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About the book
  • Published: 15 January 2010
  • ISBN: 9780091929848
  • Imprint: Vermilion
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $35.00

Britain On The Couch

How keeping up with the Joneses has depressed us since 1950


Formats & editions


Why we're unhappier compared with 1950, despite being richer - from bestselling author of Affluenza, Oliver James

In the bestselling Affluenza, leading psychologist Oliver James toured the minds of the middle classes in search of an answer to the question: Is it possible to be successful and stay sane? In this seminal work, James brings the focus back to Britain and proves that modern life makes us feel like losers, even if we are winners.

Showing that the way we live now, rather than our genes, induces in our bodies low levels of the 'happiness brain chemical' serotonin,Oliver James analyses the deep-seated emotional malaise that has afflicted Britons since the 1990s. By recognising the role of individualism in raising expectations, increasing discontent, spawning psychopathic behaviour and destroying personal relationships, James puts forward a three-point plan for healing by correcting the chemical imbalance directly - through drugs containing serotonin, taking a complementary course of psychotherapy and, on a political level, by reorganising society on Scandinavian lines.

In this revised and updated edition, Oliver James puts capitalism in the dock like never before and discovers that while it might be good for business, it is bad for mental health.
Showing that the way we live now, rather than our genes, induces in our bodies low levels of the 'happiness brain chemical' serotonin,Oliver James analyses the deep-seated emotional malaise that has afflicted Britons since the 1990s. By recognising the role of individualism in raising expectations, increasing discontent, spawning psychopathic behaviour and destroying personal relationships, James puts forward a three-point plan for healing by correcting the chemical imbalance directly - through drugs containing serotonin, taking a complementary course of psychotherapy and, on a political level, by reorganising society on Scandinavian lines.

In this groundbreaking work, Oliver

  • Pub date: 15 January 2010
  • ISBN: 9780091929848
  • Imprint: Vermilion
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $35.00

About the Author

Oliver James

Oliver James trained and practised as a child clinical psychologist and, since 1988, has worked as a writer, journalist and television documentary producer and presenter. His books include Juvenile Violence in a Winner-Loser Culture, the bestselling They F*** You Up, Affluenza and Contented Dementia. He is a trustee of two children's charities: the National Family and Parenting Institute and Homestart.

Also by Oliver James

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Praise for Britain On The Couch

“A fascinating book”

Sunday Times

“Vital questions are explored in this stimulating tract for our times, which deserves to be widely read, especially by those who govern us”

Anthony Storr

“Well worth reading ... the author has recognised important social phenomena which have escaped less astute or honest observers”

Sunday Telegraph

“Oliver James is a necessary and powerful voice in our culture, and Britain on the Couch is a fabulous exposure of the failure of the neo-liberal project”

Tom Hodgkinson, editor of the Idler

“I think Oliver James and I are getting at the same thing: we are encouraged to believe that we can sort out our problems without any real effort and get pretty fed up when it becomes obvious we can't”

John Humphreys, Devil's Advocate

“this was a very important book”

Richard Layard, author of Happiness

“I drew heavily on Britain on the Couch”

Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level


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