Review: William Davies, (2016) The Happiness Industry

Christina McMellon


Whilst doing fieldwork in Vientiane, Laos, for my PhD looking at the ways in which young people understand happiness, a young man made a throwaway comment to me that ‘you can’t measure a smile…well, you could but it wouldn’t mean anything’. I was catapulted back to this encounter the moment that I saw the cover for William Davies’s book The Happiness Industry which features a smile with a scale running along its length which is maybe a ruler, or maybe one of the seemingly ubiquitous survey questions that asks the respondent to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, their happiness.

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ISSN 2042-6968 (Online)
ISSN 1359-1983 (Print)