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Happy Ever After: Escaping Narrative Traps About How to Live Get a good education, be successful, get married, have kids and look after your health This is what we re told will make us happy But what if these stories are doing harm than good In Happy Ever After, bestselling happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on groundbreaking research and data to bust the common myths about happiness and show that the path to fulfilment is actually far unexpected than we thought With straight talking wisdom, he invites us to reappraise our values, free our minds from the narrative traps of conventional wisdom and write our own version of the good life, based on maximising positive, meaningful experiences that can generate new social benefits not least greater tolerance for different ways of lifeHappiness isn t what you re told It s what you do A fresh approach on social narratives that follow all of us through our lives In the western world, we ought to be successful, wealthy, educated, married with children, healthy, The list goes on and on But do those social narratives make us happy Some might, and some might not The book also points out how we are permanently judged by people and how we judge people too, especially those who make different choices no children, no university, part time jobs andleisure time, etc A fresh approach on social narratives that follow all of us through our lives In the western world, we ought to be successful, wealthy, educated, married with children, healthy, The list goes on and on But do those social narratives make us happy Some might, and some might not The book also points out how we are permanently judged by people and how we judge people too, especially those who make different choices no children, no university, part time jobs andleisure time, etc Society won t change over night, of course, but reading this book may help to at least question all these social narratives on how to lead a perfect life There is no perfect life, therefore, just live your ownIt was the perfect book to start the new year 2020, as it gave me loads to think about Happy Ever After by Paul Dolan is a book about uncovering myths about a perfect life These myths, also known as the happiness narrative, are what we tend to think what makes us happy, but often we are better off abandoning this narrative Dolan is a behavioral scientist and thus has, not surprisingly, a very scientific way of looking at this However, I liked it that he made ithuman and relatable by giving his own interpretations of things at times, whilst still leaving space for readers Happy Ever After by Paul Dolan is a book about uncovering myths about a perfect life These myths, also known as the happiness narrative, are what we tend to think what makes us happy, but often we are better off abandoning this narrative Dolan is a behavioral scientist and thus has, not surprisingly, a very scientific way of looking at this However, I liked it that he made ithuman and relatable by giving his own interpretations of things at times, whilst still leaving space for readers to disagree The book consistently worked through several topics on which we are vulnerable to the happiness narrative Ranging from marriage, kids, health, and education there will probably be chapters to which you can relatethan others, but I found several of them to be real eye openers Further, I really felt that Dolan was his unapologetic self while writing this book There is some swearing, but he also explains why, and I found it hilarious that somebody actually thought that he should not swear because of his position as an academic For fuck sake how ridiculous is that Then there is also this thing with not reading fiction weird, if you d ask me but hey, who am I to judge Besides that this provides for some of the easier content of the book, it also taught me another lesson about not falling for the narrative traps that we so easily want to adhere to without realizing if that really is what makes us happy.This book provided me with some interesting things to think about, it was not filled with jargon and thus a relatively relaxing read My rating is 3,5 out of 5 stars I received a digital review copy of this book from Penguin Books UK in exchange for an honest review All opinions are entirely my own Dolan writes about how the dominant social narratives restrict our idea of what we have to do with our lives, and suggests that sometimes happiness is to be found outside of them His topics include education, wealth, marriage and children Some of the statistics he quotes are truly arresting, e.g twice as many people in the US compared to the UK are seemingly willing to be miserable in order to be wealthy. I read this because I saw the article on The Guardian about how the book talks about how single, child free women tend to be happiest However, this was only a smaller part of a wider discussion about happiness narratives and how in actuality, mainstream societal ideas about what happiness and success mean are very different from what actually makes people happy I could go on about what I liked and didn t like, but overall I wasn t the biggest fan because it was sort of boring it took me for I read this because I saw the article on The Guardian about how the book talks about how single, child free women tend to be happiest However, this was only a smaller part of a wider discussion about happiness narratives and how in actuality, mainstream societal ideas about what happiness and success mean are very different from what actually makes people happy I could go on about what I liked and didn t like, but overall I wasn t the biggest fan because it was sort of boring it took me forever to read because it was a lot of listing statistic after statistic I also thought the physical health narrative he talks about in part 3 was oversimplified It s almost impossible to say you can be physically unhealthy and hardly ever feel miserable because well, no, a lot of people who are physically unhealthy DO feel miserable If anything, I felt he underestimated how good it feels to be in good health I think what he means to say is you do not make 100% healthy choices all of the time but you feel fantastic but a night out here and there in your early 20s is hardly the same thing as your body being in poor health over a long period of time Idk, I don t feel strongly enough about this book to recommend it one way or the other It s sort of self help, but also academic It s nice to have it validated that being unmarried and or child free are actually good options for women but tbh, if you re a woman in your mid 20s or older, you have probably already met a woman who lives a great life while unmarried and child free, or you are that woman and you feel happy about your choices, so you most likely already knew that

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