Washington, DC — The Global Rise of Unhappiness and How Leaders Missed It
Gallup CEO Jon Clifton in his new book, “BLIND SPOT: The Global Rise of Unhappiness and How Leaders Missed It,” urges leaders to measure and quantify the wellbeing and happiness of their citizens. Blind Spot outlines the indicators leaders can watch to avoid being surprised by negative events in their countries.
The book underscores that worldwide unhappiness is now at a record high. People feel more anger, sadness, pain, worry, and stress than ever before — but the rise of unhappiness cannot be blamed on COVID-19 alone. Gallup’s research shows that unhappiness has been steadily climbing for a decade, and its rise is a blind spot of almost every world leader.
The book explores:
• Five elements of wellbeing — work, financial, community, physical, and social wellbeing, and where the world is struggling most in each of them.
• How to measure happiness, as subjective wellbeing (“happiness”) is a relatively new indicator.
• Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on already rising global unhappiness.
• What economic models miss — why economies grow, while wellbeing of citizens stagnates or declines; and,
• What public and private sector leaders can do to improve citizen and employee wellbeing.
What does this increase in unhappiness means for Sub Saharan Africa given the pressures of conflict, climate change and constantly rising costs for food, fuel, and fertilizer? African leaders will need to work twice as hard as almost any other region of the world to address these wellbeing issues. Blindspot shows that many Africa nations tend to rank lower on key indices along with parts of Asia and the Middle East. African political and business leaders, like others, will also need to appreciate one of Clifton’s other key points — that for the average citizen, growing economies do not necessarily translate into “happiness or a great life.”
“It is possible that this decline in wellbeing,” Clifton notes, “may be causing daily misery to turn to anger.” Meaning, African leaders in all sectors will need to focus on these blind spots in order to govern better with fairness and equanimity- as head of a country or a company – providing improved work environments, addressing quality of life issues, and giving hope.
Clifton adds that “While experts seem to count almost everything — CO2 emissions, size of urban slum populations, every country’s GDP — they do not systematically measure how people feel. If the stock market collapses, it makes headlines everywhere. And all leaders worry when unemployment increases. But what about when anger rises? Or stress? Or sadness? Do they even know it happened — or how to address these growing global issues?”
Clifton answers these questions from his deep dive into Gallup World Poll — a 100-year research initiative spanning over 150 countries. Blind Spot will help leaders better understand how people’s lives are going and see the urgency of measuring how people feel in their organizations, communities, and countries.
“The book is fun, serious, informative, and wonderfully well-written.” — Sir Angus Deaton, Nobel laureate
“The secret to visionary leadership in a troubled world is bringing happiness to others, not just material prosperity. In Blind Spot, Jon Clifton shows why this is the case, how we have failed to focus on this with devastating consequences, and how we can do better. A must read.” — Arthur C. Brooks, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School, and #1 New York Times bestselling author
“This is a leader’s book, no matter what kind of leader you are.”— Dr. Robin Renee Sanders, CEO-FEEEDS, former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Republic of Congo and Africa Director, National Security Council
“The antidote to all human suffering is joy. Joy is the ultimate measure of success and wellbeing and is the soul of leadership. Read this extraordinary and well-researched book and discover the mechanics for yourself.” — Deepak Chopra, M.D.
“Jon Clifton outlines one of the biggest leadership challenges of our time and how every leader missed it.” — Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, former U.S. Ambassador to Finland, CEO of Pace Communications, and first woman Chair of the