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Publisher's Summary

What was a Buddhist monk doing at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos lecturing the world's leaders on mindfulness? Why do many successful corporations have a chief happiness officer? What can the chemical composition of your brain tell a potential employer about you?

In the past decade, governments and corporations have become increasingly interested in measuring the way people feel: the Happiness index, Gross National Happiness, well-being and positive psychology have come to dominate the way we live our lives. As a result, our emotions have become a new resource to be bought and sold.

In a fascinating investigation combining history, science and ideas, William Davies shows how well-being influences all aspects of our lives: business, finance, marketing and smart technology.

This audiobook will make you rethink everything from the way you work, the power of the Nudge, the ever-expanding definitions of depression, and the commercialization of your most private feelings. The Happiness Industry is a shocking and brilliantly argued warning about the new religion of the age: our emotions.

©2015 William Davies (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"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)
"When the 18th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham suggested that maximising happiness was the job of government, he inspired a quest to measure happiness that continues today. Until recently, the only effective tool for that - as the political scientist Will Davies explains in a forceful new book, The Happiness Industry - has been money." ( Observer)
"As Davies implies in this readable, disturbing book, being depressed by the human condition will no longer be socially acceptable, or even an option. The state or big business will soon see to it!" ( Independent)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dry but informative

I mostly read nonfiction books, so I'm well accustomed to a book not being an enthralling read. I typically prefer facts and figures to flowery language or colorful illustrations of the information I'm trying to learn. So, when I say that this book was "dry" I mean that it was utterly Saharan in delivery. This book has incredible information in it, it is filled with critical data about how we're being manipulated as a people by those who understand the way we thing, but it is not something that is easily approachable. My biggest grievance against this book is that information it seeks to impart is important and it needs to do so in a way that is more approachable to people who haven't pursued higher education focused on marketing or psychology.

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  • David Jackson
  • 06-23-16

Interesting but hard to follow

This seemed like a fascinating subject but although it certainly was thought-provoking, raising some very valid points, I felt that it could have been done better. It felt like too much emphasis was placed on the history of utilitarianism without sufficiently clarifying the connection to the modern day "happiness industry". This is not to say I disagreed. I could definitely see the author's point. However, I just feel it could have been made better.

On the narration: I know that it's hard to find the right tone when narrating a book on this subject. I don't know however, if there is any need to sound literally depressed as one is doing the reading. It actually did make the listening experience worse.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-07-18

This became my favourite book.

Comprehensive and efficient book. Davies didn't waste any words writing it, I definitely recommend it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy Bee
  • 05-25-17

Strawmen, babies & bathwater

One aspect of the argument is persuasive - the way that power can and will coopt anything it can, and has a particular fondness for the soft science of the soft matter. The actual argumentation - less so. On the one hand there is an insistence on the inviolable subject that borders on dualism, one so complete that established neuroscience is discussed in ways that resemble nothing so much as the language of climate change denial, and on the other, a valorisation of a select number of voices who simply state clearly the implications of much current psychology & well-being research - as if a climate change denier were also, simultaneously, to blame the science for hypocritical greenwashing. It's frustrating, since, while the co-option of psych by the adman and the government lackey is not exactly news, a book synthesising the radical implications of the positive psychology movement is more than due. As it is, the author does not fully acknowledge how high - if his thesis about the intight & instrumental nature of psychology & power is correct - this particular petard could blow .

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  • Snehal Sidhu
  • 10-22-16

A decent philosoohical and historical critique

Interesting. Some ideas were pretty familiar, But I learnt a fair bit. I disagreed with a fair bit too, which is no bad thing.

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  • Zak
  • 05-09-16

first time listener

My first time listening to audible so had lapses of attention but the book presents thought provoking questions and scenarios. Especially when it comes to advertising

Good to know the origins too but felt like it had been covered a bit too much.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful