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The Happiness Myth by Jennifer Michael Hecht

The Happiness Myth

by Jennifer Michael Hecht

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I have read this writer before, and enjoyed her work. But this book is a strange melange of self-help book, inspirational talk of the type that bosses insist on subjecting you to year after annoying year, and a screed against people who think they know what happiness is. There is an underlying anti-intellectual thread while throwing around the big names of philosophy by an intellectual who has read and studied all of that. Overall, not satisfying, so I cut it short. As I've said before, life's too short to read bad books.
  quantum_flapdoodle | Apr 26, 2014 |
I read the first 8 or 10 pages and thought everything she said was trite and disagreed with almost all of her statements (which all seemed to be presented as statements of fact and not opinion).

That’s not really giving it much of a chance, so maybe I’ll try again later.
  bongo_x | Apr 6, 2013 |
There's a lot of substance and a lot of interesting history in this book, but it's frequently not easy to extract the content from the writing. The author is overly fond of obscure analogies, cute witticisms, and a sort of stream-of-consciousness style that requires an unreasonable amount of effort from the reader (and I am, I like to think, not an extremely lazy reader) to follow her train of thought. I found myself, for substantial sections of text, wanting to find and personally berate her editor. Other parts are much more intelligible, and there is plenty that's worth thinking about, although there are also subjects that she treats in a rather facile way. Neuroscience especially gets rather superficial and overly simplified discussion, which bothered me since this is an area where I am more knowledgeable. Her tendency to bend neuroscience to support her particular arguments also made me distrustful of her arguments in areas of philosophy and history that I know less about. ( )
2 vote katieinseattle | Oct 25, 2009 |
Unable to get beyond doubt, Hecht ends up advocating nothing much. ( )
  Audacity88 | Dec 24, 2008 |
intelligent, stimulating, unusual ( )
  zina | Nov 1, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Still everyone assumed that adults needed to take it easy on their bodies, and this idea went nicely with all the new appliances and conveniences that came into society in the 1950s. It also went well with martinis.
...the person who believes most in scientific progress believes least in scientific knowledge, because the conviction that we will progress assures me that much of what we now know will someday soon be proved wrong, or be considered totally off the point.
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Hecht, author of Doubt: A History (2003), confronts modern assumptions about what it means to be happy, investigating four factors frequently involved in happiness--drugs, money, bodies, and celebration--historically in sections on the wisdom of happiness through the ages, "good" and "bad" drugs and telling the difference, the relationship of money and happiness, the physicality of the body, and the ritual of celebration. There are three kinds of happiness, she maintains, those roused by a good day, by euphoria, and by a happy life.… (more)

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