- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Avery (Aug. 28 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159463243X
- ISBN-13: 978-1594632433
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 476 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #401,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think Hardcover – Aug 28 2014
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“Outstanding, cutting-edge, and profound. If you’re going to read one book on happiness, this is the one.”
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, bestselling author of The Black Swan and Antifragile
“Happiness by Design is the best kind of psychology book: the ideas are fascinating, understanding them will make your life happier and more meaningful, and Dolan expresses them beautifully. Whether you’re a novice or a voracious consumer of happiness research, Happiness by Design hits all the right notes.”
—Adam Alter, bestselling author of Drunk Tank Pink
“Dolan gives a comprehensive overview of the science of happiness and useful tips to achieve it. In his quest to explain what makes us happy, Dolan touches on a powerful idea: happiness need not be pursued, simply rediscovered. In other words, sources of pleasure and purpose are all around us, if only one knows where to look.”
About the Author
Paul Dolan, PhD, is an internationally renowned expert on happiness, behavior, and public policy. He is currently Professor of Behavioral Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science and has been a visiting research scholar at Princeton University with Professor Daniel Kahneman. Among various other roles, he advises the National Academy of Sciences on measurement issues in happiness research. He lives in Brighton, UK with his wife and two children.
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This observation hardly sounds remarkable but Dolan goes further, interestingly emphasizing the temporal aspect of happiness; how we feel about what happens to us in the moment matters more than hindsight. He argues that we achieve happiness through a string of pleasurable, purposeful experiences over time. When the enjoyable meets the meaningful, we feel content and satisfied.
"Happiness by Design" uses parenting as its main example. Why do we choose to have children? Dolan asserts that, despite the daily grind, parenting feels purposeful. However, drawing wide implications from the subject appears dubious. The productive nature of child rearing can foster positive emotions but, contrarily, the responsibilities involved can feel burdensome, if not crushing to some. Any optimal balance of pleasure and purpose will fluctuate wildly between us all.
Dolan goes on to explore other prompts to happiness such as music and volunteering. He offers an interesting discussion of money, citing that income above a certain level does not make us feel happier on a daily basis. Higher-income individuals place more value on time, which makes it feel scarcer, and thus they find it harder to relax.
Generally, Dolan avoids political implications, instead focusing on personal transformation through "nudge" strategies. His theory of happiness ultimately reads as a work in progress, beginning to offer constructive advice for making ourselves at least a little bit happier. A longer, more detailed book on how to act on such advice now begs to be written.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Yet, its basically about 3 times as long as it should have been. A long magazine article needlessly expanded into a book.