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Happiness: lessons from a new science

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Richard Layard|
Penguin UK (March 2005)

In this landmark book, Richard Layard shows that there is a paradox at the heart of our lives. Most people want more income. Yet as societies become richer, they do not become happier. This is not just anecdotally true, it is the story told by countless pieces of scientific research. We now have sophisticated ways of measuring how happy people are, and all the evidence shows that on average, people have grown no happier in the last fifty years, even as average incomes have more than doubled. In fact, the First World has more depression, more alcoholism and more crime than fifty years ago. This paradox is true of Britain, the United States, continental Europe and Japan. What is going on?


Press cuttings


There is no 'paradox of prosperity' (5 Jan 06)
Economic growth does not make people happier, the pursuit of mass affluence is at best futile and is probably responsible for making humanity miserable. Article refers to the Richard Layard's book Happiness: lessons from a new science, in which he states 'There is a paradox at the heart of our lives. Most people want more income and strive for it. Yet as Western societies have got richer, their people have become no happier.' Lord Layard is emeritus professor of government at LSE.

A week in books (21 April 06)
Happiness: Lessons from a New Science is written by leading economist Richard Layard and explores the importance of happiness to society and the economy.

Why politicians should not be fooled into the promotion of happiness (20 April 06)
Professor Richard Layard, author of the book, Happiness: lessons from a new science, has had influence on politics, particularly with the expected tilt of Government's policy towards psychotherapy. 

Walking the happy talk (30 Nov 05)
Lord Richard Layard, a professor at LSE and author of the well-known book Happiness: lessons from a new science, is commented on in relation to the new government plans aimed at transforming the mental wellbeing of millions of people across the UK. 

Business Recorder
Will a bigger salary make you happier? (15 Nov 05)
According to Richard Layard, director of the Centre on Economic Performance at LSE and author of Happiness: lessons from a new science, cites research that implies that although the United States has experienced extensive economic growth since 1950, people today are no happier overall than they were in the 1950s. And this same theory holds true in other wealthy, developed nations, such as Japan and Britain.

Sunday Times
Eureka: now we can legislate for happiness (31 July 05)
Richard Layard, emeritus professor at LSE, key new Labour adviser, and Lord Layard of Highgate since 2000, wants us to stop fretting about economic growth so much and try to be happier. He tells us so in his latest book, Happiness: lessons from a new science.

Sunday Telegraph
A dismal scientist with some funny ideas of happiness (31 July 05)
Book review of Richard Layard's Happiness: lessons from a new science.

Independent on Sunday
Spirit the smileometer (31 July 05)
Lord Richard Layard, Professor at LSE, and author of Happiness: lessons from a new science, states: 'The competition between countries to achieve greater GDP growth is quite undignified, and is what leads to the pressure and anxiety that our children experience at school. Instead, the competition should be about happiness.'

The 60-second business book (23 June 05)
Brief interview with LSE Professor Richard Layard on his book Happiness.

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Ponder higher taxes at your leisure (13 April 05)
Review of Richard Layard, Happiness.

Happiness? Who needs it? (10 April 05)
Book review of Richard Layard's Happiness: lessons from a new science. 

The Business
Money alone cannot buy happiness - but it's a start (3 April 05)
Critics of consumer society, including LSE's Lord Layard's, author of a book on the relation between happiness and rising standards of wealth, fail to understand that capitalism's role is not to make us happy but to provide us with material wealth, giving us more options over the way we live.
No direct link

Daily Express
Some things money can't buy - do we still know what they are? (19 March 05)
Richard Layard of the London School of Economics has written a book entitled: Happiness: lessons from a new science, in which he argues that once poverty and discomfort have been eliminated, extra income is much less important than human relationships.
No link available

New Statesman
P 50-51. A forced smile (14 March 05)
Book review of Richard Layard's Happiness: lesions from a new science.
No direct link

Measure happiness? It's not that simple (8 March 05)
What makes me unhappy is telling colleagues that I'm writing a piece on happiness, and having each of them sing the first terrible bars from Ken Dodd's 60s aural assault on the psyche, Happiness - more a virus than a tune...In Richard (Lord) Layard's much-discussed new book Happiness: lessons from a new science, it transpires that happiness is as measurable as lentils. 

Blair's Green antidote to beating the blues (8 March 05)
The Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is planning to compile a wellbeing index, which includes a number of factors other than income (neighbourhood, mental health, access to green areas etc.) A book recently published by LSE professor Richard Layard argues that we are no happier now than 50 years ago. 

Life, Labour and the pursuit of happiness (7 March 05)
Happiness is all the rage. The year kicked off with a big conference in the United States on the subject, then Professor Richard Layard, LSE, published a book on it and now the government is getting into it. Professor Layard thinks happiness should become the biggest goal for the government. He suggests things such as compulsory parenting classes and lessons in emotional intelligence from the age of five onwards. 

Western Daily Press
Make life smiles better instead of just making miserable money (5 March 05)
Review of Happiness: lessons from a new science, the book by LSE Professor Richard Layard in which he argues that, in spite of higher levels of income, we are no happier than we were 50 years ago. 
No direct link

Financial Times
Joy divisions (5 March 05)
Review of the book by leading economist Richard Layard, Happiness: Lessons on a new science on the relation between increasing wealth and decreasing happiness in the Western World. The article's author interviewed Mr Layard in his LSE office.

Western Mail, Wales
'Aim to be happy, not rich' says economist (5 March 05)
Reference to Richard Layard's, new book Happiness: Lessons from a new science.

The bureaucrats of bliss (4 March 05)
Book review Happiness: lessons from a new science by Richard Layard
No direct link

Comment & Analysis: Most people's hopes are not located in their wallets (3 March 05)
New Labour won't inspire voters until it recovers its moral authority. Reference to the work of Richard Layard, LSE, argues that happiness stops increasing at quite a low level of income, and after that is about our relationships. 

Independent on Sunday
TV, MMR and others (27 Feb 05)
Television makes people happier, not more violent. Reference to research by Richard Layard on happiness.

Business Report, South Africa
Why Manuel strives to improve gross domestic happiness (22 Feb 05)
Reference to work by Richard Layard on happiness.

Washington Post, US
Happy Yet? (15 Feb)
Interview with Richard Layard, LSE, about his new book Happiness.

Happiness is no laughing matter (16 Feb 05)
Richard Layard, LSE, in Happiness: lessons from a new science, calls for no less than a revolution at academic, governmental and individual levels, as well as greater altruism and compassion in society at large. 'Happiness should become the goal of policy, and the progress of national happiness should be measured and analysed as closely as the growth of GNP,' declares Layard.

Sunday Herald
Smile ... why happiness is better than riches (14 Feb 05)
In his new book Happiness, Richard Layard, who advised the Labour Party on unemployment issues from 1997 to 2001 and who is founder of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE, urges the government to monitor our happiness as closely as it monitors gross domestic product. Only by doing this, he says, can the government produce sound economic and social policies which will make for a happy and healthy society.

Business Week
Are the wealthy really happier? (28 Jan 05)
In his book entitled Happiness, Lord Richard Layard, LSE, says economic growth can have negative consequences that may cancel out the gains.

BBC News Online
Why money doesn't buy happiness (27 Jan 05)
If getting rich makes us happy, then why don't countries as a whole get happier as they grow wealthier? Lord Layard, professor at LSE and author of the book Happiness, quoted.

Can't buy it? (15 Jan 05)
Review of Richard Layard's Happiness: lessons from a new science.