Stumbling on Happiness Hardcover – May 2 2006
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Stumbling on Happiness
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Top Customer Reviews
Everyone agrees that the human mind is an incredibly complex and powerful device. But it certainly is not perfect. When it does not have all the information -- which, by necessity, is almost always -- it fills in with estimates, guesses and predictions. Usually, the mind is so effective and efficient that we do not even notice. Other times, however, our minds end up fooling themselves, which is to say, us.
Gilbert offers a look behind the curtain of how our mind creates our understanding of the past, the present and the future. In each case, the mind employs different methods, and its vision is therefore subject to different kinds of errors. Our ability to remenber how we felt in the past is less than perfect, Gilbert points out. Our ability to predict how we will feel about an event in the future, however, can be even more misguided.
While this book asks serious questions, recounting how cognitive sciences have revealed some of the answers, this is hardly a ponderous academic study. Gilbert's lively wit ameliorates some of the grim episodes he must use to impart how science has considered these issues. How can a man wrongfully imprisoned for thirty-seven years declare his incarceration "a glorious experience"? More significantly, who are we to judge his viewpoint as "impossible" or "misguided"? Gilbert acknowledges that most of us would view askance such a judgement of a legal mis-judgement. He also contends that both viewpoints are correct - if considered in their actual frame of reference. Our problem is that we have our own views of what comprises happiness, and projecting it on how others should feel is an error. Compounding that situation is that our own view of our own happiness is likely out of whack.
One of the major points this author proposes is that any attempt we make to forecast what will bring us happiness will almost surely prove false.Read more ›
I would also recommend "Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow"
Although I purchased this book a while ago, I keep re-reading this book every once in a while to glean new facts and ideas from the book. This book isn't a path to happiness, it's more like a way of identifying the situations that will make you happier. I was surprised (though maybe not so much now) about the number of studies done to figure out what makes people happy and what makes people unhappy.
Daniel Gilbert goes through several studies, not specifically focused on happiness, in order to reveal surprising truths about how we feel. One experiment was based on how you would feel if you got the same order at a restaurant every week or if you got something different. I vaguely remember that conventional wisdom would probably tell you that you would like it if you ordered something different, but the experiment showed that people felt differently about it. In any case, you'll have to read the book for the exact study ;P
Remember, this isn't a book on how to make you happier in life, it's a book that reveals surprising truths about what makes and what doesn't make us happy.
Most recent customer reviews
Very informative and science based which helps me understand the content a lot more in depth. The little hints of humor are quite nice also! I really enjoyed this book!Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I wish I could rate it 6 out of 5! This book was great! Very persuasive, informative and amusing!Published 9 months 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 17 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 20 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 21 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 22 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 on Feb. 25 2014 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