I first read a self-help book just before joining college. Then, I read many more over next few years. These books put a pressure on you to be happy. Always.
There’s nothing wrong with those who have a naturally sunny disposition or who enjoy the odd self-help book, says Brinkmann. The problem is when happiness becomes a requisite. In the workplace, for example, where performance reviews often insist on focusing on positive growth rather than genuine difficulties, demanding displays of happiness is “almost totalitarian.” Brinkmann likens insistence on employee happiness to “thought control.”