Are you happy? Does it matter? Increasingly, governments seem to think so. As the UK government conducts its first happiness survey, Alastair Campbell looks at happiness as a political as well as a personal issue; what it should mean to us, what it means to him.
Taking in economic theories and the example of Bhutan - which measures 'gross national happiness' ahead of gross domestic product - he questions how happiness can survive in a grossly negative media culture, and how it could inform social policy.
But happiness is also deeply personal. Campbell, who suffers from depression, looks in the mirror and finds a bittersweet reflection, a life divided between the bad and not-so-bad days, where the highest achievements in his professional life could leave him numb, and he can somehow look back on a catastrophic breakdown 25 years ago as the best thing that happened to him; he writes too of what he has learnt from the recent death of his best friend, further informing his view that the pursuit of happiness is a long game.
Part of the Brain Shots series, the pre-eminent source for high quality, short-form digital non-fiction.
Good book to read if you have gone through a depressive phase in your life. Written by a sharp man.
Excellent book to listen to and very informative although a bit short in length ok
Campbell's name may provoke reaction, but take time to absorb this sensitive, thoughtful and carefully researched pamphlet on the human condition, as applied to Life in Britain today,
Alastair's biographical qualifications, and journalistic credentials, make him a passionate advocate of happiness-oriented policy. I listened through in a single session and was absorbed by the combination of personal journal and constructive debate.
Highly recommended (PS I almost never award 5 stars!)