Happy New Year! This week's review presents various methods for measuring and boosting one's sense of wellbeing to ring in a fulfilling 2024.

Wellbeing: Science and Policy

Layard, Richard. by Richard Layard and Jan-Emmanuel De Neve Cambridge, 2023
352p bibl index, 9781009298926 $105.00, 9781009298940 $39.99, 9781009298919

Wellbeing: Science and Policy book cover.

This excellent interdisciplinary book provides a crystal-clear introduction to a new and important area of science: well-being. Philosophers have long debated what constitutes a “good life” or a “life well-lived” for humans and ways of politically cultivating it among individuals and collectives. Layard (London School of Economics and Political Science) and De Neve (Univ. of Oxford) argue that although well-being is ultimately subjective, it can be experienced (and measured) in three different ways: evaluatively—how people feel about their lives; hedonically—how people feel at particular moments; and eudaimonically—whether people believe their activities and doings are worthwhile. General topics covered include family, schooling, social media, health and health care, work (including income and unemployment), community, the physical environment, and how government affects well-being via public policy. The book’s 18 chapters are presented in four parts. Each chapter includes “Questions for Discussion” and “Further Reading” sections. The text includes a useful introduction, an extensive list of references, and a combined index of names and topics. This well-written book will serve as a great textbook for advanced high school or college courses in philosophy, political science, and/or economics. The text will also be easily understood and appreciated by the general public.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates. General readers.
: R. F. White, emeritus, Mount St. Joseph University
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Psychology
Choice Issue: Oct 2023

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