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In Search of Happiness: Understanding an Endangered State of Mind Paperback – February 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; 1 edition (February 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275994562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275994563
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,775,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Clinical psychologist Schumaker draws on insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, philosophy, economics, and religious studies in order to construct a biography of the life and death of happiness. He explores the essence of happiness in different cultures and different times and critiques the commercialized happiness of today's mass consumer society."

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Reference & Research Book News



"Your happiness will consist in whatever happens to make you happy, in whatever produces the highest levels of subjective well-being in you. John Schumaker's In Search of HappinesS≪/i> challenges this subjectivist view of happiness, particularly the idea that consumer happiness is the right kind of happiness to pursue….Schumaker deftly connects the shift toward earthly happiness to the rise of the self-help industry….While the call to get back to nature has been made before, and while it can sound dreamy and insensible, Schumaker makes a strong case against the values of consumer culture. If he is correct, then real happiness can only be achieved through the adoption of reasonable and sustainable values and through efforts to realize these values in the face of market forces that would have us simply work ourselves to death, and then spend the money on the biggest coffin we can afford."

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Metapsychology



"Schumaker's In Search of Happiness: Understanding an Endangered State of Mind ….[i]s a welcome addition to the bulging literature on happiness. Different from many other books on happiness, this one approaches the topic from a historical and cultural perspective rather than from that of the individual. By looking at the big picture, the author is able to examine the megaforces that shape our lives and to warn us of the perils of modernization and consumerism. Thus, this book is as much a cultural critic as a psychological analysis….[I] highly recommened Schumaker's book to anyone interested in the positive psychology of enhancing the human condition. This is a concise and coherent book on a very complex topic….Both scholars and the general public can benefit from reading this outstanding book….Schumaker has added a new dimension to the ongoing dialogue on the subject of happiness."

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PsycCRITIQUES

Book Description

Explores happiness across wide historical and cultural perspectives, including views from prehistoric happiness to the modern day obsession with happiness and also the future of happiness.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles D. Hayes on September 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
John F. Schumaker is one of the best explainers of psychology and the human condition on the planet. His book "Wings of Illusion" is one of my all time favorites and it deserves to be on the bestseller list as do all of his books. "The Corruption of Reality" is a book way ahead of its time and how prescient that "The Age of Insanity" was published in September 2001? "In Search of Happiness" puts the very thing that most people are searching for in the kind of perspective that would enable one to know when they have found it, and if not, why not. Schumaker warns us that "Happiness has become the dominant illusion of the modern age." And that "the concept of happiness has become so hallowed that it is beginning to resemble a cult or religious surrogate." Indeed, this is, the book about the thing that everybody wants. Highly recommended!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Abha Thakkar on August 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is outstanding. I really, really loved it. Not only is it relentlessly stimulating on a cognitive level, but it arouses deeper-level themes as well, leading the reader to take a long, honest look at his or her own life and the true meaning contained therein. I read it while camping in the Canadian wilderness, which made Schumaker's brilliant assessment of modern culture even more profound. In Search of Happiness offers a clear view of our social reality at a crucial time in human history. It rationally and lucidly calls into question many of society's most fundamental underpinnings. Never before have I had such a desire to live like a human being was meant to.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harrison Koehli on August 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
What an amazing work. After reading the book, I thought that perhaps the title was misleading. This is NOT your average happiness how-to book. Quite the contrary, it is a scathing critique of our very understanding of the term. Schumaker exposes the fake happiness to which entire nations seem keen to swarm, and the depression, anomie and apathy lying beneath the facade of smiling faces. In the process, he includes numerous "happiness keys" - short quotations from poets, authors, thinkers, scientists on the subject and uses them as springboards to speak his two cents. While the style is kind of stream of consciousness (unlike one other of his books that I've read: The Corruption of Reality: A Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychopathology), it all comes together in a coherent, devastating, and yet hopeful mosaic of ideas and observations that actually answers many of the questions surrounding that nebulous thing we call 'happiness'. He also identifies the reasons it is for us such an unreachable goal. Our entire world culture is for the most part designed to make it an impossibility: the fracturing of social ties, the rat race of profit and success, our unsustainable way of life.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kamil S. on October 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Thanks to the innate conditioning which is imposed upon us by our society, few realize the true situation they are in. This book provides an eye opening perspective of what our modern 'life' is truly doing to our welfare.

So if you've ever had that feeling that there is something more to it all, have a read. I'm twenty-two, and I can honestly say that reading this book has markedly changed the direction in which my life is heading.
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