Stumbling on Happiness

Stumbling on Happiness

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
8
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A smart and funny book by a prominent Harvard psychologist, which uses groundbreaking research and (often hilarious) anecdotes to show us why we're so lousy at predicting what will make us happy - and what we can do about it.

Most of us spend our lives steering ourselves toward the best of all possible futures, only to find that tomorrow rarely turns out as we had expected. Why? As Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert explains, when people try to imagine what the future will hold, they make some basic and consistent mistakes. Just as memory plays tricks on us when we try to look backward in time, so does imagination play tricks when we try to look forward.

Using cutting-edge research, much of it original, Gilbert shakes, cajoles, persuades, tricks and jokes us into accepting the fact that happiness is not really what or where we thought it was. Among the unexpected questions he poses: Why are conjoined twins no less happy than the general population? When you go out to eat, is it better to order your favourite dish every time, or to try something new? If Ingrid Bergman hadn't gotten on the plane at the end of Casablanca, would she and Bogey have been better off?

Smart, witty, accessible and laugh-out-loud funny, Stumbling on Happiness brilliantly describes all that science has to tell us about the uniquely human ability to envision the future, and how likely we are to enjoy it when we get there.


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Vintage Canada, 2007, c2006
Edition: Vintage Canada ed. --
ISBN: 9780676978582
0676978584
Branch Call Number: 158 Gil 3558ad 1
Characteristics: xvii, 310 p. :,ill

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s
stewstealth
Jan 28, 2015

Not really about happiness, this book looks at how our brains work that contribute to us mis-remembering our experiences and mis-calculating our satisfactions or pain in past or future events. Well researched and interesting but somehow the author's writing style put me off. Worth reading.

z
zipread
Jul 03, 2014

Stumbling on Happiness --- by --- Daniel Gilbert. In spite of great reviews on the book cover; despite all the library posts that have received this book enthusiastically; despite Gilbert’s standing as a psychological researcher; despite an intriguing title; despite all of these things: on my personal library shelf this book is a flop. This book didn’t even stand the “50 pages test”. For me it was all wrong: the writing style, the content, the whole ball of wax. I found myself skimming different parts of the book which I thought ought to be interesting. Nothing. But it could all be just me.

j
jrp47
Feb 09, 2013

Daniel Gilbert
Mentioned in thinking fast and allow

c
ceedeegee57
Dec 30, 2012

Excellent read, won't tell you how to be happy exactly (it's not a "self-help" book, but more it will tell you why you make the choices you do and why you end up feeling the way you do about them after. Revealing in the best possible way.

a
Avantel
Nov 15, 2012

It’s amazing that after several decades of psychology research ‘actually about a century- we have just recently been told such impressive and at the same time prosaic truth as Daniel Gilbert describes. His book would’ve been described as pure wisdom in other much older times. Nowadays, it qualifies for a shipping discount in amazon.com if the discount motivates you to buy more stuff. What if you just borrow it? But you may want it anyways.
These are times when plenty of writers aim at disputing conventional wisdom. This book is serious about it and will show you how we lie to ourselves in many several ways that makes us happy in the very present but quite often lead us into future unhappiness, what else to expect from deception? (even if it’s self-deception)

b
bonananda
Mar 13, 2012

I devoured this book like a best-selling novel. Couldn't put it down. A Harvard psychologist supports all of his statements with ample research and with lots of intelligent humour thrown in. For anyone who wonders why people make the choices we do, the answers are all in this brilliant book!

d
dknipp
Feb 21, 2011

Available on Kindle

j
jvr
May 20, 2008

Highly recommended at a conference I recently attended.

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