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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
The advice offered by the author, Daniel Gilbert, is rather narrow: he tells you how to find out what it would be like to predict your future doing something you've never tried,... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
I liked the book a lot, despite the misleading title. The book is not at all about happiness, but about how memories, perception and imagination are constructed and how this... Read morePublished 1 month ago by carolicious
What a Great book. I loved every page and the deep insight they held. Daniel Gilbert has a rare talent in the way he writes and his sense of humor which held my attention... Read morePublished 1 month ago by carl w. huffman
Possibly a very interesting book when it originally came out, but having read it only now for the first time, I beliebe there are others that do a better job at explaining how our... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Felipe Lessa Marcilio
I absolutely love this book! Provides great insight on understanding your future selfPublished 1 month ago by Brittany Loveall