cover image The Pursuit of Happiness: Who is Happy--And Why

The Pursuit of Happiness: Who is Happy--And Why

David G. Myers, David G. Meyers. William Morrow & Company, $20 (331pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10550-1

If there were a textbook on the subject of happiness, this would be it. Myers ( Social Psychology ) delves headlong into this little-documented topic, backing up his assertions with reference to wide-ranging research. His findings suggest that wealth, sex, age and race have little to do with overall life satisfaction. So, who is happy? According to Myers, people who are community-oriented, religious or spiritual, involved in work they enjoy (regardless of financial compensation) and rooted in long-term, stable relationships. How happy one is also depends on such character traits as optimism and extraversion and on conditions that foster the feeling that one has some control over life's circumstances. There is also much to be said, Myers contends, for ``putting on a happy face,'' because acting as though one were happy can lead to feeling so. Not a simplistic, formula-ridden ``positive thinking'' guide, the book bursts with thought-provoking, innovative material for the general reader and for students of social psychology as well. Illustrations not seen by PW . Author tour. (May)