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The Happiness Curve

Why Life Gets Better After 50
Narrated by: Robert Fass
Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (155 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook will change your life by showing you how life changes. 

Why does happiness tend to get harder in your 40s? Why do you feel in a slump when you're successful? Where does this malaise come from, regardless of your gender, race, class or nationality? And, most importantly, will it ever end? 

Drawing on cutting-edge research and dozens of stories about a diverse set of people, award-winning journalist Jonathan Rauch answers all these questions. He shows that from our 20s into our 40s, happiness follows a U-shaped trajectory, declining from the optimism of youth into what's often a long, low slump in middle age, before starting to rise again in our 50s - and then yielding unexpected contentment and wisdom. 

Dismissing the popular myth of the midlife crisis, Rauch shows that the "happiness curve" does not usually indicate a period of disruption or dysfunction. Nor is it the result of bad personal choices or lack of gratitude. He reveals that the slump is completely natural, serving a vital psychological and social purpose. By shifting priorities away from competition and toward compassion, it equips you with new tools for wisdom and gratitude. You'll develop new values and see a change in who you are. 

Full of insights and data and featuring many ways to endure the slump and avoid its perils and traps, The Happiness Curve doesn't just show listeners the dark forest of midlife; it helps them find a path through the trees. It also shows how we can - and why we must - do more to help each other through the woods. 

©2018 Jonathan Rauch (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Robert Fass proves the perfect guide to exploring these concepts of age and happiness. Presenting the author’s personal journey, and his research and interviews, Robert keeps listeners engaged and tuned in to this fascinating study." (AudioFile Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Life Affirming

Must read for every 40-something. The book was well researched and meticulously written. This is not another pop psychology book. It’s not one of those “hack your life” books either. But the information is presented in a way that resonates with a general audience. As a woman, I found the first half of the first chapter a bit “privileged white male” sounding, which was initially off-putting. But I am so happy I did not make a hasty judgement and stop listening. The rest of the book is excellent and for me personally, chock full of the answers I’ve been seeking for years to no avail. I’ve been validated. I am encouraged. And for the first time in years, I have hope for my future.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Not a book-length subject

Interesting material, but Rauch is repetitive. This would have been better as a 5,000-word magazine article.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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NOW YOU TELL ME!!!

This is s great read. At 59 it explains we’ll the
Last 15 years of my life. It gives me insight into
The next 15 as well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • TN
  • 07-27-18

Enjoyable but repetitive

I enjoyed a lot of what Rauch shared, though he could be repetitive (maybe that will help me retain what I leaned but it felt unnecessary while listening). Overall I thought this was an interesting book with lots of good insights, well written, well told. Did feel he focused mostly on men, not a big deal, but they felt all the same.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good for your 50+ year soul!

Really good read! If you love a little self help combined with really good research and story telling you will love this book.
I wish I would have read this at 40 something instead of 50 something!!

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Fanatastic listen-I'm glad I am out of the "trough

Being in my middle 50's this book accurately describes my journey thus far. Never knew it was called the U curve. It is a very "heady" listen and you have to pay attention as there are many points that are important and relative. Worth a couple of listens to save more clips and refer back to later.

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Laborious listening

I always finish books I start. This was of little value and seemed unending. I found little to learn.

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Warm and well thought out. But way too long

An interesting Book. An interesting curve. But way too little points to take away for self help.

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Low on science, long (winded) on case reports

There is minimal science embedded in this book. The majority of it centers around the individual stories of people the author interviewed. The author is clearly a writer and not a scientist. He relies on evolution as an explanation for the happiness curve, neglecting the fact that life expectancy has changed dramatically. He seems to want to find the societal/communal benefit of it, rather than study it. He omits factors that could play a big role - including hormones. Find an executive summary and you can save yourself from having to learn about what somebody was wearing when he interviewed them.

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Enlightening!!

Incredibly well substantiated! This book reinforced a theory I had. Now, 48, I found this read to be extremely helpful and positive!