The Pursuit of Happiness: And Why it's Making Us Anxious

Author(s): Ruth Whippman


Are you happy? Right now? Happy enough? As happy as everyone else? Could you be happier if you tried harder? As your average cynical Brit, when Ruth Whippman moves to California, it seems to her that the American obsession with finding happiness is driving everyone crazy. But soon she starts to get sucked in. She meditates and tries 'mindful dishwashing'. She attends a self-help course that promises total transformation (and learns that all her problems are her own fault). She visits a strange Nevada happiness dystopia (with one of the highest suicide rates in America), delves into the darker truths behind the influential 'science of happiness', and even ventures to Utah, where she learns God's personal secret to eternal bliss. Ultimately she stumbles upon a more effective, less self-involved, less anxiety-inducing way to find contentment. Fantastically fresh, funny and honest, this is an eye-opening look at what happiness really means.


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A very funny debunking of our obsession with achieving happiness, which will appeal to readers of Bill Bryson, Louis Theroux and Pamela Duckerman.

"Funny yet unsettling ... Like Bill Bryson, Whippman has a willingness to play up cultural differences to comic effect ... She also has Bryson's sharp ear for language" Sunday Times

Ruth Whippman is a British writer, journalist and documentary film-maker. Before moving to the US in 2011, she produced and directed numerous documentaries and current affairs programmes for the BBC. Her essays and comment pieces have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, the Independent and the Huffington Post amongst other places. She lives in California with her husband and two young sons. This is her first book.

General Fields

  • : 9780091959159
  • : Penguin Random House
  • : Hutchinson
  • : March 2016
  • : United Kingdom
  • : June 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ruth Whippman
  • : Paperback
  • : Jun-16
  • : 302
  • : 288