"In his excellent recent book on social capital, The Hidden Wealth of Nations, David Halpern argues that (for instance) smaller class sizes for the youngest pupils and extra tuition for those that struggle are far more important than ′the building of shiny new buildings or computer rooms to impress parents′. As a former chief analyst in Tony Blair′s Strategy Unit, Halpern knows of what he speaks."
"Scintillating and immensely well–informed and covers almost all aspects of public policy. Halpern is particularly interested in wellbeing and – as his remarks about heroin indicate – he seems to be using the book to flesh out all the policy ideas that he could not get past the prime minister."
Andrew Sparrow, Guardian political blog
"A collection of very interesting essays on an ambitiously broad set of topics, packed with fascinating facts and examples."
Journal of Social Policy
"The author introduces libertarian paternalism, defaults setting, the power of declarative norms, and the choice architecture promoted by Thaler and Sunstein. That sounds heavy, but Halpern has a way to make it read like the latest Ben Elton."
New York Times
"Chief analyst in the prime minister′s Strategy Unit between 2001 and 2007, he has written many of the most influential papers in shaping the politics of happiness. Now outside government, he expresses his confidence that within 10–15 years, ′policymakers will routinely be using sophisticated well–being measures in judgements about policy′."
Mark Easton, BBC News
"Halpern has kept a wide audience in mind with this stimulating and detailed book. Kicking off with that question that everyone has an answer to – does money make you (or your nation) happy? – and romping through a range of dinner party topics from immigration to whether democracy is going down the pan, he draws out a range of evidence that is useful and often surprising."
"Halpern′s discussion of the policy complexity of promoting social mobility or the issues relating to overcoming social exclusion is impressively nuanced and thought provoking."
"This important book... summarises the literature on life satisfaction, social capital, morality and values, and inequality, together with discussion of implications for public policy design."
British Religion in Numbers
"An excellent book – a thoughtful and informed analysis of a wide range of policy issues by someone who′s ′been there′."
Richard Easterlin, University of Southern California
"An important book by someone who has been at the centre of public policy to improve our community. This book will do much to rebalance our priorities towards aspects of life which really matter."
Richard Layard, London School of Economics and Political Science
Political economy theories can be victims of their own popularity, and David Halpern's work could be an example of this. Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2013 by Amazon Customer
Governments should focus on creating happiness not wealth (unless wealth is a way of getting to happiness). Read morePublished on 2 Dec. 2011 by Jo
Writing at the end of the previous Labour government, it's interesting to see such ideas as the 'Big Society' embryonic in Halpern's book. Read morePublished on 24 Nov. 2011 by R. WEST-SOLEY
This man had the golden opportunity, perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to influence policy and change lives for the better. Read morePublished on 13 Sept. 2011 by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles
But I'm sick of all these attempts to quantify happiness. This is the last book like this I'll ever read.
I feel happier already...
David Halpern was a member of the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit (PMSU) working, mainly as Chief Analyst, between 2001 and 2007. Read morePublished on 14 July 2011 by Neutral
On the plus side, this book has a lot of interesting data in it from surveys and other types of research, and David Halpern mostly writes well. That's why I've given it 4 stars. Read morePublished on 24 Jun. 2011 by Matthew Leitch
Mr Halpern spent six years in Blair's 'Prime Ministers Strategy Unit', Research Fellow in Social Psychology at Nuffield College, Oxford, Lecturer in same at Cambridge now working... Read morePublished on 12 May 2011 by Craddock Edwards from Bristol