories are doing more harm than good?
In Happy Ever After, bestselling happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on groundbreaking research and data to bust the common myths about happiness and show that the path to fulfilment is actually far more unexpected than we thought. With straight-talking wisdom, he invites us to reappraise our values, free our minds from the 'narrative traps' of conventional wisdom and write our own version of the good life, based on maximising positive, meaningful experiences that can generate new social benefits - not least greater tolerance for different ways of life.
Happiness isn't what you're told. It's what you do.
Paul Dolan is Professor of Behavioural Science at the LSE. During his time as a visiting scholar at Princeton, he worked closely with Daniel Kahneman who calls him 'a star'. Dolan focuses on developing measures of happiness and subjective wellbeing that can be used by policymakers and by individuals looking to be happier.
Among various other roles, he is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences Panel on measuring national well-being, a member of the National Wellbeing Advisory Forum for the Office for National Statistics in the UK, and is Chief Academic Advisor to the UK Government on how policymakers should value the impact of goods that are hard to measure, like health and education. His debut, Happiness by Design, was a Sunday Times bestseller and Waterstones non-fiction book of the month.
A splendid demonstration of how conventional aspirations can make us miserable -- Richard Layard, author of Happiness A smart and irreverent look at the bad advice, lame instructions, and missing ingredients in society's recipe for a happy life -- Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness Paul Dolan knows what makes people happy - and what doesn't. Happy Ever After is illuminating, wise, even profound. A magnificent achievement -- Cass Sunstein, co-author of Nudge A timely warning that we need to question standard assumptions about what is good for individuals and society. Dolan makes a compelling case for putting people's own perceptions of their wellbeing at the heart of policy making -- Lord Gus O'Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary One of the most rigorous articulations of the new mood of acceptance... a persuasive demolition of many of our cultural stories about how we ought to live -- Oliver Burkeman Guardian A very useful antidote to the pressures of modern living. Very few books change the way you think about yourself, but this is one of them. I would particularly recommend it to young adults with all these life choices ahead of them Tablet Passionate, provocative. . . It isn't just a self-help book. It is a manifesto for a better society The Times Smart, engaging and funny. . . will make you question everything you think you know about what you want -- Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women
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