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Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0374114893 ISBN-10: 0374114897 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374114897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374114893
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The study of happiness has become serious business. Gore finds the fact that virtually all its exponents are male intriguing and, to counterpoint such male domination, offers a female perspective. Positive psychology, as happiness-study is often called, has ignored women’s issues, she says. She proffers her own system for truly comprehending the concept of happiness, especially women’s personal happiness, by maintaining a happiness journal recording the happiest moments of each day. She presents interviews with hundreds of women, including “a council of experts” consisting of artists, service workers, scholars, psychologists, and women’s health-care providers. The search for happiness, she suggests, is spiritual as well as material. She discusses everyone from Thomas Jefferson and Norman Vincent Peale to graphic designer Harvey Ball, inventor of the ubiquitous smiley face. She distinguishes between forced cheerfulness and depression, scrutinizes the growing gender gap in the happiness sweepstakes, and comments on the trend toward treating anxiety and sadness with medication. Thoughtful, funny, and inspiring, Gore is a down-to-earth guide to the elusive human quest for happiness. --June Sawyers

About the Author

ARIEL GORE is the author of numerous books on parenting, the novel The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show, the memoir Atlas of the Human Heart, and the guidebook How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead.

More About the Author

Born on the Monterey Peninsula and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ariel Gore spent the years she was supposed to be in high school as an international bag lady traveling through Asia and Europe. She returned to California at age 19, baby in tow.

Following her misspent youth, she graduated from Mills College and earned a master's degree in journalism from U.C. Berkeley.

In 1993, she founded of Hip Mama, an award-winning parenting zine covering the culture and politics of motherhood. Widely credited with launching maternal feminism, the New Yorker said, "It's the quality of the writing that sets Hip Mama apart."

Ariel's pregnancy and parenting books, The Hip Mama Survival Guide (Hyperion, 1998), The Mother Trip (Seal Press, 2000), and Whatever, Mom (Seal Press, 2004), have been called "delightful" (Glamour), "Terrific and important" (San Francisco Chronicle), and "revolutionary" (The Seattle Times).

Her lyrical teenage memoir, Atlas of the Human Heart (Seal Press, 2003), was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. The Utne Reader says: "Ariel Gore's transformation from globetrotting teenager to the hippest of mamas reads like a movie script about a Gen-X slacker following her bliss to unlikely success."

Her novel, The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show (HarperOne, 2006), was featured on MTV and was a BookSense pick praised by the Los Angeles Times as "Beguiling" and highly recommended by Library Journal as "a savvy rebuke of religious bigotry and a fun, fast, memorable read."

Her guide to writing and the creative life, How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead (Three Rivers, 2007) was praised by Booklist as "The snappiest, most useful books a writer for hire is likely to read."

She was named one of "20 Under 30" influential women by Working Woman Magazine and called "conservative Americva's worst nightmare" by San Jose Mercury News. She debated Newt Gingrich on MTV and is a sought-after expert on creativity and women's issues interviewed on NPR and Life & Style as well as CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and MTV news.

Ariel's essays, articles, and short stories have appeared in dozens of newspapers, magazines, and periodicals including the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, Salon, Parenting, and Utne, as well as in anthologies including Wild Child (Seal Press, 1999), the American Book Award-winning Mothers Who Think (Washington Square Press, 2000), Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation (Seal Press, 2001), Because I Said So (HarperCollins, 2005), Lost On Purpose (Seal press, 2005), and Portland Noir (Akashic Books, 2009).

Her latest book, Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness, is forthcoming from Farrar Straus Giroux. She lives in Portland Oregon with her partner Maria and her son Maximilian.

Ariel Gore is The Indiana Jones of literature.
--Chuckpalahniuk.net

Customer Reviews

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It's a book that will open your eyes and change your outlook on life.
Tea and Literature
Ariel Gore does an amazing job at giving an overview on positive psychologists and many other feminist authors' as well as her own experiences and views on happiness.
Ashley
And, Ariel's book helps us untangle ourselves from those ingrained societal ideas and scripts about happiness.
Deb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By All My Travels on April 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Bluebird" cannot be typecast. It is not a self help book, nor a flat essay.
It is a true, no nonsense exploration of what happiness truly consists of.
Ariel Gore, though extensive research, countless quotes from women around her, with deep intelligence and compassion, takes us through all the accepted notions of what happiness should be like, and what women were taught to expect from an early age. Halfway through the book, suddenly and with no warning, everything becomes clear. There is no fake optimism, forced emotion, or New Age one-ness in the pages of "Bluebird".
But reaching the end, between the lines of this incredibly sharp study, well researched and truly personal without indulgence, the reader feels a true uplift, a real feel for what it means to be happy. Behind the words, there is a precious jewel glistening in the shadows. Ariel Gore's revelation is straightforward: the jewel is ours, ours to keep, ours to enjoy. It was ours all along, its beauty somewhat hidden behind our various dissatisfactions and frustrations. "Bluebird" gives it back to us, as logically and simply as in giving us the solution to a mathematical problem. Definitely a must read for women of all ages.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Phoebe B. Hyde on February 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this mix of research and personal experience, Gore faults the Positive Psychology movement (Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi and others)for ignoring or underemphasizing the differences in male and female happiness, and how it's gained. Gore's own study of women's happiness--performed by collecting journal entries and forming "expert" panels of women-- is interesting, but only feels incisive and truly informative in the last quarter of the book. While I enjoyed reading Bluebird and find many of its insights useful, I often found myself wishing A.G. had either come down hard on the side of personal narrative, or hard on the side of research and investigation. Gore's highly readable middle ground loses some of the lyricism of memoir and the intellectual rigor of topically-driven nonfiction. I'd love to see her let her self-identified "nerdy" side loose on a topic like this. Nevertheless, a book I would give to friend and recommend; a book I'm glad someone has written.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Darin M. Shaw on January 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Women and happiness.

Ariel Gore weaves together the findings of recognized authorities (most of them men), commonly cited studies (most done on male subjects), the experiences of a hundred real women (imagine that!), and her own life experiences, to paint a picture of what women are up against in a search for happiness. Be they women of traditional values or feminists, married or single, raising families or running corporations, happiness can be equally elusive.

In eighteen years of pastoral ministry and counseling, few books have given me as insightful and honest a look into the heart of this matter as Bluebird. If you're a preacher, pastor, or counselor, and you want to understand the hand that the women you minister to are dealt by society, this book is a worthy read. I'll also recommend this book to the women in my congregation, that they might reject the psychology that has failed them and be encouraged: cultivating true happiness is hard work, but good work.

Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christina Bruni on April 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ariel Gore's overreliance on women who are married and have kids was the prime drawback of this book for me. Also: her contention that depression is not a real illness that sometimes requires medication. Tell that to a person who is suicidal. Tell that to a person whose life became sunnier once she took an anti-depressant.

Overall: a good book.

Yet: what if you are a woman who feels society did not abuse you? What if you chose your own life from an early age and are quite happy with the results? Ariel Gore doesn't talk about this. I would've like to see more "experts" whose lives mirrored my own weigh in. I honestly couldn't relate to a lot of them even though I'm a woman.

Without the drawbacks I would've given it four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ashley on May 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Wow! I expected to enjoy this book and get some useful insight on women and the psychology of happiness but what I found was a true treasure. Ariel Gore does an amazing job at giving an overview on positive psychologists and many other feminist authors' as well as her own experiences and views on happiness.

I was completely captivated and found myself stopping on certain passages and taking a moment of thought and had many "wow" moments. There are so many different voices of women and men alike on the subject of happiness and what I loved what how the author focuses on women and helps to make scholarly information accessible to women of all ages.

So much wisdom in this little book. There are many positive psychology books out there but what I loved was the useful tidbits used from those books making the findings easy and accessible all in this book. Another plus. The cover is great and I'm a sucker for great covers. :)

Any woman can benefit from this gem of a book. Truly uplifting and I gained much happiness by savoring this book.

Ariel Gore is someone who I would befriend and this book keeps you engaged and really has the authentic feel of connecting with the author. Thank you Ariel for your contribution to the happiness of women everywhere!
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