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Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America--and How We Can Get More of It Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 21, 2008
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"Arthur Brooks may be the most innovative and creative analyst of public policy in America today. His insights are in a different league and may lead to an entirely new approach to thinking through public policy. Gross National Happiness is a must read for every person who wants to understand what policies America needs." -- Newt Gingrich
"Happiness is God, marriage, and work. A Republican campaign slogan? No: hard science, as collected by Arthur C. Brooks, emerging as one of the leading--and most original--social observers of his generation." -- David Frum, author of Dead Right and Comeback
"Happiness is an idea etched into our national creed. But what does it mean, exactly? With intriguing statistics and engaging examples, Arthur Brooks explores what makes us happy, which types of people are happiest, and what it means for our nation's future. Gross National Happiness is a fresh look on one of America's oldest tenets--how the pursuit of happiness makes America great." -- Carl J. Schramm, president and chief executive officer of the Kauffman Foundation and author of The Entrepreneurial Imperative
"In this splendid volume, Arthur C. Brooks cements his reputation as one of the nation's premier students of American society. Always driven by data--not ideology--he offers an authoritative account of the social bases of happiness. Just as important, he explores the public policy implications of his findings. It is a fun read, and should put a smile on the face of even the most unhappy among us." -- William A. Donohue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
"Is anybody happy in America? Actually, a lot of Americans are--and they're not necessarily the ones you'd think. In Gross National Happiness, Arthur Brooks tells us why supposedly crabby conservatives are actually happier than supposedly lighthearted liberals--and what all of us can do to find more happiness in our lives." -- Michael Barone, Senior Writer for U.S. News & World Report and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics
About the Author
More About the Author
Born in 1964, Arthur grew up in Seattle in a family less interested in free enterprise than in the arts. At age 19, he dropped out of college to pursue a career as a professional French hornist. Arthur performed with the Annapolis Brass Quintet, toured with famed jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd, and spent several years with the City Orchestra of Barcelona. In Barcelona in 1991, he married Ester Munt-Brooks.
In 1992, Arthur and Ester moved to the U.S., where Ester taught languages and Arthur returned to college at night while teaching music during the day. He studied economics, math and languages, eventually earning bachelor's and master's degrees in economics and a Ph.D. in public policy. After finishing his doctorate, Arthur spent 10 years as a university professor, teaching economics, nonprofit management, and social entrepreneurship.
At the end of 2008, he left academia to join AEI as the institution's eleventh president. He speaks widely on behalf of AEI and the free enterprise movement all around the United States and world, and continues to write books and articles.
Arthur and Ester currently reside in Bethesda, Maryland, with their three children Joaquin, Carlos, and Marina.
Top Customer Reviews
The only time he does show how to make happiness is where he puts down what our leaders national agenda should be if we want higher GNH. He is looking at the macro level, not the micro. Topics explored include: political affiliation (conservative vs. liberal only; there is no data on libertarians or more specific affiliations yet), religion, family (does kids and marriage really bring happiness?), freedom and security (does the Patriot Act affect our GNH?), work, and money.
I wish there was more content for the price, which is why I'm only giving it 4 stars. Hopefully this might start some new studies to fill in the gaps.
For one thing, "Religious people of all faiths are much, much happier than secularists" (p 44). The difference is huge. "Of those who believed there is no way to find out if God exists, a paltry 12% claimed to be very happy people" (p 46). Hmmm...no wonder Dawkins and Hitchens' books drip with unhappiness and malice.
And here's one those famous atheists will really gag on: "Religious individuals today are actually better educated and less ignorant of the world around them than secularists" (p 51).
Married people are happier than those who are single, too. Researchers studied people who seemed alike "but one is married and the other is not, the married person will be 18 percentage points more likely than the unmarried person to say he or she is very happy" (61). This will come a as a blow to the feminists.
Among the nations, North Korea is at the bottom of the happiness scale, with Cuba a close second (p 91). What, atheist communism hasn't brought happiness? Shocker.
On the other hand, mere wealth doesn't help much, once a country has achieved a decent level of health and nutrition. At least the wealth of Japan is not helping. And Mexicans are much happier, on average, than the French.
And here is one I would not have guessed: "For most Americans, job satisfaction is nearly equivalent to life satisfaction. Among those who say they are very happy in their lives, 95% are also satisfied with their jobs" (p 159).
This is a interesting and fun.
The first part consists of four chapters and the second includes a few more chapters. While Part I focuses on non-monetary matters like family, religion, and such, Part II is mainly about the connections of happiness to money; how money can sometimes "buy" happiness; and why inequality, no matter how bad, does not prevent individual upward mobility. In the end the book concludes that happiness is a personal and internal condition; if someone wants it, he/she must work full-time for it. Among the chapters of Part II, Chapter 8 on giving to charity as "the secret of buying happiness" is simply the greatest.
The book ends with a list of prescriptions for happiness: avoiding extremism, having a religious faith, having a decent family life, serving and protecting freedom, promoting equality of opportunities for all, celebrating work, giving to charity, respecting the humanity of others including enemies, and limiting government involvement in the business of life. Some of the prescriptions derive beautifully from the analyses of the book, and some appear to be ideological afterthoughts - poorly articulated and perhaps not even necessary.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is a private, conservative, not-for-profit institution (a "think tank") dedicated to the conservative... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Judah
Written with a clear bias to his own religious and pollitical beliefs ,this book has some interesting information but it is hard to select it from the sermon he delivers.Published 15 months ago by Douglas W Ankrom
Brooks covers the subject of happiness like I've never even thought about before - and with complete documentation! A very informative and interesting book!Published on January 14, 2014 by Paul Libke
One of the best books to know how to shape one's own politics.
The facts in this book don't lie and go a long way in clearing up a few basic myths about who's who in American... Read more
I heard the author speak at a conference a few years ago, was very impressed, and bought the book. But I proceeded to let it get buried in the reading pile under history, economic... Read morePublished on May 31, 2013 by Robert A. Hall
If someone eating a chocolate ice cream cone says he is very happy, while someone else eating a vanilla ice cream cone says he is (just) happy, what does this mean? Read morePublished on July 20, 2012 by dr
This book is one of the best I've read in a long time. Our country needs these concept that needs to be taught in our schools.Published on July 10, 2012 by Lynn
I had heard of Gross National Happiness at a symposium and thought I was getting a book that would go more in depth into the application of the measure. Read morePublished on November 16, 2011 by Kathleen M Shissler
I was most impressed that the author is not trying to force his personal views upon the readers. To quote from the introduction, "This book is based completely on data - large... Read morePublished on January 13, 2011 by Handyman