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  • Published: 31 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141984490
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

Happy Ever After

Escaping The Myth of The Perfect Life

What if the path to happiness meant abandoning our most dearly held beliefs?

Be ambitious; find everlasting love; look after your health ... There are countless stories about how we ought to live our lives. These narratives can make our lives easier, and they might sometimes make us happier too. But they can also trap us and those around us.

In Happy Ever After, bestselling happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on a wealth of evidence to bust the common myths about our sources of happiness and shows that there can be many unexpected paths to lasting happiness. Some of these might involve not going into higher education, choosing not to marry, rewarding acts rooted in self-interest and caring a little less about living forever.

By freeing ourselves from the myth of the perfect life, we might each find a life worth living.

  • Published: 31 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141984490
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Paul Dolan

Paul Dolan is an internationally renowned expert on happiness, behaviour, and public policy. He is currently a Professor of Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics. He has been a visiting research scholar at Princeton University, where he worked closely with Daniel Kahneman. Among various other roles, he is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences Panel on measuring national well-being, a member of the National Wellbeing Advisory Forum for the Office for National Statistics in the UK, and is Chief Academic Advisor to the UK Government on how policymakers should value the impact of goods that are hard to measure, like health.

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Praise for Happy Ever After

A very useful antidote to the pressures of modern living. Very few books change the way you think about yourself, but this is one of them. I would particularly recommend it to young adults with all these life choices ahead of them


One of the most rigorous articulations of the new mood of acceptance. . . a persuasive demolition of many of our cultural stories about how we ought to live

Oliver Burkeman, Guardian

Passionate, provocative. . . a manifesto for a better society

The Times

Smart, engaging and funny. . . will make you question everything you think you know about what you want

Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women

A timely warning that we need to question standard assumptions about what is good for individuals and society. Dolan makes a compelling case for putting people's own perceptions of their wellbeing at the heart of policy making

Lord Gus O'Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary

Paul Dolan knows what makes people happy - and what doesn't. Happy Ever After is illuminating, wise, profound. A magnificent achievement

Cass Sunstein, co-author of Nudge

A smart and irreverent look at the bad advice, lame instructions, and missing ingredients in society's recipe for a happy life

Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

A splendid demonstration of how conventional aspirations can make us miserable

Richard Layard, author of Happiness

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