Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Happiness Equation: The Surprising Economics of Our Most Valuable Asset Paperback – August 23, 2011
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
'An important, readable, incisive, and often marvellously funny book. The author is an international expert in the field and his deep knowledge shines through in the prose.' Andrew J Oswald, University of Warwick 'An adventure to one of the new frontiers of knowledge, this book is a masterful blend of personal experience, contemporary culture, and social science.' -- Richard Easterlin, University of Southern California 'This intelligent and entertaining book shows how the scientific study of happiness is changing the field of economics - and the world!' -- Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of 'STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS'
About the Author
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Other reviewers have complained that the book contains nothing that isn't both bleedingly obvious and known about for a very long time. I disagree; I learned quite a few interesting things about myself and my fellow humans that I had not previously known. It was also nice to have many of the things that I had acquired a gut-feeling about over the years confirmed through solid research. Dr Powdthavee also does a good job in writing for the lay reader, keeping the statistical jargon to a minimum and explaining the research methodology in clear and comprehensible language.
So where, then, does the problem lie?
Well, for one thing, there is very little real meat in this book (not something I normally complain about as a vegetarian, but you know what I mean). I could not decide whether the issue is that Nick Powdthavee feels that there is a constant need to shy away from discussing the actual economics of happiness because some of his previous experiences have demonstrated quite sharply that the English are, by and large, singularly ill disposed towards such things and that the subject therefore needs to be approached obliquely, if at all, and not dwelt upon for long. Or whether, in fact, he simply doesn't have a great deal to say. Either way, he himself seems to be uncomfortable disclosing both his intent and his findings and, to my mind at least, the book is pervaded by a disconcerting tone of defensiveness, tempered with an air of self denigration. I couldn't help feeling too that the book lacked focus and direction, for all that the author clearly lays out his road map at the beginning of the book.
In summary, the book presents a good position statement on the current state of the systematic study of the economics of happiness, and it could serve as an interesting introduction for those new to the subject, provided the reader can tolerate the personal asides to which the author is prone. Personally, I found the book oddly unsatisfying, leaving me disappointed overall. Maybe I just thought I wanted something different.
Powdthavee is certainly an enthusiastic writer, but his style and tone comes off as much more superficial than those of Seligman and Haidt. Maybe it's because much of core ideas of the book come from the fields in which they are much more versed. Add to that the fact that Haidt's book (did I mention it's wonderful?) is steeped in the philosophical, religious, and literary works of various civilizations, with some excellent insights.
Another shortcoming of the book has to do with that cheery tone. Other writers are a bit more pragmatic and honest about the limits to happiness and what we can do to markedly affect our feelings of satisfaction (i.e., what we can actually control, not genetics, past experiences, some circumstances, etc.). They then offer a very basic formula for what can account for one's overall level of happiness of life satisfaction, offering several good (and proven) suggestions for what we might do.
In this book, the author tries to take the "formula" part further by coming up with a bit more complicated equation for determining happiness. The problem, apart from taking a general guideline and tool not held to be gospel and trying to make so, is that Powdthavee doesn't seem to consider as deeply the real limits. Or at least his treatment doesn't seem as sincere or accurate.
The book comes off, then, a bit more infomercial-y than necessary, although it's not to say that Powdthavee is necessarily off the mark or touting pure fluff. He has done his research and means well. It just doesn't work quite as well. But again, maybe I'd feel differently had I not ready those other works recently.
By all means, read the book, but if you have to choose, I'd go with Haidt's "Happiness Hypothesis," or maybe some other similarly themed book.