Technology has moved faster than any one could ever imagine, causing stress and feelings of anxiety in many of us, technophobe and tech geek alike. The Future of Happiness: 5 Modern Strategies for Balancing Productivity and Well-Being in the Digital Era is a guide to eliminating this stress. With the book’s principles, readers learn how to use technology without being overwhelmed by it.
What is The Future of Happiness About?
Think about all the technology that has become a part of your life in the past few years. You have a cell phone (more than likely a smartphone) that lets you stay connected to anyone around the world near a cell phone tower. You use a desktop or laptop to access the internet and check your email, use social media, make purchases, learn new things and do your job. You might watch movies on Netflix, store your pictures in a cloud or read a digital version of a book.
None of these technologies existed a few years ago. Yet, they have become an integral part of our lives. We can’t imagine living without them. (Try to leave your cell phone at home for one full day!). In The Future of Happiness, author Amy Blankson explores what this means for us caught in the middle.
We are overwhelmed by this technology but we can’t imagine being happy without it.
In The Future of Happiness, Blankson argues there is a “middle path” between technological overwhelm and technological obsession.
That “middle path” centers around the five principles discussed in the book. These five principles, however, have nothing to do with the type of technology that a person picks. It has to do with the person (aka you) who picks the technology. By paying more attention to how we use technology, we can gain more control.
Although we tend to blame technology for many of society’s new problems (texting while driving, decreasing attention rates, etc.), they are not the problem. We are! When we don’t pay attention to what we are doing, we end up chasing productivity gadgets instead of being productive. The Future of Happiness is about breaking this cycle one principle at a time.
Blankson is an author, speaker, and consultant in the areas of positive psychology and technology. Blankson cofounded GoodThink, Inc, an organization that bridges the gap between academic research and practical application of that research. She has completed projects for a variety of people, including presidents, and even Oprah Winfrey. (Blankson served as a professor in one of Oprah’s happiness courses).
What Was Best About The Future of Happiness?
The Future of Happiness is a great book because of its authenticity. The book recognizes the internal tension we feel about technology. We know that technology has become an important part of our lives but we fear the consequences of having too much of it. No other book on this topic displays this insight in quite the same way. As a result, Blankson’s book offers a perspective that should be accessible to everyone.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
While The Future of Happiness offers powerful (but simple) principles, down-to-Earth stories that everyone can relate to, and an excellent translation of academic research into practical resources, there is one area that could use a little more work. The bulk of each chapter of the book focuses on the research and stories for the book’s five principles. Only a small section of each chapter is devoted to outlining strategies. More content here (especially with examples) might give more detail to readers who want to translate the book’s strategies into reality at work and at home.
Why Read The Future of Happiness?
The Future of Happiness covers the overlooked issue in discussions about the future of humanity. As many books point out, there will be more gadgets, more robots, and more artificial intelligence. Will there be more happiness, though? This is a topic that most books don’t talk about. They assume that humans will just figure it out. As Blankson points out brilliantly in her book, this is not the case. Adding more technology doesn’t make us happier. At the same time, running away from our technology-driven future won’t make most of us happy either.
Instead, we need balance.
The Future of Happiness helps us achieve that balance by redirecting our attention from mindless chasing of quick solutions to practical (and timeless) principles. If you are concerned about the increasing pace of technology, this book will help you place things in perspective before it’s too late.