The myths of happiness explored in new book

On Happiness editors and University of Notre Dame academics Dr Camilla Nelson,
Ms Georgina Ledvinka and Dr Deborah Pike.

19 June 2015

What is happiness, and how the pursuit of it affects our lives, are ideas explored in a new book On Happiness New Ideas for the Twenty-First Century edited by academics Dr Camilla Nelson, Dr Deborah Pike and Georgina Ledvinka at The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney.

A collection of 16 essays from leading philosophers, writers and academics, the book looks beyond the ‘common sense’ understanding of happiness in the West and the strategies devised to obtain it.

“Happiness appears to be a simple emotion, individual and pleasurable, yet the problems associated with happiness in politics, economics and philosophy suggest that it is perhaps more complex and paradoxical than first thought,” Dr Camilla Nelson said.

Dr Pike added that the book reexamines the concept of happiness and widens the debate, although the editors steer away from identifying any one secret to happiness. “Happiness is not such a straightforward concept, we are looking at what we mean by happiness, and what is its cost,” she said.

Individualism, consumerism and self-deceit are significant themes explored in the book. Without discarding the concept, the book suggests that impoverished notions about happiness may in fact be the cause of our discontent.

Ms Ledvinka, Assistant Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, said the book emerged from a symposium on happiness held on the University’s Broadway Campus, Sydney, in 2012.

Contributors to the book are: James Arvanitakis; Brock Bastian; Larissa Behrendt; Jenny Cameron; Steve Connor; J. K. Gibson-Graham; Clive Hamilton; Richard Paul Hamilton; Stephen Healy; Anna Kamaralli; Georgina Ledvinka (Ed); Tony Moore; Camilla Nelson (Ed); Deborah Pike (Ed); Alice Pung; John Quiggin; David Ritter, and Ranjana Srivastava

The book, published by UWA Press, will be launched on Tuesday evening at Dymocks bookstore 424-428 George St Sydney. To reserve your place email : or phone (08) 6488 6827.

Event Details
Date: Tuesday 23 June
Time: 6pm for 6.30pm
Location: Dymocks, 424-428 George St Sydney
RSVP: or Phone (08) 6488 6827

Theresa Kyne: Tel (02) 8204 4141; Mob: 0407 408 177;