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Now Gilbert has written a book about his psychological research. It is called Stumbling on Happiness, and reading it reminded me of that plane ride long ago. It is a delight to read. Gilbert is charming and funny and has a rare gift for making very complicated ideas come alive.
Stumbling on Happiness is a book about a very simple but powerful idea. What distinguishes us as human beings from other animals is our ability to predict the future--or rather, our interest in predicting the future. We spend a great deal of our waking life imagining what it would be like to be this way or that way, or to do this or that, or taste or buy or experience some state or feeling or thing. We do that for good reasons: it is what allows us to shape our life. And it is by trying to exert some control over our futures that we attempt to be happy. But by any objective measure, we are really bad at that predictive function. We're terrible at knowing how we will feel a day or a month or year from now, and even worse at knowing what will and will not bring us that cherished happiness. Gilbert sets out to figure what that's so: why we are so terrible at something that would seem to be so extraordinarily important?
In making his case, Gilbert walks us through a series of fascinating--and in some ways troubling--facts about the way our minds work. In particular, Gilbert is interested in delineating the shortcomings of imagination. We're far too accepting of the conclusions of our imaginations. Our imaginations aren't particularly imaginative. Our imaginations are really bad at telling us how we will think when the future finally comes. And our personal experiences aren't nearly as good at correcting these errors as we might think.
I suppose that I really should go on at this point, and talk in more detail about what Gilbert means by that--and how his argument unfolds. But I feel like that might ruin the experience of reading Stumbling on Happiness. This is a psychological detective story about one of the great mysteries of our lives. If you have even the slightest curiosity about the human condition, you ought to read it. Trust me. --Malcolm Gladwell
This is one of those books that, like so many others, could have probably been condensed into a magazine article. Read morePublished 7 days ago by G. R. Lewis
Great book with a lot of insights however if you know the concept of "Cognitive Dissonance" in Psychology - that's pretty much the main idea.Published 16 days ago by Mark Sy
This is my favorite book of any genre, both the written and audio version (as read by the author). It is very well written, entertaining and informative. Read morePublished 27 days ago by TREX
Would have given this book more if it had discussed ways to achieve happiness.This book is mainly all about psychology of happiness with no clue of how to apply the insights... Read morePublished 28 days ago by muhammadali syed
This was required reading for a class that I had and I really enjoyed it. I still notice myself quoting this book on occasion and it has been well over a year since I picked it up.Published 1 month ago by Justin H.
I read this book because it had an interesting title. The actual book isn't good. The author seems infatuated with the mundane observation that what we think will make us happy,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aaron R. Olson