The Pursuit of Happiness


So, I received a copy of this book in the post in exchange for an honest review but I admit straight away the title appealed to me .

Being depressed,  happiness is the ultimate thing for me and trying to achieve in nigh on impossible. So of course I wanted to know more about Ruth Whippman s quest and if she managed to achieve it.

What I actually found was a hilarious expose of the “Happiness” business – a multi million pound one at that.

In  between snorting, sniggering,  literally laughing out loud and in near hysterics at her anecdotes of just how far people will go and what exactly they will put themselves through in order to achieve the holy grail of life I found myself not only informed but questioning my own pursuit .

I recoiled in horror (and yes laughed my head off) at the description of the emotional and psychical torture the Landmark training programme offered.

I identified with her inner struggle of being cynical yet finding herself inexplicably drawn in to the whole cult like promises of eternal fulfillment.

I’m literally open mouthed at the whole range of finding inner happiness is to admit ITS ALL YOUR FAULT so the willing subjects become literal sobbing gibbering wrecks in order to “transform”

By chapter five,  I am seriously beginning  to wonder if Ruth will make it through this experience without mysteriously dissapearing.

An uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach , a foreboding of sinister undertone to the fabled “Happiness” promises. … is she going to be found swimming with the fishes ?

Thankfully not, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

But as she wades into the world of corporate happiness ,  I’m thinking the world has gone crazy and I’m probably a lot more sane than I ever realised.
Seriously,  an utopia in the Las Vegas desert designed to encorporate work and play into a 24 hrs party theme atmosphere ,  like a real life sims game with a (quite possibly evil crazy) “eccentric” billionaire basically calling the shots …. life is so happy there it has the highest rates of suicides in America!

Apparently, even McDonald’s are in on this you have to be happy to work malarkey and don’t get me started on the whole Facebook office which is so well equipped it’s workers need NEVER go home.

I actually feel like I’ve fallen into the pages of 1984 – but where 1984 was a scary fictional novel of the future,  this book is showing a scary reality.

Her chapters move from various areas in which the happiness business thrives – and it covers all aspects a person can think of.

My personal favourite chapters being “As long as he’s happy ” – an insight into parenting and “I’m not a happy person” – a look at social media.

All is observed with a wry sense of humour and compare s the American pursuit of happiness as opposed to a very British way of thinking and the results are hilarious.

But also informative,  jam packed with statistics ,  Ruth does indeed discover that the general pursuit for happiness does indeed make a person unhappy.

By the end of the book, she had in fact found the “secret” to happiness but I have to say I personally didn’t agree wholeheartedly with what she felt was necessary to ensure happiness nor that happiness is not a personal journey  (chapter one is dedicated to that).

However, I did find this an informative, intriguing , thought provoking book as well as extremely funny – I haven’t actually laughed so much in a long time and really would recommend this as a top read .


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