How to be happy citizens according to Andrés Oppenheimer
Why are people increasingly unhappy despite modernity? Why has people's discontent and dissatisfaction increased over the past 20 years around the world? Why has happiness gone from being a personal issue to a global one and has even become a science?
From these concerns the book was born How to get out of the hole! (Debate), by the Argentine journalist and writer Andrés Oppenheimer, in which he shares, after 13 years of research and travel to various countries, the new strategies of governments, companies and people in search of happiness.
The Master of Journalism from Columbia University, who has always addressed topics such as politics, economics, innovation and technology, decided to delve into the mysteries of happiness and write what he considers his most ambitious book.
“Happiness, until very recently, was the domain of priests, poets, philosophers; But now there are more and more economists and scientists who are studying and proposing scientifically proven policies to increase happiness.
“Why is it important to be happy? Because it is what we all aspire to in life, for ourselves, for our children, for our family members,” she comments in an interview with Excelsior.
The 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, who has just presented this title in Mexico City, says that he was intrigued by the fact that, “even though people have more and more cars, more tablets, televisions with larger screens, it is increasingly unhappier.
“The idea for this book arose when the social revolts occurred in Chile in 2018 and 2019. This is the country that has grown the most economically in Latin America in the last 30 years and the one that has reduced poverty the most. And yet, there was an almost unprecedented social protest, all the people took to the streets,” he explains.
“Then something similar happened in Peru, another country that had been growing in the last 20 years. That made me wonder what is happening, because even countries that are growing economically are unhappier,” she adds.
Considered one of the most influential writers in the Spanish language, he highlights that he interviewed the president of the Gallup polling company. “He told me that they have been doing global surveys in 140 countries for almost 20 years and that unhappiness and discontent have been increasing in this period.
“So, I decided to investigate what is happening. “I started traveling to the happiest countries in the world, according to surveys, and talking to the people who are doing the most innovative things to increase happiness and seeing what we can learn from them,” she adds.
Who has received awards such as the Ortega y Gasset and the King of Spain says that “one of the most interesting surveys is that a large part of this increase in unhappiness is due to the fact that many people are unhappy in their work. 20% of people, according to the Gallup poll, feel miserable at their job. 60% are indifferent, and another 20% are happy.
“There is a big problem of job dissatisfaction. Some companies are starting to take steps to change that. It is very important for companies to have happy people. A company with people who are not happy cannot be creative or innovative or successful,” she says.
He points out that he dedicates an entire chapter to how to create a culture of happiness in companies. “And there I talk about optimism, which is a key factor for companies and for people. Creating a culture of optimism is essential. It is very important to exercise the muscle of optimism.”
After visiting Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica and the United States, countries that come out first in the ranking of the world happiness report, Oppenheimer observed that this satisfaction is related to the fact that there is democracy and honesty, that is, there is no corruption or it is minimal.
He argues that, despite the parties and smiles that characterize their countries, Latin America is a pessimistic subcontinent and that social networks, “which have become more intolerant and racist,” feed hopelessness.
And it suggests that citizens take a more active role in achieving their happiness, not leaving this responsibility to the State.
“Education and culture play a fundamental role in citizen satisfaction. Of course, as long as we have poverty and inequality we will not be able to be the happiest. But above all we must look to the future, not to the past,” concluded Oppenheimer.
Qualification: How to get out of the hole!
Author: Andrés Oppenheimer
Publisher: Debate, Mexico, 2023; 388 pp.
- Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nathan Rivera, a dedicated journalist who has had the privilege of writing for the online newspaper Today90. My journey in the world of journalism has been a testament to the power of dedication, integrity, and passion.
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