America The Anxious: How Our Pursuit Of Happiness Is Creating A Nation Of Nervous Wrecks by Ruth WhippmanAmerica The Anxious: How Our Pursuit Of Happiness Is Creating A Nation Of Nervous Wrecks by Ruth Whippman

America The Anxious: How Our Pursuit Of Happiness Is Creating A Nation Of Nervous Wrecks

byRuth Whippman

Hardcover | October 4, 2016

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Are you happy? Right now? Happy enough? As happy as everyone else? Could you be happier if you tried harder?

After she packed up her British worldview (that most things were basically rubbish) and moved to America, journalist and documentary filmmaker Ruth Whippman found herself increasingly perplexed by the American obsession with one topic above all others: happiness. The subject came up everywhere: at the playground swings, at the meat counter in the supermarket, and even-legs in stirrups-at the gynecologist.

The omnipresence of these happiness conversations (trading tips, humble-bragging successes, offering unsolicited advice) wouldn't let her go, and so Ruth did some digging. What she found was a paradox: despite the fact that Americans spend more time and money in search of happiness than any other nation on earth, research shows that the United States is one of the least contented, most anxious countries in the developed world. Stoked by a multi-billion dollar "happiness industrial complex" intent on selling the promise of bliss, America appeared to be driving itself crazy in pursuit of contentment.

So Ruth set out on to get to the bottom of this contradiction, embarking on an uproarious pilgrimage to investigate how this national obsession infiltrates all areas of life, from religion to parenting, the workplace to academia. She attends a controversial self-help course that promises total transformation, where she learns all her problems are all her own fault; visits a "happiness city" in the Nevada desert and explores why it has one of the highest suicide rates in America; delves into the darker truths behind the influential academic "positive psychology movement"; and ventures to Utah to spend time with the Mormons, officially America's happiest people.

What she finds, ultimately, and presents in America the Anxious, is a rigorously researched yet universal answer, and one that comes absolutely free of charge.

RUTH WHIPPMAN is a British writer, journalist, and documentary maker living in the United States. She is the author of America the Anxious and her essays and comment pieces have appeared in various publications including the New York Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the Huffington Post. She graduated from Cambridge University ...
Title:America The Anxious: How Our Pursuit Of Happiness Is Creating A Nation Of Nervous WrecksFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.53 × 5.78 × 0.93 inPublished:October 4, 2016Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250071526

ISBN - 13:9781250071521


Editorial Reviews

"In this funny yet unsettling book....Like [a whip-sharp British Bill Bryson], Whippman has a willingness to play up cultural differences to comic effect.... She also has Bryson's sharp ear for language and its potential for absurdity.... This is not merely a personal voyage of enlightenment, however, nor an extended eye-roll at wacky Americans. The book's serious underpinning is a warning about how happiness is being weaponized by governments and employers, directed towards their people to make them work harder and longer.... With warm wit and chilling logic, America the Anxious shows that the human desire for contentment can be manipulated and distorted until it is barely recognizable, Big Brother as smiley face, a frown turned upside down and back to front." -The Sunday Times (UK)"A hilarious narrative full of barbed observations, personal anecdotes, and comical stories. After putting the book down, readers may well agree with the author that if we want to be happy, what we really need to do is stop chasing after happiness and focus on living fuller lives. A delightfully witty, enjoyable read." -Kirkus"[Whippman's] witty, insightful observations are supported by convincing data, as she pulls back the curtain to reveal the seedy side of the business of happiness. Recommended to readers interested in the psychology of happiness or anxiety and especially those looking for an alternative to the multitude of 'how-to' books on the subject." -Library Journal"Perhaps it takes the wry and often hilarious observations of an inquiring outsider to bring into sharp focus the absurdity of modern America's near obsessive pursuit of Happiness with a capital H, which is instead making so many of us so miserable. British writer Ruth Whippman takes readers on an engaging and perceptive personal romp through the $10 billion happiness industry, and, along the way, shreds much of the 'science' that happiness is both an individual responsibility and a solo endeavor, and, thankfully, calls for restoring the ideal that true happiness is about the depth of our social connections, about meaning, and, ultimately, about justice for all. A great-and important-read." -Brigid Schulte, award-winning journalist and author of the New York Times bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play When No One Has the Time"Ruth Whippman cuts to the heart of America's obsession with happiness and the strange and wonderful things we do to obtain it. America the Anxious is a funny, timely book that everyone should read." -Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism and Sex Object "I LOVED this book. I found it SO WELL WRITTEN, so witty and funny that reading it I was often envious of Ruth Whippman's facility with language. It was a hugely engaging read, accessible and so relevant.... I loved the fact that she anchored her research in her own life and the case studies were utterly fascinating! The Mormons! The funny town in Vegas! It's a great book. It really needs to be read because people are going about happiness all the wrong way. I really really really really enjoyed it and am quite evangelical about it." -Marian Keyes, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Sushi for Beginners"Ruth Whippman has written a laugh-out-loud examination of how, exactly, the American pursuit of happiness has led us so far astray. With insight and intellect, she tracks the peculiar American obsession with happiness from yoga classes in Berkeley to the wilds of Silicon Valley and corporate-sponsored mindfulness seminars. The true value in this book-beyond Whippman's considerable wit-is its celebration of the complexity of human emotion and connection. Whippman brings a fresh perspective to American culture that is almost impossible to find in today's positivity-at-all-costs ethos. America the Anxious is a vibrant, hilarious, necessary book." -Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl"If you're on a quest for happiness, you want to start with buying this book. Wit, wisdom, and the kind of analysis only a Brit could bring to the topics of anxiety and contentment. And the book itself will make you happy: I laughed my way through it. Highly recommended." -Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth: Getting By in Bootstrap America"Ruth Whippman manages the trick of being funny about what is, deep down, a serious problem: the American quest for happiness isn't working. The more we focus on making ourselves happy, the more anxious we become-and the pursuit of wellbeing becomes just another stressful competition. Yet there's no need to despair, she suggests: there's a far more promising path to fulfillment in the equally American traditions of community, solidarity, and solving our problems together." -Oliver Burkeman, Guardian columnist and author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"With the gimlet eye of an outsider, Ruth Whippman illustrates persuasively and hilariously, again and again, how seeking happiness as an elusive end goal is making us frantic, miserable, and blind to things that might actually make us happy... For anyone who has fallen prey to a book promising the secret of a happy life, and then failed to feel any happier, THIS book, by Whippman, might just provide the answers you didn't even know you were seeking." -Malena Watrous, author of If You Follow Me