In response to Ronald Reagan's famous question, "Are we better off than we were 40 years ago?" The answer would have to be "materially yes, morally no," writes social psychologist David Myers. "Therein lies the American paradox," he continues. "We now have, as average Americans, doubled real incomes and double what money buys. We have espresso coffee, the World Wide Web, sport utility vehicles, and caller ID. And we have less happiness, more depression, more fragile relationships, less communal contentment, less vocational security, more crime (even after the recent decline), and more demoralized children."
Myers shuns the label of conservative or liberal, preferring to see himself as a social ecologist who abhors the dominance of material values. In fact, Myers is a visionary who asks important questions, such as why is marriage so difficult to maintain in our culture? Why are so many fathers abandoning families? Are rich people happier than poor people? What is the price we pay for radical individualism? He answers these questions with persuasive statistics and sound advice that cannot be neatly pigeonholed into one political camp or the other. As a result, this is a author with credibility, as he covers crucial chapters such as "The Past and Future of Marriage," "Money and Misery," "Educating for a Moral Compass," and "America's Children." --Gail Hudson