Abstract In his book ‘‘The Politics of Happiness’’ Derek Bok argues that happiness should be a goal in public policy. He presents an inventory of social problems in the US with negative effects on happiness, like inadequate education, chronic pain, sleep disorders, depressions, divorce, single-parent families, and financial hardship. He presents interesting options to deal with these problems. He also pays attention to some more general happiness-issues for US-policymakers, like the question of economic growth without happiness and the reputation of the US-government. Bok’s findings are consistent with available data about the high levels of negative feelings in the US: stress, depressions, sadness, anger and worry. His message is quite clear: policy-makers can use the findings of happiness-research to improve their decisions.

, , , , , , , , , , ,
doi.org/10.1007/s10902-012-9328-4, hdl.handle.net/1765/34816
World Database of Happiness
Journal of Happiness Studies
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Ott, J. C. (2012). Americans value happiness but block required policies. Book review of ‘‘The Politics of Happiness; what governments can learn from the new research on well-being’’ by Derek Bok, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2010. Journal of Happiness Studies, March 2012, 353–361. doi:10.1007/s10902-012-9328-4