The Psychological Wealth of Nations: Do Happy People Make a Happy Society?

The Psychological Wealth of Nations: Do Happy People Make a Happy Society?

The Psychological Wealth of Nations: Do Happy People Make a Happy Society?

The Psychological Wealth of Nations: Do Happy People Make a Happy Society?

Synopsis

The Psychological Wealth of Nations reviews the range of new scientific research related to individual and societal happiness.
  • Presents a comprehensive review of happiness, from conceptual and measurement issues to an exploration of predictors and consequences of happiness
  • Explores the psychology and economics of happiness and examines the correlations between societal wealth, productivity, and happiness in different countries
  • Offers compelling insights into the ways individual happiness impacts the psychological wealth of overall society
  • Features a highly interdisciplinary approach, with considerations of philosophy, sociology, economics, political sciences, as well as psychology
  • Excerpt

    A good friend of mine, who is also an academic psychologist, complained to me several times over the years that there were so many happiness books out there, yet none he could use as a textbook. He said that most books on happiness tell a nice story by overlooking many troubling contradictory findings. I wrote this book in part to make my friend happy—to create a book suitable for an advanced seminar on happiness. I tried to review as many empirical studies as possible, including contradictory findings, and evaluate it all as objectively as I could. the good news is that this book covers the scientific findings far more thoroughly than most books on happiness published over the last ten years or so. the bad news is that being comprehensive does not lend itself to a neat, oneanswer-fits-all story. and yes, the reality of happiness research is that happiness is not as neat as some magazine articles make you believe!

    In addition to reviewing the vast amount of work that’s been done on happiness, I wrote this book to make a bridge between the psychology of happiness and the economics of happiness. Over the last decade, many economists have started to realize that happiness is a form of wealth. Many psychologists seem unaware of the important research conducted by economists, as well as political scientists, sociologists, and epidemiologists. So I have added here the insights gained from other behavioral and social sciences. Two chapters on money and happiness (Chapter 3 and Chapter 10), in particular, summarize many such studies.

    Finally, I tried to pay tribute to the philosophical tradition of happiness research. Starting with Ancient Greek philosophers such as . . .

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