Throughout history, happiness has been equated regularly with the highest historian Darrin M. McMahon argues that our modern belief in happiness is the. An intellectual history of man’s most elusive yet coveted goal. Historian McMahon argues that our modern belief in happiness is a recent development, the. “Excellent history” —The Economist. “From Herodotus and Aristotle through Locke and Rousseau down to Darwin, Marx and Freud. The musings on happiness.

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Jan 08, planetkimi rated it did not like it Shelves: That sounds ludicrous to us today—and perhaps it is—but it very nicely captures the way the ancients thought of happiness, not as an emotional state but as an outcome of moral comportment. In the tradition of works by Peter Gay and Simon Schama, Happiness draws on a multitude of sources, including art and architecture, poetry and scripture, music and theology, and literature and myth, to offer a sweeping intellectual history of man’s most elusive yet coveted goal.

Is there something wrong with me? Indeed, if you think about it, this idea of happiness as a natural state creates a curious problem. Want to Read saving….

Bear the pain of life now and be rewarded in Heaven—the only possible happiness is darrni now so that you can be happy in death, embrace suffering, suffering IS happiness! For the ancient Greeks, happiness meant virtue.

One must assume responsibility of being happy for oneself -Mill and Rand if the author had read her: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. Those who must frame their world by a preponderance of facts and factoids for the simple point to rise may enjoy this read. McMahon Limited preview – Atlantic Monthly Press, If you liked this review you might like this blog post – http: Some wonder if we deserve to be happy; others see it as our divine right.


The Pursuit of Unhappiness: It might not exist for much longer. Language reveals ancient definitions of happiness. Then we will be happy -The Romantics: This has been liberating, in some respects, because it asks us to strive to improve our lots in life, individually hsppiness collectively.

Dagrin, if you want an expansive discussion and history of the idea of happiness in many, if not all, of its forms then this is the book for you.

Aug 06, Julia added it. I’m a bit less inclined wanting to see a more science-based perspective, but then this book never ports to being that! Some insightful information that I think anyone could benefit from.

Especially when one cannot figure in circumstances or stations. Other cultures, as evidenced at Pompeii, viewed happiness as synonymous with physical jappiness.

Happiness: A History by Darrin M. McMahon

People have never been happy, that’s why there’s a God. Rushing from one thing tho the next, an American will travel hundreds of miles in a day.

I would really recommend this to someone who is interested in a more history oriented look at the philosophy of happiness. It may turn out that happiness is attained by doing, not by thinking, believing or “being” something. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. My library Help Advanced Book Search.

It is a completely Western focus, which he states and explains from the beginning. McMahon Limited preview – Sep 12, Heidi rated it liked it.

Darrin M. McMahon

McMahon then shows how our modern search continues to generate new forms of pleasure, happinses also, paradoxically, new forms of pain. Strictly speaking, this is the happiness of death.


Now all I want is another book like this, but focusing on the Eastern ideas of happiness. In their view, happiness could be earned, a perspective that anticipates our modern one.

Happiness: A History – Darrin M. McMahon – Google Books

Savages are happy too! Western people do not see any final goals anymore that are worth seeking out, which can make life meaningful, and therefore Western man has to put up with a hedonism that will never satisfy him. McMahon No preview available – Certainly, this professor of history at Florida State University presents some thinly veiled opinions, but the success hsitory the book is founded on its encyclopedic and accessible presentation of this most evasive idea.

It is an entertaining journey through the cultural, moral, and intellectual history of the West. He will continually change paths “for fear of missing the shortest cut leading to happiness. Happines is a modern article of faith. The Lisbon earthquake of is an awful case in point. Pleasure is the goal though keep in mind pleasure is defined by him as minimizing pain by living a simple life in the country -Stoics: The concepts are presented clearly but not too simply.

It is so full of ideas and information, that reading it all at once might A wonderful book, it takes you on a journey from the start of humanity to today, always searching for happiness.