IS ANYBODY HAPPY? by Norman Lobsenz


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This book is concerned with the American conception of pleasure. The author maintains that Americans, known as a ""fun-loving"" people, have little notion of what real pleasure is and have subverted the whole idea in a number of ways, primarily by their passion to turn every human activity into fun. Increasing leisure, he believes, only complicates matters and he cites numerous sociological studies of the use of leisure which have revealed confusion, discontent, and hyperactivity. Generally, people may have more leisure hours, but, he says, they certainly have less free time. This is due to the fact that work, achievement, personal advancement, and ""enrichment"" are all masqueraded under the guise of pleasure. Play, or true leisure, he insists, (drawing on the theories of Joseph Pieper and Huizinga) is necessarily a voluntary activity and is not connected with material advancement or profit. Lobsenz's book is not theoretical or original. He has amassed a good deal of information from theoreticians and analysts and he has presented it in casual, anecdotal form which places no strain on the reader's faculties.

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1962
Publisher: Doubleday