Happiness Is A Big Fat Lie

Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky Takes on Our Misconceptions of Joy

In Squaring Off, Zócalo invites authors into the public square to answer five questions about the essence of their books. For this round, we pose questions to UC Riverside psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, But Does.

Lyubomirsky argues that we’ve been fed a series of destructive “happiness myths” that prevent us from ever feeling truly content. We’re taught, for example, that certain life achievements—marriage, parenthood, a “dream” job—will generate everlasting pleasure, while others—illness, divorce, aging—will …