Book Review: World Book of Happiness

by Leo Bormans

Receiving the book, I thought to myself: do we really need another introduction to ‘happiness’? That oh-so-loose word which (despite the best efforts of Action for Happiness) is like a thread-bare jumper, so stretched out of shape through use and abuse that it no longer has any one identity. Even Martin Seligman has given up hope of redeeming the word.

And yet, I was pleasantly surprised by The World Book of Happiness. It’s a kind of encyclopaedia of happiness, made up of contributions from dozens of the major global contributors to Positive Psychology. Yet it’s pluralistic in tone, and refreshingly free of the arrogant stuffiness that often accompanies books based on academic research.

Despite being a large, heavy book, the imaginative formatting and images give it a light and friendly feel. As a coffee table book, or a gift for someone with muddled priorities, it would be ideal. If the writing is slightly wooden at times, it more than redeems itself by cultivating in the reader the very thing it advocates: wellbeing.

Reviewer

Edward Pinkney (Cohort 6)

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