Book review: Happiness explained: What human flourishing Is and how we can promote It
In Happiness explained: What human flourishing Is and how we can promote It, Paul Anand argues that we should move beyond GDP to instead consider subjective wellbeing as a substantial, significant and necessary measure of national, governmental and individual success. While Jake Eliot suggests that the book does not always fully contend with the significant challenge of deploying this framework in the realm of public policy, it does sterling work of mapping the emergent territory of happiness and wellbeing and convinces of the need to move beyond narrow understandings of outcomes.
This review highlights the breadth of studies referenced in Happiness explained across economics, social psychology and philosophy which may provide sufficient ammunition for those that believe that Sen’s approach to capabilities cannot be developed into an economic index for measurement and analysis. However, this guide does suggest we are getting closer to mapping the territory of wellbeing and developing usable checklists for citizens and policymakers to look beyond narrow outcomes or what appears immediately salient about experiences and interventions.