Author Ruth ​Whippman is Today’s Honoree

America the Anxious_FC“Perhaps it takes the wry and often hilarious observations of an inquiring outsider to bring  into sharp focus the absurdity of modern America’s near obsessive pursuit of Happiness with a capital H, which is instead making so many of us so miserable. British writer Ruth Whippman takes readers on an engaging and perceptive personal romp through the $10 billion happiness industry, and, along the way, shreds much of the ‘science’ that happiness is both an individual responsibility and a solo endeavor, and, thankfully, calls for restoring the ideal that true happiness is about the depth of our social connections, about meaning, and, ultimately, about justice for all. A great—and important—read.” —Brigid Schulte, award-winning journalist and author of the New York Times bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love & Play When No One Has the Time
“I LOVED this book. I found it SO WELL WRITTEN, so witty and funny that reading it I was often envious of Ruth Whippman’s facility with language. It was a hugely engaging read, accessible and so relevant…. I loved the fact that she anchored her research in her own life and the case studies were utterly fascinating! The Mormons! The funny town in Vegas! It’s a great book. It really needs to be read because people are going about happiness all the wrong way. I really really really really enjoyed it and am quite evangelical about it.” —Marian Keyes, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Sushi for Beginners

Ruth Whippman has written a laugh-out-loud examination of how, exactly, the American pursuit of happiness has led us so far astray. With insight and intellect, she tracks the peculiar American obsession with happiness from yoga classes in Berkeley to the wilds of Silicon Valley and corporate-sponsored mindfulness seminars. The true value in this book—beyond Whippman’s considerable wit—is its celebration of the complexity of human emotion and connection. Whippman brings a fresh perspective to American culture that is almost impossible to find in today’s positivity-at-all-costs ethos. America the Anxious is a vibrant, hilarious, necessary book.” —Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl

“If you’re on a quest for happiness, you want to start with buying this book. Wit, wisdom, and the kind of analysis only a Brit could bring to the topics of anxiety and contentment. And the book itself will make you happy: I laughed my way through it. Highly recommended.” —Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth: Getting By in Bootstrap America

“Ruth Whippman manages the trick of being funny about what is, deep down, a serious problem: the American quest for happiness isn’t working. The more we focus on making ourselves happy, the more anxious we become—and the pursuit of wellbeing becomes just another stressful competition. Yet there’s no need to despair, she suggests: there’s a far more promising path to fulfillment in the equally American traditions of community, solidarity, and solving our problems together.” —Oliver Burkeman, Guardian columnist and author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking

“With the gimlet eye of an outsider, Ruth Whippman illustrates persuasively and hilariously, again and again, how seeking happiness as an elusive end goal is making us frantic, miserable, and blind to things that might actually make us happy… For anyone who has fallen prey to a book promising the secret of a happy life, and then failed to feel any happier, THIS book, by Whippman, might just provide the answers you didn’t even know you were seeking.” —Malena Watrous, author of If You Follow Me


Ruth Whippman is a British writer, journalist, and documentary maker living in the United States. Her essays and comment pieces have appeared in various publications including the New York Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the Huffington Post. She graduated from Cambridge University and now lives in California, where she is the proud mother of two little boys.


After she packed up her British worldview (that everything is pretty much rubbish) and moved to America, Ruth Whippman was increasingly perplexed and baffled by the daily focus, if not obsession, on her own and other peoples’ happiness: it came up among the mothers at the playground swings, with the butcher at the supermarket, with her babysitter who sang the praises of nudist happiness retreats, and even with her gynecologist. She encountered an American public that—stoked by the multi-billion dollar happiness-industrial complex—was making itself crazy.

Now, in America the Anxious, Whippman embarks on an uproarious pilgrimage to explore the American happiness machine, tackling both the ridiculous and the sublime. Her search to discover what, if anything, actually does make us happy, unveils a startlingly straightforward, rigorously-researched universal answer that requires no hot yoga.

Visit Ruth Whippman for more information.

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