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America the anxious : how our pursuit of happiness is creating a nation of nervous wrecks

Author: Ruth Whippman
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2016.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First U.S. editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
Are you happy? Right now? Happy enough? As happy as everyone else? Could you be happier if you tried harder? After she packed up her British worldview (that most things were basically rubbish) and moved to America, journalist and documentary filmmaker Ruth Whippman found herself increasingly perplexed by the American obsession with one topic above all others: happiness. The subject came up everywhere: at the  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Nonfiction
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ruth Whippman
ISBN: 9781250071521 1250071526 1250146054 9781250146052
OCLC Number: 953738325
Description: 247 pages ; 22 cm
Contents: Coming to America: obsessed with happiness, but nobody's happy --
Personal journey? it's not all about you --
Happiness for sale: self-help America --
Workaholics --
"I don't care as long as he's happy": dispatches from the parenting happiness rat race --
God's plan of happiness --
I'm not a happy person, I just play one on facebook --
Positive psychology (or if you're not happy, it's your own fault, you lazy schmuck) --
Star-spangled happy.
Responsibility: Ruth Whippman.

Abstract:

Are you happy? Right now? Happy enough? As happy as everyone else? Could you be happier if you tried harder? After she packed up her British worldview (that most things were basically rubbish) and moved to America, journalist and documentary filmmaker Ruth Whippman found herself increasingly perplexed by the American obsession with one topic above all others: happiness. The subject came up everywhere: at the playground swings, at the meat counter in the supermarket, and even -- legs in stirrups -- at the gynecologist. The omnipresence of these happiness conversations (trading tips, humble-bragging successes, offering unsolicited advice) wouldn't let her go, and so Ruth did some digging. What she found was a paradox: despite the fact that Americans spend more time and money in search of happiness than any other nation on earth, research shows that the United States is one of the least contented, most anxious countries in the developed world. Stoked by a multi-billion dollar "happiness industrial complex" intent on selling the promise of bliss, America appeared to be driving itself crazy in pursuit of contentment. So Ruth set out on to get to the bottom of this contradiction, embarking on an pilgrimage to investigate how this national obsession infiltrates all areas of life, from religion to parenting, the workplace to academia. She attends a controversial self-help course that promises total transformation, where she learns all her problems are all her own fault; visits a "happiness city" in the Nevada desert and explores why it has one of the highest suicide rates in America; delves into the darker truths behind the influential academic "positive psychology movement"; and ventures to Utah to spend time with the Mormons, officially America's happiest people.

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