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Not offering a self-help book, but instead mounting a scientific explanation of the limitations of the human imagination and how it steers us wrong in our search for happiness, Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, draws on psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy and behavioral economics to argue that, just as we err in remembering the past, so we err in imagining the future. "Our desire to control is so powerful, and the feeling of being in control so rewarding, that people often act as though they can control the uncontrollable," Gilbert writes, as he reveals how ill-equipped we are to properly preview the future, let alone control it. Unfortunately, he claims, neither personal experience nor cultural wisdom compensates for imagination's shortcomings. In concluding chapters, he discusses the transmission of inaccurate beliefs from one person's mind to another, providing salient examples of universal assumptions about human happiness such as the joys of money and of having children. He concludes with the provocative recommendation that, rather than imagination, we should rely on others as surrogates for our future experience. Gilbert's playful tone and use of commonplace examples render a potentially academic topic accessible and educational, even if his approach is at times overly prescriptive. 150,000 announced first printing.(May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Anticipating the future, psychologist Gilbert suggests, is the brain's most important function, and the notion of later, a powerful idea. But why not live in the here and now, as many self-help gurus urge? Because, Gilbert says, thinking about the future can be pleasurable; for instance, daydreaming tends to be about success and achievement "rather than fumbling or failing." Citing the research of scientists and philosophers through the ages and incorporating facts and theories from psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, Gilbert discusses the science of happiness, the shortcomings of imagination as well as the illusions of foresight. And far from being a dry tome, the book is a sly, irresistible romp down, or through, memory lane--past, present, and future. It is not only wildly entertaining but also hilarious (if David Sedaris were a psychologist, he very well might write like this) and yet full of startling insight, imaginative conclusions, and even bits of wisdom. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I wish I could rate it 6 out of 5! This book was great! Very persuasive, informative and amusing!Published 1 month ago by Pouyan
This was one of the best books I've ever read, and I don't say that often. It was exceptionally well-written, full of humor, but most importantly, the ideas discussed were truly... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jeremy
very interesting book, helps modify your decision making process if you ever need to make a decision about what will make you happiest, and is very engaging all at the same time.Published 12 months ago by Jesse May
Loved it. Easy to follow but fun to read and most importantly to me; a palpable message that is rooted in real scientific research.Published 13 months ago by AchilleanEra
A good read, entertaining and informative. Daniel Gilbert is a very amusing writer and the topic is important for understand the human condition.Published 14 months ago by Sassella
This book rattles around in my mind like so much trivia. There are so many things that will stick with me from this. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Alexander Ellefson
Like learning things. There was a lot of enlightenment in this book.
Enjoyed the style of writing.
Information was presented very effectively. Read more