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

Davies, Will. 2015. The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being. London: Verso. ISBN 9781781688458 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

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.

Item Type:



happiness, neoliberalism, psychology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



May 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Mar 2016 15:24

Last Modified:

08 Mar 2021 09:55


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