The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn't Working Today

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9780060859503: The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn't Working Today

Jennifer Michael Hecht explodes the myths about happiness, liberating us from the message that there's only one way to care for our hearts, minds, and bodies.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Michael Hecht is a philosopher, historian, and award-winning poet. She is the author of Doubt: A History and The End of the Soul; the latter won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2004 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award. Hecht's books of poetry include The Next Ancient World and Funny. She earned her Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and teaches at The New School in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

History teaches us, contrary to popular belief, that money can buy happiness, drugs are mostly good, low-fat diets may not prevent cancer or heart disease. For Hecht, the assumptions about happiness that guide our actions are distorted by myths, fantasies and "nonsensical" cultural biases. Taking a tour of historical and contemporary ideas of happiness, Hecht (Doubt: A History) demonstrates that women's clothes shopping is a celebratory act of freedom from the long nights their ancestors spent spinning, and that the shopping mall gives us back some of the social intimacy of group activity that consumerism wiped out of our lives. In the 1830s, Sylvester Graham encouraged Americans to identify whole-grain, home-baked bread with happiness, a notion still embodied today in myriad message-carrying birthday and anniversary cakes. Our love of sports and exercise stems from Southern slaveholders' need to distance themselves from heavy labor and its connotation of slavery, and from the Protestant equation of happiness with aggressive self-control and self-denial. American ambivalence about drugs reflects our fears about unproductive happiness and palliatives that numb us into complacency. Although the erudite Hecht (Doubt: A History) sometimes loses her audience in verbose, philosophical dissections, her energetic romp through the arbitrariness of history's ideas about happiness is eclectic and entertaining, providing ample perspective on the rituals that make us human. (Apr.)
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Historian Jennifer Michael Hecht looks at contemporary happiness advice, explains why much of it doesn t work, and why it drives us crazy and makes us miserable. Using a social/pop-culture look at the world, she begins her inquiry through the lens of today s most oft perused paths towards attaining happiness - money, mood-managing drugs, knowledge, celebration, and bodies - and then reveals unsuspected insights about how these approaches have faired throughout history. With a new-found historical perspective, Hecht liberates us from the scolding, quasi-scientific messages that insist there s only one way to care for our minds and bodies. Rich with anecdotes about both failed and successful paths to happiness, Hecht traces a common thread of advice she calls our charm wisdom that we can still apply today to create authentic, lasting happiness. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780060859503

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Book Description HarperOne. Book Condition: New. Looks at contemporary happiness advice, explains why much of it doesn't work, and why it drives us crazy and makes us miserable. This book traces a common thread of advice called 'our charm wisdom' that can be applied to create happiness. Num Pages: 368 pages. BIC Classification: VSP. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 203 x 135 x 21. Weight in Grams: 281. . 2008. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780060859503

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Book Description HarperOne, 2008. Book Condition: New. Looks at contemporary happiness advice, explains why much of it doesn't work, and why it drives us crazy and makes us miserable. This book traces a common thread of advice called 'our charm wisdom' that can be applied to create happiness. Num Pages: 368 pages. BIC Classification: VSP. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 203 x 135 x 21. Weight in Grams: 281. . 2008. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780060859503

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