Happy Ever After: Escaping The Myth of The Perfect Life
Paul Dolan, the bestselling author of Happiness by Design, shows us how to escape the myth of perfection and find our own route to happiness.
Be ambitious; find everlasting love; look after your health ... There are countless stories about how we ought to live our lives. These narratives can make our lives easier, and they might sometimes make us happier too. But they...more
Dolan is a behavioral scientist and thus has, not surprisingly, a very scientific way of looking at this. However, I liked it that he made it more human and relatable by giving his own interpretations of things at times, whilst still leaving space for readers ...more
I could go on about what I liked and didn't like, but overall I wasn't the biggest fan because it was sort of boring... it took me for ...more
This book is a fascinating read and an excellent chance for self and societal reflection. While I found the introduction very academic (it’s been a long time since I used the word deontological), the rest of the book gave a broad overview of the societal stories we continue to tell ourselves. It doesn’t seek to be an authority on each topic or to cover the field, but force introspection and assessment of how we continue to believe and uphold those narratives.
While the arguments in the ...more
I was off to a bad start with this book when the author proclaimed that as an LSE professor he was not expected to swear. He then goes on to say that there is ...more
By the way, forget what you knew about class theory. Apparently class is determined by your leisure activities. This guy sure has a chip on his shoulder about being into body building.
However, he has jumped well on the bandwagon by putting 'happiness' in the title, so it will surely sell a lot in our miserable modern societies. ...more
Unfortunately, it's dull as ditchwater. There's a lot of facts and figures which will be appealing to sociology students, but make it a hard reader to the lay person.
Each chapter opens with pointless questions about whether you'd rather be happy or [fill in blank] and miserable. When you put things into that context, of course most people will choose happiness for t ...more
Some surprising challenges in here to received wisdom - higher education doesn't make you any happier, single women without children are the happiest subgroup of the population, and self-interested altr ...more
The author is an authentic working class voice and also discusses the impact of social class and percieved success which is always a win. I think perhaps a look into how social class when linked to other discriminating characteristics such as sex, gender or race would have provided an extra emphasis!
Didnt agree with all of it but it did challenge thinking! ...more
The author makes you ask if you'd rather your friend follow each of these narrative or rather be happy. He asks the same questions about yourselves. He reveals that most of us force ourselves to follow the narratives but are much less strict with frineds to whom we rather wish happiness even if it should mean that they would not follow these socially accepted norms.
The narrati ...more
One of the most interesting ideas in the book was that we should be careful about how we define happiness. The author takes th ...more
He asks questions at the beginning of every chapter like (totally paraphrasing from memory) 'Would you rather be highly educated but miserable most of the time, or have little education but be happy most of the time?' and the same question about a friend (ie 'would ...more
Dolan explores the dichotomy between what our society defines as "success" - which is supposed to be fulfilling and make us happy - and actually being fulfilled. Getting a good education and then landing a good job, getting married, and having children may be filling of one's time, but not necessarily fulfilling (obviously).
Using statistics, data, and anecdotes, Dolan explores ...more
The good: This does an excellent job of debunking some of the most widely held beliefs about the good life. The stats are all relevant and powerful.
The bad: This is more of a philosophical challenge. The author is strictly individualist and exclusively utilitarian, and I take issue with it. He poses the argument over whether something is right solely in individualist terms specifically deontological vs. utilitarian, completely missing Aristoteli ...more