Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Reading the book "Happiness" by Richard Layard

How many of you, like me, have a mental collection of quotes and cliché sayings on how to be happy?

Happiness quotes or common sayings like, "Money does not buy happiness." or "Be contented with what you have" or "Count your blessings." or "Think of all the underprivileged people in third-world countries" or "Do what you love and you will never have to work another day in your life.", "Do what makes you happy."

While I subscribe to most of these beliefs, I was curious when I stumbled upon this book, while in the library researching on other things.

The author, Richard Layard  of

Happiness, Lessons from a New Science delves into philosophy, economics, the latest psychological research and his experience as a policy adviser to examine the happiness conundrum, and he offers some surprising answers.

 I haven't finished reading the book, but here are few interesting notes.

1) We have doubled in wealth over the years, but we have not grown any happier

2) Left-brained people are happier than right-brained folks. (Maybe that is why the greatest artists create/write their best material during depression?)

3) Tendencies towards happiness is related to what your genes are like.

4) Levels of happiness and how it increases (exponentially or steadily or not at all) depends on your base point - for example, whether you're below poverty line, working/middle class and beyond. This also applies to whether you're living in a developing or first world country.

5) Levels of happiness are affected depending on the people around you. If you're ahead of your peers, you'll be happier.

6) Levels of happiness among male and female are around the same.

7) Upbringing plays an important part in your happiness and future tendencies towards happiness but not as a big deal as we used to believe.

If you're interested in these things, you'll have to read the book!

The reason why I decided to 'come in' to blog today because I've come to a section (pg 63 in my version of the book) that I thought I'll like to record for future reference.

The Seven Factors Affecting Happiness

Family relationships
Financial situation
Community and friends
Personal freedom
Personal values

The first five is in order of importance.

And I thought this sentence was noteworthy:

"As in every study, family relationships (and our close private life) are more important than any other single factor affecting our happiness. "

Of course it doesn't end there, and I'm going to continue reading. But I mean, it's great food for thought (for me, at least) in a time and at this stage of my life when I can say I'm struggling to manage with everything, with the home, my family and personal relationships, work, online-worklife (like and a few others), personal achievement affairs.

Anyway, I'm back to reading the book! I will continue to share if I feel it is of significant importance.


  1. Thank you for sharing! - Jessica

  2. Wow, thank you for sharing this! It sounds very relevant to studying becoming an elegant woman since happiness would be the foundation all other traits are built on. I will look for this book. Thank you again. Best regards, Lisa

  3. Thank you for passing the information. I really enjoyed what you had to say. One thing in particular is that right brained people are more prone to depression and I have to agree. I am right brained and I have a depression more than I would like to admit. But 'tis' true. Thanks for sharing.