Book Release: Flourishing in Canada: How to Get the Good Life

We are happy to announce the release of our book, Flourishing in Canada: How to Get the Good Life.

We are grateful for reviews from Annelise Acorn, Professor of Law, University of Alberta Law School; Matthew T. Lee, Director of Empirical Research Human Flourishing Program Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University; Ene Underwood, CEO at Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area; Julian Karaguesian, Visiting Lecturer, Department of Economics, McGill University; Harris A. Eyre MD PhD, co-lead of the OECD Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative; and Sam Hill, Journalist. All published below.

Available at Amazon: Flourishing in Canada: How to Get the Good Life



“Advocating for a shift away from GDP and to a “flourishing lens” Neill and Nevin challenge the Canadian state to a revolutionary reconceiving of its function: to reorient Canadians away from the fetishes of consumerism and toxic competition toward their own humanity. Alongside a powerful critique of “tournament culture” and the futile quest for “positional goods”, Neill and Nevin offer a new job description for both governments and economies: to support and promote true human happiness understood in terms of autonomy, connectedness and resilience. Revealing the manifold costs of our obsession with GDP and the price tag of suffering attached to adherence to its sterile metrics, the authors ask us to imagine a world in which we focus on, measure, and thereby cultivate, what we ought most to value: our own and others’ flourishing. This is a book that speaks at once to both the meta-policy choices of governments and the innermost personal choices about what matters in life. One cannot read this book without imagining a better world where richer, kinder, more fulfilling and more engaged lives would be lived. The question, “who might I be in the world these authors envision?” is one that is well worth contemplating. The answers, I predict, will generate support for Neill and Nevin’s blueprint. Far from being a utopian pipedream, this book offers a ‘how-to manual’ for dismantling the hell we’ve built for ourselves and assembling aright-headed and meaningful new  world.” – Annelise Acorn, Professor of Law, University of Alberta Law School

“Flourishing in Canada skillfully offers insights into why increased happiness has not tracked with the amazing improvements that have occurred in quality of life in recent decades. The experience of Canadians is not unique in this regard. By using a broader lens than GDP and other more restrictive measures, and thoughtfully engaging with economics and public policy, the authors are able to investigate a more complete experience of human flourishing. This includes a fresh consideration of the importance of cultures of cooperation and “optimized” competition.  Indeed, the authors provocatively argue that “properly constructed competition is at the heart of flourishing.” This creative volume is a welcome addition to the literature.” – Matthew T. Lee, Director of Empirical Research Human Flourishing Program Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University

“If an economy is not making people’s lives better, then it is not fit for purpose and must be reformed.” This statement lies at the heart of Neill and Nevin’s bold and ambitious Flourishing in Canada. Indeed,  as much as Canadians take pride in values like respect, equality, inclusion and decency, the sad reality is that we have been sliding towards greater income inequality and declining levels of life satisfaction for many years. The global COVID-19 pandemic served to both illuminate and accelerate this trajectory. Neill and Nevin argue that we must tilt our economy from a singular focus on GDP to one with much loftier goals of unleashing the potential of all Canadians. The authors make no claims to having fully nailed the formula for how we get from here to there but they lay out persuasive and well-researched directional signs for starting the journey. A provocative and essential read for all who seek a better, fairer, more prosperous tomorrow for future generations.” – Ene Underwood, CEO at Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area

“Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the deep-seated frailties of the Neoliberal economic model, Neill and Nevin lay bare the utter inadequacies of using GDP and GDP growth per capita as the leading measurement of economic and social progress in modern global civilization. Flourishing in Canada: How to Get the Good Life makes the vital point that economists’ widespread focus on GDP has severely limited our policy choices and created a canyon-like gap between the reality of our economic and social progress in advanced economies on the one side, and the full potential for progress on the other, in an era of ubiquitous technological innovation. Neill and Nevin offer a wide range of policy recommendations that promise a progressive revolution, not just in economic productivity but more importantly in societal well-being. In short, they are proposing the ways and means of designing an economic and social system that serves the needs and aspirations of people, in place of many current models in which people serve the system.”
– Julian Karaguesian, Visiting Lecturer, Department of Economics, McGill University 

“If flourishing is our objective, then brain capital is the means to achieve it. Brain capital is a form of capital relevant to a complex, interconnected, and fragile global economy that puts a premium on brain skill sand brain health. Brain skills include self-control, emotional intelligence, creativity, mindfulness, compassion, altruism, systems thinking, metacognition, critical thinking and cognitive flexibility; these skills are all dependent on brain health. Flourishing in Canada: How to get the Good Life contributes meaningfully to the goal of optimizing policies across all sectors and developing novel investment instruments to build brain capital. It does this through a discussion of how public policy can help to foster the individual flourishing that an economy is meant to support. I commend Neill and Nevin for this comprehensive and action-oriented work – onwards!”
– Harris A. Eyre MD PhD, co-lead of the OECD Neuroscience-inspired Policy Initiative 

“Fascinating set of ideas. A shot across the bow of traditional macroeconomists.”
 – Sam Hill, Journalist

“With this book, Neill and Nevin challenge a central tenet of modern economic policy: the idea that GDP growth automatically translates into higher levels of well-being for a nation. By using Canada as their case study, the authors explain why policymakers in developed countries have to stop thinking solely about GDP and start thinking about policy from a “flourishing” point of view, which includes people’s material, emotional, and spiritual well-being. By placing the human being and its flourishing at the center of economics, I believe this book is a must-read to all of us working on development and welfare economics.”
– Jorge Jraissati, Venezuelan Economist and Director of Alumni at Students For Liberty  

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