Preface and acknowledgments
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This book started as a project of gathering noteworthy quotes from all media on happiness. As we started to write it, we realized that some fundamental ideas that were preserved and augmented over history on happiness were treated as background material. Ideas of virtue, prudence, wisdom, honor, pleasure, health, freedom, justice, wealth, and so on, are at the source of happiness. They are simple everyday terms that escape any definitions, but they evolved over time, sometimes to ideal possibilities that are hard to fathom, and sometimes to mere base pleasure.

We aspire to fill the gap in the literature by bringing the fundamental ideas of happiness from the economic viewpoint to the forefront. The economic viewpoint embraces moral philosophy, psychology, bookkeeping, efficiency, specialization, states of equilibrium, governance, international relations, and so on. Economics assumes that people want to better their life and its associated happiness. In the world of economics, we rank things according to their usefulness to us, which has an underlying distribution that brings the greatest happiness to us. We measure such happiness by observing the things people choose to buy. Lacking such a basis, we survey people under experimental conditions, asking them questions to discern their states of happiness.

A principal axis of happiness is concerned with the divine. It is an axis for reflecting and churning on the realm of truth, bliss, and consciousness. Such aspects of happiness are covered in the literature on religion and mysticism. Our main concern is with happiness on the material plane, which bundles within us the capacity for happiness. The domain of such happiness resides in our functionality and capability, two highways to freedom and justice. In taking care of our need, we have to harness our emotions and feelings that can be culprits in diverting us from the road to happiness. Our feelings and emotions are significant sources of our moral sentiments. Economics tends to strike a balance of some of our moral sentiments that are automatically guided by invisible forces, and some by humans in order to secure our happiness.

In the process of preparing this book on happiness, we have accumulated numerous debts and it is our pleasure to acknowledge the individuals and institutions who have made this volume possible. First, we would like to thank Alan Sturmer, our editor, whose personal interest in this project was encouraging to us, and Dr Danna Messer for reviewing the manuscript and offering valuable comments. Progress from draft manuscript to final version was aided by Stephanie Miodus, our very talented assistant who currently attends Temple University pursuing a PhD in School Psychology.

Michael owes an awesome debt of gratitude to Alan Zimmerman and Iuliana Ismailescu, for their goodness of heart, enduring support, positive attitude, gracious good cheer, and deep friendship. They have an electricity around them and a sense of commitment. In the same category, he would like to include Renee Blinder, Elena Goldman, Laura Nowak, Miriam Tsymuk, Carmen Urma, Sergiu Viorel Urma, and Joshua Zilberberg who are all dear friends. They are a constant source of affection. He also wants to recognize Elki and Chaim Herzog; Batya and Moshe Shain; Chanoch and Ephraim Kunin; Devorah and Nachum Wolmark; Ayala Szenberg and Menachem Yehuda Feifer; and Yaakov Nosson Szenberg. They work with diligence, character, good humor, exactitude, and patience. They have all lightened many a task. Their assistance was incalculable and he is grateful to them.

As he strolls down memory lane with my rusty wheels turning, his heart warms with gratitude toward Ester Budek Robbins, Lisa Ferraro, Laura Garcia, Anna Geller, Yelena Glants, Iva Joseph, Janet Lieben-Ulman, Jennifer Loftus, Sadia Nabi, Larisa Parkhomovsky, Andrea Pascarelli, Ira Robbins, Sandra Shpilberg, Marina Slavina, Justyna Tuniewicz, Janet Ulman, and Aleena Wee, my past talented and devoted graduate research assistants who have helped directly and indirectly in more ways than he can list. They all lead successful, productive lives. Their input lives on in these pages.

In addition, a number of former students, who are part of Michael’s extended family, deserve thanks for their invaluable input and assistance: Tamar Gomez, Lorene Hiris, Richard LaRocca, Luba Sagui, Cathyann Tully, and Sonja Wiedenmann. They all occupy high educational and administrative positions at various universities and companies.

Special thanks to Touro’s Vice Presidents Stanley Boylan, Robert Goldschmidt, Rabbi Moshe D. Krupka, and David Raab, and Deans Henry M. Abramson, Barry Bressler, Sandra Brock, Avery Horowitz, Moshe Sokol, Marian Stoltz-Loike, and Dr Melech Press, Chairman of the Psychology Department, for their ongoing support and commitment to scholarly endeavors and helping Michael navigate Touro’s waters. And to Dr Mark Hasten, the chairman of Touro College’s Board of Trustees and Board of Overseers, for his friendship and support.

Michael’s deepest gratitude goes to Dr Alan Kadish, President of Touro College and University System, for his extraordinary leadership, dedication to excellence, kindness, cheerfulness, and inspiration. He is the backbone of the organization, holding the wheel and steering Touro’s ship in the right direction.