THE HAPPINESS INDUSTRY: HOW THE GOVERNMENT AND BIG BUSINESS SOLD US WELL-BEING by William Davies

The Happiness Industry.jpg
The Happiness Industry.jpg

THE HAPPINESS INDUSTRY: HOW THE GOVERNMENT AND BIG BUSINESS SOLD US WELL-BEING by William Davies

6.00

320 PAGES
©2015
Verso Books

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In winter 2014, a Tibetan monk lectured the world leaders gathered at Davos on the importance of Happiness. The recent DSM-5, the manual of all diagnosable mental illnesses, for the first time included shyness and grief as treatable diseases. Happiness has become the biggest idea of our age, a new religion dedicated to well-being.

In this brilliant dissection of our times, political economist William Davies shows how this philosophy, first pronounced by Jeremy Bentham in the 1780s, has dominated the political debates that have delivered neoliberalism. From a history of business strategies of how to get the best out of employees, to the increased level of surveillance measuring every aspect of our lives; from why experts prefer to measure the chemical in the brain than ask you how you are feeling, to whyFreakonomics tells us less about the way people behave than expected, The Happiness Industry is an essential guide to the marketization of modern life. Davies shows that the science of happiness is less a science than an extension of hyper-capitalism.

“Deeply researched and pithily argued, Davies’s work is a welcome corrective to the glut of semi-scientific happiness books that have become so popular in business and management circles, and which rarely, if ever, acknowledge the larger ideological goals of workplace well-being.”New York Magazine

“Skillfully written intellectual entertainment—prime fodder for postmodern psychologists and New-Age thinkers alike.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Davies, explaining the evolution of the science of happiness from the French Revolution to the present, argues it essentially serves the interests of the powerful elite. This challenging book will appeal to academics and students of various disciplines.”Booklist

William Davies is the author of The Limits of Neoliberalism. His writing has appeared in New Left ReviewProspect, the Financial Times, and Open Democracy. His website www.potlatch.co.uk was featured in the New York Times. He teaches at Goldsmiths, London.

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