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The Happiness Manifesto (Kindle Single) (TED Books) [Kindle Edition]

Nic Marks
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Much of modern life is based upon the assumption that happiness and well-being come from economic prosperity. Many – politicians and media and citizens alike – seem to assume that the main goal of government is to ensure that the economy is forever moving forward. It is now overwhelmingly clear however, says Nic Marks in this essay, that the blind pursuit of economic growth has created a whole set of social and environmental issues that are rapidly undermining the potential happiness and well-being of current and future generations. He convincingly posits and argues that it's time to imagine a different future, one where the desired outcome of policies and governance is the quality of people's experience of life.


The founder of the Centre for Well-Being, an independent think tank at the new economics foundation (nep) in London, Marks has written here a powerful story about how, by measuring the wrong things, such as GDP, we have headed in the wrong direction, and offers strong suggestions on how nations and people can return to a shared common purpose: nurturing well-being. Though it does suggest a radical new approach to policymaking and a set of specific and positive actions, this is not a traditional political manifesto. Marks' argument is steeped in rigorous statistical methods to measure happiness, analyzing and interpreting the evidence so that it can be applied to such policy fields as education, sustainable development, healthcare, and economics.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

You down with GWB? According to Nic Marks, author of The Happiness Manifesto, you should be. Marks argues that it is misguided and unproductive to measure a nation’s success based on economic factors such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Instead, we should strive to achieve a sense of General Well Being (GWB). Don’t know where to start? Marks lays it all out for us in 12 steps, five that focus on attaining personal well-being, and seven that will help accomplish the same on a national level. He warns that we lack a positive vision: we might turn away from the hoo-ha on the street corner foretelling the end of days, but we all look to the future with the same overwhelming sense of dread. Going beyond rhetoric, Marks provides the tools necessary to turn the tide and get "nations and people to work together to create happier, more sustainable lives." --Erin Kodicek

Product Details

  • File Size: 360 KB
  • Print Length: 40 pages
  • Publisher: TED Books (January 26, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004K1F1W2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,156 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly practical February 4, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is no touchy-feely, we-ought-to-be-happier motivational speech. It's a hard look at how undervaluing human well-being and sustainability and instead focusing on economic growth have damaged our world, and more importantly what can be done about it. The proposal for a Happy Planet Index (HPI) to give societies a quantitative target to shoot for (and a yardstick against which to measure themselves) is being developed and partially implemented in several European countries, and the author describes the methodology and development of this alternative measure of a nation's well-being which may well compete with GDP as a key international indicator in coming years. In addition, author Nic Marks describes the discoveries of his nonprofit in promoting research-based solutions for individuals seeking greater happiness and for government initiatives to increase well-being and sustainability. I appreciated that there is a bibliography and list of relevant links at the end.

I haven't watched the TED Talk (I assume it's almost identical to this work), but it's just the kind of thing TED is all about - an idea worth spreading.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars HPI instead of GDP February 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Happiness Manifesto is written very well. It addresses complex topics, such as sustainable growth and people well-being, in a colloquial way. However, there are two main issues which make me skeptical about the feasibility of government policies based on using the Happy Planet Index (HPI) instead of the well known GDP. The first issue is the assumption that at the bases of human beings there is a positive drive, which is yet to be proven (I would say that facts are substantially suggesting the opposite). The second issue comes from an examination of the 2009 HPI country ranking where, for example, Egypt scores 60.3 and the USA 30.7 (a better score is indicative of a better performance). The poor performance of the USA is due to its unsustainable lifestyle, but how can the recent events in Egypt explain a score of 60.3?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Banish fear and embrace the future February 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short Kindle book is a plea to individuals and governments to rethink how they assess happiness. The author is clear that economic growth (GDP) is not a useful way to calculate happiness. On the Happiness Index he employs, Costa Rica rates as the happiest country and the USA is much further down the list. To achieve personal happiness individuals are encouraged to (1) connect (invest in their personal relationships), (2)be active (yes, he means exercise), (3)take notice (become more aware of what's going on around them), (4) keep learning, and (5) give (smile and help others). The people who practice these things regularly, not the ones with the most toys, are the happiest. Much of what he asserts seems obvious (happier people are more productive), but worth hearing nonetheless.

Most of the book, however, focuses on the national and global level--the things governments can do to serve and motivate their citizens toward working for a greater good that is sustainable. This broader perspective prevents the book from devolving into just another self-help book. I also found it refreshing that he was able to discuss these issues without deploying spiritual or religious terminology. The things he proposes are things all people can act upon, not just people from faith communities.

People who like this book might also enjoy Karen Armstrong's latest, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (Borzoi Books). She too sees extending oneself, doing good, and helping others as a privilege and duty all human beings are called to embody.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Vision for a Better World February 12, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"We urgently need a positive vision of our future. We need to stimulate people not to run away but instead to engage, to have compassion, to be open, to be flexible, to be creative and innovative." ~ Nick Marks

Nic Marks has a vision for the world and I love that he has discovered five ways to personal well-being and seven strategies for national well-being. As he explains, having more money doesn't exactly make you happier.

While this book seems geared more towards extroverts there are some things that unhappy/depressed introverts might want to try. Maybe avoiding people can really make you a little less happy. This book sort of pushes you in the direction of a robust social life.

Nic Marks makes some excellent points about how environmentalists try to scare you into changing. Would it not be better to have the goal of happiness? I know I'm convinced. After all, happier people have better immune systems and live longer.

While one of the five ways to personal well-being doesn't include having an unlimited supply of books (my personal goal) it does explain how volunteering your time can make you happier. I also truly believe that spending money on other people will make you happier than buying tons of stuff for yourself. So much of this book is totally true!

I think if I could wish for anything in regards to this book it would be that it was longer. I see room for improvement in the area of detailed information in how to implement a happiness plan. I think the concepts in this book are great but maybe more information is needed so you can effectively attract more happiness into your life.

Still, this is a good place to start! I think buying this book was money well spent.

~The Rebecca Review
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish that this would become a policy of all governments.
I loved this concept. I've been saying for a very long time that companies don't have to continually chase ever-growing profits. Read more
Published 25 days ago by spersephone
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable short
this is a great book with lots of inspiration and practical advice on how to be happy. Happiness is, for the most part, a lifestyle choice.
Published 4 months ago by H. Hyvarinen
5.0 out of 5 stars Money or Happiness
This is an extraordinary undertaking which clearly shows the progression from a loving family based social system into a greedy acquisitive consumer based society. Read more
Published 7 months ago by AnneCelest
4.0 out of 5 stars THE HAPPINESS MANIFESTO
I LIKE THIS BOOK BECAUSE THE AUTHOR PROPOSE A DIFFERENTE FORM OF MEASURE THE WELL BEING OF PEOPLE TRUGHTHE WORLD. Read more
Published 10 months ago by RICARDO
3.0 out of 5 stars Hey I'm a happy guy anyway
This is one of many books available on Amazon.com that I continue to buy in hopes that there will be some secret to making me happy all the time I don't think that's possible and I... Read more
Published 12 months ago by jonny irish
4.0 out of 5 stars A prescription for happiness...
Terrific little essay on personal and national well-being; instead of focusing on GDP/economic growth/materialism, we should cultivate other intangible (and, therefore, difficult... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dewey Black
4.0 out of 5 stars Intersting viewpoint
This was an interesting point of view, since most people are stuck in the rabbit race of consumerism . Read more
Published 18 months ago by Adrian
3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, unfocused manifesto
Well, isn't that a great idea? we have several indexes to measure how well countries are going. Most famous of them all is the GDP, but some other are also popular such as Gini and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Danilo Moret
2.0 out of 5 stars Keep your laws off my happiness
This manifesto offers a set of five suggestions for individuals to increase their happiness and a set of seven suggestions for governments to increase the happiness of their... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Mec
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
This is a great read for our current times. Hopefully more people read this so that real change can come about.
Published on July 31, 2012 by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

Nic Marks is Founder of the centre for well-being and has led the well-being programme at the new economics foundation (nef), a London based think tank since 2001. Nic is a recognised expert in the field of well-being research and undertakes innovative research in the use of well-being indicators in public policy environments. Nic was the lead author of nef's innovative Happy Planet Index, a global index of human well-being and environmental impact. He was an advisor to the UK Government Office for Science's Foresight project on 'mental capital and well-being" which was published in October 2008, which included the creation of "the five ways to well-being". Nic is regularly asked to attend speaking engagements and occupies a number of advisory positions as a result of his pioneering research. In July 2010 he gave a talk at the prestigious and influential TED global conference in Oxford.
The Happiness Manifesto, is his first published book and is one of the three inaugural TED books, short books for the digital media market that support their 'ideas worth spreading' platform.



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