The book : The illusions of Happiness

« A very convincingly argued book, full of anecdotes, investigations, polls and scientific research, which helps to question peoples’ “perfect lives” and what it means for us. » Les Echos – September 2017

« An open-minded approach for all readers, which, in 368 pages, manages to sum up one of the greatest pitfalls of our time. » L’Obs – November 2017

« A wise analysis that methodically deconstructs one of the greatest deceptions of the century. » Le Point – September 2017

« A work full of wisdom just like Malene Rydahl’s previous book. » BFMTV (Les Livres de l’Eco) – November 2017

The Illusions of Happiness was published in France in September 2017 by Flammarion . In 2018, a paperback version was published by J’ai Lu , with the title The Five Traps to Happiness.

To buy the book online (in French) click here for the hardcover and click here for the paperback


The illusions of Happiness
Beauty, money, power, fame and sex.

It’s worth asking where these aspirations are leading us as a society—and whether, once they’re achieved, they’re any sort of guarantee of happiness.

Do you sometimes feel that there is something missing in your life to be really happy? That if you were more handsome or prettier, wealthier, more influential, famous or sexier, then happiness would finally happen?

To overcome our inhibitions and help us see through them, the expert on happiness, Malene Rydahl, reveals in her second book what lies behind people’s “perfect lives”. She explores the latest studies and international academic references but also brings in her personal observations, to guide us through the five traps to happiness, i.e. beauty, money, power, fame and sex. This big splash into the biggest  delusions of our time will relieve us from the need to compare ourselves to others, and help us on the path to our very own happiness.In this new fascinating book, the author, expert in happiness,  explores  the latest studies and international  academic references but she also brings in her personal observations for more than 20 years of studying the subject of happiness . The book is essentially a refelxion on how to live your life in all its beauty and complexity, without getting bogged down by the illusions of happiness.



In our current political and social climate, it seems not only important but urgent to pursue this exploration. Isn’t the 45th President of the United States the incarnation of wealth, power, and fame blown out of proportion by the media and social networks? Nowadays, more than 50% of teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 want more than anything to be famous, with no specific motive besides fame itself. 61% of French people say they “don’t have enough money to be completely happy” and 94% of Americans agree that money can buy happiness after all. The thirst for power pushes people to constantly seek “success” without even knowing what that means, and at the cost of their mental and physical health. It’s even worse when it comes to beauty and sex. Only 2% of women think they are beautiful, and every year plastic surgeons “retouch” tens of millions of people. And while sex is often cited as one of the main sources of “happiness,” more than 60% of young people nowadays get their sex education from pornography sites, where sexuality is completely separated from emotions.

In this new fascinating book, the author adopts a positive and well-researched approach on how to live our life in all its beauty and complexity, without getting bogged down by the illusions of happiness.