Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Women Live Better

Happy Women Live Better by Valorie Burton

I received a free review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

My review:

Happy Women Live Better aims to reveal thirteen "happiness triggers" to help women to lead happier, more fulfilled lives. These triggers are things like "exercise," "flow," "gratitude," and "service." Burton talks about the role of these triggers in her own life and strives to encourage other women to incorporate them into their own routines, as well.

Burton begins the book by looking at studies that indicate that women's happiness levels have significantly decreased since the 1970s, and she argues that this is due to the pressure women now feel to "have it all." Before they expected to work full-time in demanding careers outside the homes, she claims, they were able to focus on the nurturing of their homes and families, which they found more fulfilling, less stressful, and more conducive to a happy life.

Unfortunately, this argument becomes a main message of the book, even in sections that have little to do with career. Burton adds a caveat occasionally that some women may be happiest when working outside the home and that some women may need to, but the sense of the book is that most married women should take a lesser role in providing the family income. This attitude obviously stems in part from her particular Christian worldview, though she does not draw an explicit connection between the two. While she hopes to help women take some of the pressure off of themselves to "do it all," she may unwittingly add a layer of guilt by pressuring them to spend more time at home when they are unable to do so.

The "happiness triggers" will lead to more contentment and happiness in the average person's life, but they will be little new to a frequent reader of women's magazines (gratitude journals, volunteering, etc.). The examples of specific everyday application are also few and far between. For a more practical and scientifically-backed look at ways to increase everyday happiness, pick up David Niven's The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People.

Stars: 3

No comments:

Post a Comment