1. Manufacturing Happy Citizens: How the Science and Industry of Happiness Control our Lives by Edgar Cabanas, Eva Illouz
Overview: The imperative of happiness dictates the conduct and direction of our lives. There is no escape from the tyranny of positivity. But is happiness the supreme good that all of us should pursue? So says a new breed of so-called happiness experts, with positive psychologists, happiness economists and self-development gurus at the forefront. With the support of influential institutions and multinational corporations, these self-proclaimed experts now tell us what governmental policies to apply, what educational interventions to make and what changes we must undertake in order to lead more successful, more meaningful and healthier lives.
With a healthy scepticism, this book documents the powerful social impact of the science and industry of happiness, arguing that the neoliberal alliance between psychologists, economists and self-development gurus has given rise to a new and oppressive form of government and control in which happiness has been woven into the very fabric of power.
2. Chances Are . . .: Adventures in Probability by Michael Kaplan, Ellen Kaplan
Overview: A compelling journey through history, mathematics, and philosophy, charting humanity’s struggle against randomness
Our lives are played out in the arena of chance. However little we recognize it in our day-to-day existence, we are always riding the odds, seeking out certainty but settling—reluctantly—for likelihood, building our beliefs on the shadowy props of probability. Chances Are is the story of man’s millennia-long search for the tools to manage the recurrent but unpredictable—to help us prevent, or at least mitigate, the seemingly random blows of disaster, disease, and injustice. In these pages, we meet the brilliant individuals who developed the first abstract formulations of probability, as well as the intrepid visionaries who recognized their practical applications—from gamblers to military strategists to meteorologists to medical researchers, from blackjack to our own mortality.
3. Emotional Intelligence: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Emotions and Raising Your EQ by Ian Tuhovsky
Overview: Scientific research conducted by many American and European universities prove that the “common” intelligence responses account for less than 20% of our life achievements and successes, while the other over 80% depends on emotional intelligence. To put it simply: either you are emotionally intelligent or you are doomed to mediocrity, at best.