The Age of Wellbeing by David Green (Book Review)


What if wellbeing could bring us all together as a species? Is this even a possibility? How can we make sure we lead better lives while also preserving other people and the planet’s wellbeing? These are some of the questions answered by David Green in his new non-fiction book The Age of Wellbeing, to be launched on January 4th.

David Green’s book is based on eight years of research and a strong personal vision of a world in which we can all thrive and not just survive. As a result of such dedication, The Age of Wellbeing provides us with a description and explanation of David’s CANBE model of wellbeing, a framework that combines both eastern and western philosophy approaches to wellbeing.

“Now more than ever, we need courageous leaders who can lead us through potential apocalyptic threats to a place where we can all thrive”
David Green in The Age of Wellbeing

The CANBE model offers us a thoughtful compass to improve not only our life but also other people’s wellbeing. According to David, this is possible if we work to fulfill ourselves across five dimensions of wellbeing. These dimensions compose the CANBE model and include ‘Creating Meaning’ (C), ‘Achieving Potential’ (A), ‘Nurturing Relationships’ (N), Building Resilience (B), and ‘Enriching Lives’ (E).

If you are familiar with Positive Psychology, which I love to describe as the science of wellbeing, you will definitely resonate with David’s proposal and viewpoint. Moreover, David has a very realistic notion of wellbeing, which is one of the points that I particularly liked in the book. As David has put it, life is both pleasurable and challenging. We can’t pretend there is only good in life and ignore the bad and the ugly. The secret is to learn how to navigate and make the most out of life.

Another aspect I enjoyed finding in this book is a thoughtful parallel between the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. no poverty, good health and wellbeing) and David’s proposed model of wellbeing. I no longer subscribe UN’s line of work, but I find the connection, expansion and critique made by the author very interesting. In other words, I think David has managed to make many of UN’s goals more concrete and more ‘workable’ for individuals throughout the book.

All in all, I believe The Age of Wellbeing is not just a good book on the topic of wellbeing but also a great tool for individuals and leaders who want to take wellbeing on a serious note while keeping a broad and integrative perspective over it as well. It’s a book that will help you transform your life and help you move from surviving to thriving, but also inspire you and prepare you to lead positive change in your close and extended social environment (e.g. family, workplace, local community).

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