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I mostly read nonfiction books, so I'm well accustomed to a book not being an enthralling read. I typically prefer facts and figures to flowery language or colorful illustrations of the information I'm trying to learn. So, when I say that this book was "dry" I mean that it was utterly Saharan in delivery. This book has incredible information in it, it is filled with critical data about how we're being manipulated as a people by those who understand the way we thing, but it is not something that is easily approachable. My biggest grievance against this book is that information it seeks to impart is important and it needs to do so in a way that is more approachable to people who haven't pursued higher education focused on marketing or psychology.
This seemed like a fascinating subject but although it certainly was thought-provoking, raising some very valid points, I felt that it could have been done better. It felt like too much emphasis was placed on the history of utilitarianism without sufficiently clarifying the connection to the modern day "happiness industry". This is not to say I disagreed. I could definitely see the author's point. However, I just feel it could have been made better.
On the narration: I know that it's hard to find the right tone when narrating a book on this subject. I don't know however, if there is any need to sound literally depressed as one is doing the reading. It actually did make the listening experience worse.
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One aspect of the argument is persuasive - the way that power can and will coopt anything it can, and has a particular fondness for the soft science of the soft matter. The actual argumentation - less so. On the one hand there is an insistence on the inviolable subject that borders on dualism, one so complete that established neuroscience is discussed in ways that resemble nothing so much as the language of climate change denial, and on the other, a valorisation of a select number of voices who simply state clearly the implications of much current psychology & well-being research - as if a climate change denier were also, simultaneously, to blame the science for hypocritical greenwashing. It's frustrating, since, while the co-option of psych by the adman and the government lackey is not exactly news, a book synthesising the radical implications of the positive psychology movement is more than due. As it is, the author does not fully acknowledge how high - if his thesis about the intight & instrumental nature of psychology & power is correct - this particular petard could blow .