Sustainable Hedonism New Book Tells How Ancient Philosophers and Modern Science Show the Way to a Good Life

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Sustainable Hedonism – A Thriving Life that Does Not Cost the Earth: Timely and transformative – Ancient Philosophers and Modern Sciences Show the Way to a Good Life.

Author Orsolya Lelkes’ masterly Sustainable Hedonism: A Thriving Life that Does Not Cost the Earth details how we can all flourish and cultivate our skills for enjoying life through experiential learning, reassessing our values and by taking heed of the ancient Greek philosophers.

Sustainable Hedonism

Focussing on three key elements– environmental, social and individual – author Orsolya Lelkes’ stunning Sustainable Hedonism: A Thriving Life that Does Not Cost the Earth reminds us all that a sustainable and flourishing life is attainable.

Providing an opportunity for self-reflection and re-awakening, this highly original pathway to achieving a flourishing life takes as its starting point the dilemma of how to live a life that brings growth and fulfilment, yet that is at the same time considerate of the finite resources of our Earth; a life that is joyful but that can also contribute to our finding a way out of the ecological and climate crisis.

'Sustainable Hedonism' : New Book Tells How Ancient Philosophers and Modern Science Show the Way to a Good Life on The Table Read

Sharing her psychology expertise and philosophical insights from Aristotle and his contemporaries, this accessible book invites everyone to find a life strategy that connects us to our deepest needs as well as to the interests of others.

A book for our time.

Chelsea Green Publishing - the leading publisher of sustainable living books since 1985.


How can we create a thriving life for us all that doesn’t come at the price of ecological destruction?

This book calls to explore our collective and personal convictions about success and good life. It challenges the mainstream worldview, rooted in economics, which equates happiness with pleasure, and encourages greed, materialism, egoism and disconnection.

Drawing on science and ancient Greek philosophers the author details how we can cultivate our skills for enjoying life without harming ourselves or others, and can live an autonomous, creative and connected life. Complementary to our intellectual understanding, the experiential method of role play, and theatre can powerfully facilitate the exploration of the inner drivers and hindrances of a thriving life.

Endorsements of Sustainable Hedonism: A Thriving Life That Does Not Cost the Earth include:

“Orsolya Lelkes’ ideas for progress advance both the survival of the planet and thriving communities and thriving personal lives.”

Professor Anne Power, Head of LSE Housing and Communities, London School of Economics

“Highly topical and timely. This work brings together key economic and philosophical literatures with a distinctive practical approach.”

Sir Professor John Hills, London School of Economics and Political Science (1954-2020)

“Beyond the empty, sterile promises of consumerism, there is a place rich in meaningful engagement with ourselves, others and the more than human world. A rediscovery of our bodies – specifically in the form of theatre and role-play – provides a powerful channel for this re-awakening. This is the territory that Orsolya Lelkes so skilfully and powerfully explores, helping us to re-engage with the power of embodiment.”

Jonathan Dawson, Head of Economics, Schumacher College

Amazon readers say:

“Perfect interdisciplinary book for Earth Day! This is a fantastic book, very intelligently written, well-researched, it’s topical, current and provides an excellent interdisciplinary exploration on how to live fully in a way that supports our planet as well. I loved the brilliant title–and of course the content– that joins hedonism and sustainability side by side! We’re going to adopt the book at our liberal arts college for Earth Day (April 22) and sustainability week in Spring 2022.“ – Kati Lustyik – Amazon US

“This book is a timely reminder that modern pursuit of hedonism (to the detriment of people around us, the environment and society) is at odds with ancient hedonist’s belief of balanced, freeing joy cultivation. Using the message of this book, people can unlearn the impulse to consume and instead create a mindful relationship with pleasure seeking. This is a must-read for people and brands as we seek to continue living a fun, hedonistic lives while facing the impending climate crisis.” – Elspeth Taylor

With a sound scientific base in psychology, economics, and philosophy, the book provided me with a refreshing perspective on a sustainable lifestyle beyond egoistic pleasure-seeking (of economic man). It envisioned ways for me towards leading a flourishing life and fostering positive relationships with myself, my social community, and the environment.

Table of contents

Introduction: Is There Anyone Who Does Not Want to Thrive?

PART I: The Challenge

1 Unintended Consequences of Economics as a Science

2 The Narrative of Success in Capitalism, and Its Failures

PART II: What Is a Good Life?

3 Pleasure, Joy, Satisfaction, Purpose: Refining Our Quest for Happiness

4 Sustainable Hedonism

5 A Flourishing Life: Living Well and Doing Well

6 Values in an Era of Free Choice                                

PART III: How Do We Get There?

7 The Laboratory of the Flourishing Life: Serious Change Can Be Playful

8 Inner Agents and Saboteurs of the Good Life: Role Theory

Conclusions: Flourishing Life in the World

About Orsolya Lelkes

Orsolya Lelkes is an independent scholar and psychological counsellor, former Deputy Director at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna (a United Nations-affiliated institute) and former Head of Economic Research at Hungarian Ministry of Finance. She holds a PhD from the London School of Economics.

Orsolya Lelkes seeks how these two worlds: that of the common good and that of individuals´ lives and passions can mutually strengthen and reinforce each other. She is seeking ways to support societal, communal and individual transformations for a thriving life for all.

Find more from Orsolya Lelkes

Published by Bristol University Press, Sustainable Hedonism: A Thriving Life That Does Not Cost the Earth is available on Amazon as follows:

Hardcover (£75.00 –

Paperback (£21.99) –

Kindle format (£15.89) –

It is also available to purchase through the publishers at:

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