The Age of Experiences

Harnessing Happiness to Build a New Economy

Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt, With a Foreword by B. Joseph Pine II
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1710-7
Publication: Feb 20

HC: $99.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1709-1
Publication: Feb 20

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1711-4
Publication: Feb 20

308 pages
6 x 9
4 tables, 4 figs.

How the booming experience and transformation economies can generate happiness—and jobs

Read the Introduction (pdf).


In The Age of Experiences, Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt examines how the advance of happiness science is impacting the economy, making possible new experience-products that really make people happy and help forward-looking businesses expand and develop new technologies. In today’s marketplace there is less interest in goods and services and more interest in buying and selling personal improvements and experiences. Hunnicutt traces how this historical shift in consumption to the “softer” technologies of happiness represents not only a change in the modern understanding of progress, but also a practical, economic transformation, profoundly shaping our work and the ordering of our life goals.

Based on incisive historical research, Hunnicutt demonstrates that we have begun to turn from material wealth to focus on the enrichment of our personal and social lives. The Age of Experiences shows how industry, technology, and the general public are just beginning to realize the potential of the new economy. Exploring the broader implications of this historical shift, Hunnicutt concludes that the new demand for experiences will result in the reduction of work time, the growth of jobs, and the regeneration of virtue—altogether an increasingly healthy public life.


“The Age of Experiences is for all who are interested in an enlightening, market-driven future. The mid-twentieth century passed sans the promised age of leisure. Hunnicutt provides a forward-thinking treatise chronicling how the missing parts of that age are now in place. He uncovers new discoveries in positive psychology and the development of a eudiamonic technology. These phenomena contribute to the emergence of intrinsically motivated productive consumption (IMPC) that frees prosumers from total dependency on providers. Hunnicutt envisions a promising future with liberation capitalism as the economic conduit for providing both employment and products that in turn bring increased happiness and wellbeing.”—J. Robert Rossman, Dean Emeritus, Illinois State University and co-author of Designing Experiences

Table of Contents

Foreword by B. Joseph Pine II

1. Historical Context: Technology, Unemployment, and Progress
2. The Experience Economy: Customer-Added Value
3. The Transformation Economy: The Customer Is the Product
4. Consumerism and Its Critics: Warnings and a Novel Dialectic
5. The New Sciences of Happiness: A Catalog of Positive Psychology’s Elements of Well-Being
6. The New Sciences of Happiness: Positive Neuroscience—More Catalogs and Models
7. Experience Design: Applying the Catalogs and Models
8. The Economics of Experiences: The Liberating Potential of the New Economies and Technology
9. Historical Guides to Experience Design and the Age of Experiences


About the Author(s)

Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt is a historian and professor at the University of Iowa. He is also the author of Kellogg's Six-Hour Day, Work Without End: Abandoning Shorter Hours for the Right to Work, and Free Time: The Forgotten American Dream (all Temple).