The End of Happiness by Murray Rothman
The End of Happiness is a work by American author Murray Rothman that covers many themes, some of which he has explored in his past novels. In The End of Happiness, however, Rothman adopts a more explicitly political tone, as the title suggests. The book is not a thinly veiled criticism of American capitalism and its pursuit of profit, but rather one that make broad and deep criticisms of contemporary American society – and, as such, goes a long way towards making the reader appreciate what he writes about so much. Rothman’s insights into the psychology of consumer behavior and motivation stand out as being well worth reading for anyone interested in how attitudes towards happiness and prosperity can vary from one person to another.
One of the themes that The End of Happiness explores is that of loss. People seem to inherently yearn for happiness. The good thing with this, as Rothman points out, is that it is possible to find happiness within the loss of things. The problem lies, however, when the loss of material possessions we so dearly enjoy becomes a part of our happiness. This unhappiness can breed greed and a desire for even more possessions, to the point that our financial security becomes threatened.
The End of Happiness also explores other dimensions of human psychology. One of these is the question of why money matters so much to people. In our economic model of the world, Rothman answers this by telling us that money is necessary to gain happiness, and that without it life will be intolerable. The book makes it clear that money should not be the key factor in choosing your lifestyle, but rather the quality of that lifestyle and its connections to happiness. Money, in the end, only serves to enhance the feeling of wealth that you have in your life.