Unhappy is the story of happiness. More than two thousand years ago, when the ancient Greeks first pondered what constitutes "the good life," happiness was considered a civic virtue that demanded a lifetime's cultivation. Not just mere enjoyment of pleasure and mere avoidance of suffering, true happiness was an achievement, not a birthright. Now, in an age of instant gratification and infinite distraction, history professor Richard Schoch takes a refreshingly contemplative look at a question that's as vital today as ever: What does it mean to be happy? Schoch consults some of history's greatest thinkers -- from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas to Buddha -- in his quest to understand happiness in all its hard-won forms. Packed with three thousand years' worth of insights, many long forgotten, The Secrets of Happiness is a breath of ancient wisdom for anyone who yearns for the good life.
Richard Schoch is Professor of the History of Culture at Queen Mary, University of London, where he is also Director of the Graduate School in Humanities and Social Sciences. His books, Not Shakespeare and Shakespeare's Victorian Stage, were shortlisted, respectively, for the Theatre Book Prize (UK) and the Barnard Hewitt Award (USA). He is the recipient of fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, The Folger Shakespeare Library, the Stanford Humanities Center, The Leverhulme Trust, and is a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement. Prior to his academic career, he studied world history and culture with the Jesuits, wrote copy for NBC's flagship television station in New York's Rockefeller Center, and managed development projects in Morocco and Tunisia. He is happy to have received an indulgence for his sins from Pope John Paul I.