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Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold us Well-Being

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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 book 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.

Author: Davies William
Publisher: VERSO
Pages: 314
ISBN: 9781781688458
Cover: Hardback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2015

William Davies teaches political economy and sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work explores the history of ideas, especially the history of economics, and how this helps us understand the present. He is the author of The Happiness Industry and The Limits of Neoliberalism, and regularly writes for the Guardian and London Review of Books.

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