Spread a Little Happiness

Reference work entry

What makes people happy? For many, the question is rhetorical. Happiness is an abstract concept shaped into something tangible by individual choice. What delights one person can drive another to distraction. That said, on the biggest concerns of life there must be some common ground. Most of us accept that a comfortable income brings greater happiness than poverty. Maybe there are other, less obvious, areas of consensus. Could it be that what divides us in terms of personal choice has been allowed to obfuscate the essentials of a happy state?

There are politicians who believe so. Some time before he became Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron was arguing that simple economic indicators tell only half the story. His call for the ‘big society’, which he carried over into government, remains short on detail. But in so far as he is promoting a more active community spirit he is signalling a retraction of the rampant individualism that favours material prosperity over all other forms of...

More Reading

  1. Daniel Dorling, Injustice. Why Social Inequality Persists The Policy Press, 2011Google Scholar
  2. Pascal Bruckner, Perpetual Euphoria. On the Duty to be Happy Princeton University Press, 2011Google Scholar
  3. Michael Foley, The Age of Absurdity. Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy Simon & Schuster, 2010Google Scholar
  4. Richard Layard, Happiness: Lessons From a New Science Penguin, 2011 (2nd revised ed)Google Scholar
  5. Martin Seligman, A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being and How to Achieve Them Nicholas Brealey, 2011Google Scholar
  6. Ivan Robertson and Cary Cooper, Well-Being, Productivity and Happiness at Work Palgrave Macmillan, 2011Google Scholar

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