Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science

  • by Sissela Bok
  • Narrated by Kellie Fitzgerald
  • 6 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this smart and timely book, the distinguished moral philosopher Sissela Bok ponders the nature of happiness and its place in philosophical thinking and writing throughout the ages. With nuance and elegance, Bok explores notions of happiness - from Greek philosophers to Desmond Tutu, Charles Darwin, Iris Murdoch, and the Dalai Lama - as well as the latest theories advanced by psychologists, economists, geneticists, and neuroscientists. Eschewing abstract theorizing, Bok weaves in a wealth of firsthand observations about happiness from ordinary people as well as renowned figures. This may well be the most complete picture of happiness yet.
This book is also a clarion call to think clearly and sensitively about happiness. Bringing together very different disciplines provides Bok with a unique opportunity to consider the role of happiness in wider questions of how we should lead our lives and treat one another - concerns that don't often figure in today's happiness equation. How should we pursue, weigh, value, or limit our own happiness, or that of others, now and in the future? Compelling and perceptive, Exploring Happiness shines a welcome new light on the heart of the human condition.


What the Critics Say

"It is hard to imagine how anyone else, in fewer than 200 pages of text, could better encompass so much Western thinking about a question so important to the way we live." (Wall Street Journal)
"Sissela Bok weaves together the different conceptions of happiness to create a shimmering and subtle tapestry. This book will take you a step closer to happiness by helping you understand the idea better." (Walter Isaacson)
"The book is highly recommended.… [It] is a very welcome addition to the thriving literature on happiness." (Journal of Consciousness Studies)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Narration is poor

The book is not bad - a kind of review of everything that has been written about happiness - but I had to stop listening because I found the narration so bad. The reader has a lovely voice but reads like a speech recognition robot that does not comprehend what it is reading. One of the problems is that she regularly pauses at the wrong place in a sentence, thus distorting the meaning and drawing the listener up sharp in puzzlement. "What was that again???" The listener should not always be reminded that the narrator is doing a poor job, it interferes with understanding the content of the book.
Another problem with the narrator is that she mispronounces names (it is BERTrand Russell, not BertRAND Russell) and words that are less common in normal speech. She has a painful mispronunciation of words and phrases in French, a shame since there are so many references to French philosophers. Also in a book with numerous quotes, the narrator is unable to make it clear to the listener that we are now listening to a quote from some thinker and not to Sissela Bok, the book's author, leading to more confusion. Perhaps if she said "Quote... End quote" around the quotations this might make things easier for the listener.
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- Thomas

Not helpful

What disappointed you about Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science?

I was expecting a much deeper philosophical explanation but found really nothing that I came away with that was life changing. Sorry.

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- James C Bower

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-10-2012
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks