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Happy Ever After: Escaping The Myth of The Perfect Life
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Happy Ever After: Escaping The Myth of The Perfect Life

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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 ca

Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published January 17th 2019 by Allen Lane
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  82 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Happy Ever After by Paul Dolan is a book about uncovering myths about a perfect life. These myths, also known as the happiness narrative, are what we tend to think what makes us happy, but often we are better off abandoning this narrative.

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
Michael Cayley
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-nonfiction
A book by a behavioural scientist whose main theme is to bring out the extent to which our life choices and desires - career, wealth, family, health, charitable giving etc - are frequently conditioned by “social narratives” - that is, cultural assumptions and expectations that may actually not correspond to what makes for happiness. The book adopts a “utilitarian” standpoint - what makes for greater happiness - and argues that evidence shows that people are happier if they do not let themselves ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
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
Michael Huang
The claims is: Some common beliefs of what leads to happiness held by society just aren’t backed up by data. Duh.
Lynn Brown
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Based on the description for this book I thought I was going to be reading a self-help book. But instead I found it to be more like a text book for academics on the subject of happiness complete with graphs, or in the case of my kindle ARC no graphs, which wasn't helpful. I can only assume if you buy the kindle edition there will be graphs.

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
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that won't be easy reading for many people simply because it forces one to question some of our most basic beliefs. But if one manages to keep an open mind and allow Dolan's arguments to take shape in one's mind, it might just convince some people that there are different paths to happiness. The tough topics addressed by the author are more than counterbalanced by the easy prose and the lucidity. I highly recommend this book to people who often ask me whether it is important to ge ...more
Helen French
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Dolan seeks to bust the common myths about how we think we need to live in order to be happy. i.e. we are sold the fact that education will make us happy, or wealth, or marriage, but when you look at the stats, who's actually happier?

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
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this strangely (and positively) different self-help book, Paul Donlan focuses on explaining to us all the myths of the so-called "successful" life, as well as the reasons why it is something that can never actually be achieved.

The book is broken down to simple everyday aspects of our lives, in which the "perfect" life is founded, like work success, wealth, and marriage. Backed up by actual studies and data, the chapters are both very interesting and enjoyable. Dolan provides examples, asks v
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Another book I tried to enjoy, because I like behavioural economics and science based self help.
Some very good points and advice made unpalatable by the heavy hand of Malthusian doom and gloom about how humans are overpopulating the planet and our grandchildren are all going to die a horrible death by global warming (or whatever the moving disaster target du jour is).
I'm happy to disagree with a number of the conclusions, I'm grateful for the opportunity to get out of my own narrative
Giovanna Walker
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Agree with some other commentators here, the message is interesting, however repetitive. There are some technical terms that make it a bit of a struggle sometimes, however the premise is interesting. Falling into social narratives of what we 'should' like/enjoy/do. Being one who has never really fit into the social narrative, been an outsider that is, my thinking is a bit different to start with, I've never been on of the 'pack'. Personally or professionally I haven't 'fitted in' to many social ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Namby pamby arguments, the whole point of this book seems to be to promote the author's schtick as "working class professor".
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.
Blondi Barnet
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well done for allowing other stories to be voiced and ok

Allows us to question what we think is right or will bring us happiness. Allows us to consider changes in our lives that go against the grain in order to reduce misery rather than 'find happiness'. Keep the conversation out there and in public domain
Mar 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Don't get married, don't have kids, party hard, eat fat and get fat, settle down at $75k per annum. Not that I don't find some of it appealing. But (a) it's one man's vision of happiness and not a recipe, and (b) it misses out on do much (like learning, seeing the world, etc.). I'd give it a negative rating if I could.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Happiness in Theory

The writer tries to formulate a personal subjective and discrete process called happiness in that book I think he should be thanked for his sincere observations It is a good read
Judi Mckay
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really thought provoking. My take away is that happiness is made more by focusing on reducing misery, than aspiring to “make it” as judged by common social narratives. And experiences matter, not the stories we tell about them. But that is just my take in a really interesting book

Ruchin Gupta
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a simple mindset yet profoundly difficult to adapt
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