100 Years of Happiness
Insights and Findings from the Experts
by Nathan Carlin and Donald Capps
July 2012, 210pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0362-8
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0363-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The question “What is happiness?” is one that most of us ponder at least once in our lives. This is the first book that approaches the study of happiness by listening to the experts, both historical and contemporary, and this book approaches the topic of happiness by compiling more than 100 years of research by scholars, researchers, and philosophers. In doing so, this work at hand gives happiness and its critics a fair hearing by attending to all of the arguments.

This book sums up 100 of years of research into the study of happiness—from 19th century scientific insights on the subject to the pop psychology perspectives of modern-day America.

We all want to be happy, but what does that mean, and how do we get there? These questions may be a popular topic of positive psychology books in recent years, but interest in the subject stretches back over a century. Distinguished authors Nathan Carlin and Donald Capps examine opinions, research studies, and insights about happiness from the 18th century through today.

100 Years of Happiness: Insights and Findings from the Experts is organized into three sections—one that explores insights from philosophers, another part that reviews study results from researchers, and a final section that casts some skepticism on the study of happiness. The authors review what the experts have found, and explore such questions as: Is happiness the goal of life? Is it possible to measure happiness? Is it possible to become happier? What is the difference between unhappiness and depression? If humankind could eliminate unhappiness from the human condition, should we? This fascinating text provides a basis for readers to develop their own conclusions, and to continue humankind’s ongoing discourse on the subject.


  • Concise summaries of classic debates on the meaning of happiness
  • An examination of cultural and individual belief systems regarding happiness
Nathan Carlin, PhD, is director of the Medical Humanities and Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, TX. His primary faculty appointment is in the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. He also holds appointments in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Dentistry, both of which are part of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; and as a faculty member in the Institute for Spirituality and Health, also located in Houston. Carlin has published numerous articles as well as one coauthored book (with Donald Capps), titled Living in Limbo: Life in the Midst of Uncertainty.

Donald Capps, PhD, is William Harte Felmeth Professor of pastoral theology (emeritus) and adjunct professor of pastoral theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including Agents of Hope; The Child's Song; Men, Religion, and Melancholia; Men and Their Religion; Freud and Freudians on Religion; Social Phobia; Jesus the Village Psychiatrist; and Understanding Psychosis: Issues and Challenges for Sufferers, Families, and Friends. He received an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Uppsala in 1989, served as president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion from 1990–1992, and received the American Psychological Association's William F. Bier Award for Contribution to Psychology of Religion in 1995.


"The authors included are interesting and provide substantive food for thought. At the end, you will want to join Carlin and Capps in the coffee shop to discuss your own perspective of happiness and to follow up by journaling your seven keys to happiness. . . . 100 Years of Happiness is a good read. It won’t make you happy, but it will get you thinking."—PsycCRITIQUES, December 12, 2012

"Nathan Carlin and Donald Capps inflict some serious damage on the notion that attaining happiness is beyond human agency or reach. Encyclopedic in scope, engrossing in detail, and enriching in wisdom, 100 Years of Happiness makes you want to roll up your sleeves, get to work (and play), and be glad."—Robert C. Dykstra, Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

"What a fascinating book! With a cerebral approach, this book analyzes the key components of happiness over time, and it is an enlightening read for leaders in the workplace who aspire to motivate individuals at their fundamental core for a greater, sustainable good."—Catherine M. Flaitz, DDS, MS, Professor, Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology and Pediatric Dentistry, The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston

"Historically acute, 100 Years of Happiness offers hope for all who seek a harmonious life and know it is no joke. Carlin and Capps combine wisdom, humility, and fearless irony as they invite their readers to author happiness for themselves. Zesty and visionary, this book whets one’s appetite for happiness. —Jaco Hamman, Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Western Theological Seminary

"Carlin and Capps present a fascinating and delightful excursion into the great variety of thoughts on happiness throughout the past one hundred years. Easy to read but full of reflection, this book explores the gamut on happiness: from what happiness means and how we cultivate it to whether Americans are artificially happy. We are reminded that, in contrast to amassing wealth or being envious, meaningful relationships, work, helping our neighbor, and accepting ourselves go a long way towards happiness. And let's not forget about the importance of sorrow in the happy life."—Caroline Kiernan Lodato, MD, Fellow in Palliative Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
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