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The Happiness Policy Handbook
How to Make Happiness and Well-Being the Purpose of Your Government
Thomas Jefferson said that “the purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness.” Yet only now, 270 years later, is the happiness of citizens starting to be taken seriously as the purpose of government.
While happiness science is advancing rapidly, and governments and organizations are creating indices for measuring happiness, there is little practical information on how to create policy to advance happiness.
Drawing from a deep well of expertise and experience, The Happiness Policy Handbook is the first step-by-step guide for integrating happiness into government policy at all levels. Coverage includes:
- A concise background on happiness science, indices and indicators, and happiness in public policy
- Tools for formulating happiness policy and integrating happiness into administrative functions
- A concept menu of happiness policies
- Communicating happiness policy objectives to media and engaging with the community
- A happiness policy screening tool for evaluating the happiness contribution of any policy
- Policy perspectives from seasoned experts across sectors.
The Happiness Policy Handbook is the essential resource for policymakers and professionals working to integrate happiness and well-being into governmental processes and institutions.
Laura Musikanski is Executive Director of the Happiness Alliance, the first nonprofit in the world providing resources, knowledge, and tools — including the Happiness Index — for integrating happiness into governments and institutions. She is author of Sustainability Decoded and How to Account for Sustainability. She lives in Seattle, WA.
Rhonda Phillips has conducted hands-on research with policy makers, community organizers, and in academia for over 30 years, and is the author or editor of 25 books. She is the Dean of Purdue Honors College and past president of the International Quality-of-Life Studies. She lives in West Lafayette, IN.
Jean Crowder served as a member of parliament (MP) in the Canadian government between 2004-2015, and has extensive experience as a policymaker. She worked for Human Resources Development Canada, the British Columbia Ministry of Skills Training and Labour, and was a human resources consultant and manager at Malaspina University College. Crowder is a Happiness Alliance board member and lives in Duncan, BC.
"Whether you're new to happiness science and the happiness movement or have been on board for a while like me, and whether you're an elected official, policymaker or ordinary citizen, you're bound to learn a great deal and be inspired by this short but clear and helpful book. Bhutan's revolutionary concept of Gross National Happiness is well-explained here, with its multiple "domains" of wellbeing and its highly useful policy tools that can offer guidelines for leaders at every level of government. Written by three leaders in policy, community development, and the happiness movement, this book offers powerful reasons for getting involved with happiness science and making happiness — instead of GDP growth — the goal of government, as Thomas Jefferson once declared it should be. Read it, and then...put it into practice."
John de Graaf, co-author, Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, and co-founder, The Happiness Alliance
"I am a strong advocate for practical and value-added solutions that organizations can use to make a difference. I see the Happiness Movement at the individual and societal levels as a companion to the Sustainability Movement in the business community. Businesses need to help governments create the requisite conditions for societal happiness and wellbeing. This book shows governments how and why to apply happiness criteria to its processes to create a more socially just, economically inclusive, and environmentally restorative society. If governments required businesses to report on their contributions to those ends, we would dramatically accelerate our journey toward a happy, resilient and truly sustainable society. Hoorah to Musikanski, Phillips, and Crowder, and for showing us the way."
Bob Willard, author, The New Sustainability Advantage and Sustainability ROI Workbook
"The pursuit of happiness was enshrined in America's Declaration of Independence and, more recently, in Bhutan's pursuit of Gross National Happiness. It may be tempting to dismiss all of this as wishful thinking, but if we want the world to embrace sustainability, happiness and sustainability have to become two sides of the same coin. I recommend this book as a guide to how this might be done."
John Elkington, author, The Breakthrough Challenge, Co-Founder and Chief Pollinator at Volans, Co-Founder of SustainAbility, and long-time champion of the Triple Bottom Line
"The future of governance is in happiness and wellbeing more than in economics and finance. This book will be handy for development experts, project managers, legislators, policymakers, and community and corporate leaders. It provides templates that can be adapted locally."
Dasho Karma Ura, President, The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research
"The Happiness Policy Handbook is a great overview of wellbeing and happiness activity taking place globally — so far — linking to Sustainable Development Goals and positive psychology and how to bring the learning into our collective decision making."
Nancy Hey, Director, What Works Centre for Wellbeing
"The Dubai government has always kept the happiness and welfare of its residents at the core of any strategies or policies launched. I am proud to share our story as part of this book which provides clear and concise step-by-step actions to help governments across the globe implement citizen-centric policies, ensuring greater happiness of their people."
Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai