A complicated but intriguing breakdown of an emotion many take for granted.


A comprehensive study examines the nature of true happiness—and the quest to find it in modern society.

The authors’ nonfiction debut operates on the assumption that human happiness is an extremely complex and multilayered thing rather than a simple response to circumstances. It’s an inner compulsion, as the husband-and-wife team clarifies: “Something innate within the human spirit cries out for something deeper, something more lasting and something more profound than material things to bring us to a more sustained state of happiness.” The book anatomizes dozens of aspects of happiness—social, spiritual, moral, physical, and intellectual—and ranges them along a scale designed to help readers quantify their own specific happiness indexes. The authors are empathetic but also cleareyed, and they cast their inquiries over many kinds of societies, assessing all the various pragmatic factors that can determine a person’s happiness. “We have seen,” the authors write, “how…happiness takes flight due to poor nutrition, deficient diet, failing health, inadequate housing, and education, underpinned by the lack of money.” The authors’ analyses of the origins and deployment of happiness are uniformly thought-provoking, although their importation of religious elements can at times be confusing. For instance, they list as “non-religious” economic principles such prompts as “stay focused,” “learn new skills,” and “repair rather than replace,” and as “religious” economic principles such dictums as “guard against the impulse to be unfair,” “be generous with excess wealth,” and even “exercise justice and mercy”—with no real elaboration on why the former are secular and the latter religious. But such categorical confusion is rare in a text that’s for the most part exceedingly precise about the sources and textures of happiness, from the key role that education plays to the part that the improvement of general human rights has served to increase joy globally. The liberal use the authors make of their own personal experiences adds an element of warmth to their systematic appraisals, and their compartmentalized grid for assessing personal happiness should give seekers of contentment a great deal to think about.

A complicated but intriguing breakdown of an emotion many take for granted.

Pub Date: April 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5049-8319-8

Page Count: 286

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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