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The Science of Subjective Well-Being Paperback – 12 Nov 2008

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"What makes us happy? One might think this a very simple question, but the contributors to this volume suggest that many of our intuitions are not well supported by science. Instead, subjective well-being in individuals and societies is only partially about accumulating hedonic pleasures and stores of wealth, and even these relationships are not what one might predict. Eid and Larsen have gathered together brilliant thinkers and lively writers who explore just what it is that makes us feel good about our lives." - Peter Salovey, Dean of Yale College and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology, Yale University

"Research into subjective well-being has a sustained and honored lineage within psychology, in large part due to the work of Ed Diener and his associates. This book describes what researchers in this area have learned and where we might be headed in the future. It deserves a prominent place on every psychologist's bookshelf. The book is a valuable resource―thorough, intelligent, and provocative―and an action plan for a topic of great individual and societal importance." - Christopher Peterson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan

"This terrific book captured my attention for hours of nonstop, riveting reading. The contributors are all first-rate, consisting of both eminent social scientists in the field of well-being and innovative young scholars. With a combination of breadth and depth, the book provides comprehensive treatment of cutting-edge theory and research. Chapters cover a broad array of topics, as varied as evolutionary and developmental psychology, behavioral genetics, measurement, happiness interventions, history, and philosophy. This book is indispensable for anyone interested in positive psychology, and is an ideal resource for graduate-level and advanced undergraduate classes." - Sonja Lyubomirsky, Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside

About the Author

Edited by Michael Eid, DSc, Department of Psychology, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany, and Randy J. Larsen, Phd, Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA

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Format: Paperback
First off, potential readers need to know that this is basically an academic book and not written for the popular read. People looking for a general book about happiness that discusses ways to increase long-term happiness might want to check out books more for the lay-person, such as my personal favorite, Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World. Tal Ben-Shahar's books are very readable as well.

Secondly, if you're confused by the term "subjective well-being", feel free to substitute it with the word "happiness." Although a lot of happiness researchers study "subjective well-being" and not "happiness", I can tell you that most researchers use the two interchangeably in their writing for clarity's sake. For those wondering, studying subjective well-being is preferred by researchers because it taps into several aspects of happiness such as life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect.

Having said that, this is just a great book that looks at cutting edge happiness research. As with most academic texts, it is written by not one, but many experts in the field, each contributing a chapter or two to the book- and then the whole thing being edited by one or two prominent experts.

Briefly, the book is divided up into VI sections:

Section I covers some history and philosophy.

Section II discusses how researchers measure subjective well-being.

Section II talks about "the happy person".

Section IV looks at the subjective well-being research in specific areas such as young people, job satisfaction, in other cultures and nations and so on.
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Packed full of wisdom, science and interesting theories with suggestions for future research. Meticulously referenced, this is a treasure trove of all the most interesting research and practice in the world of positive psychology.
Not for bedtime reading but invaluable for anyone studying or researching in this field.
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