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Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending Paperback – May 20, 2014
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"If you think money doesn't buy happiness, then you're just not spending it right. In this lively and engaging book, Dunn and Norton use the latest scientific research to show how you can get a bigger emotional bang for your hard-earned bucks. Happy Money isn't a purchase; it's an investment—and a shrewd one at that."—Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
“No one understands how to get more happiness out of our money better than Liz Dunn and Mike Norton. Their research is not only on the cutting edge—it changes where the edge is. Like stand-up comedians of science, Dunn and Norton take ordinary observations that everybody experiences and craftily distill them with a clarity that makes us laugh, and then makes us think. They have done us a great service by sharing their knowledge with us in the easy-to-apply principles they present in this book.”—Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational
“How to spend smarter? Read this book!—a rare combination of informed science writing, rollicking good fun, and practical pointers for a more flourishing and compassionate life.”—David G. Myers, author of The Pursuit of Happiness
"Many books have been written to tell you how to make money, save money, and invest money. Now there's a book that can tell you how to spend it. Wisely."—Chip Heath, co-author of Made to Stick and Switch
"[Dunn and Norton's] infectious enthusiasm for their subject is admirable.... They provide an interesting exploration of increasing happiness by buying time, as well as ways to address budgeting."—Kirkus Reviews
"University of British Columbia psychology professor Dunn and Harvard Business School marketing professor Norton, friends from graduate school, offer a witty, lively guide to changing the philosophy behind spending so that it brings you true joy.... Readers cannot help but be charmed by this funny, warm guide to creating the good life from scratch."—Publishers Weekly
"This small, snappily written book is focused on five points, all directed at enabling people to get more bang for their bucks... Buy [this] book, read [it], take the advice [it] offer[s] to heart, and you’ll be a happier person."—Barry Schwartz, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Each of Dunn and Norton's five principles offers a scientifically validated means of increasing happiness. Like asking a surgical expert to perform your heart transplant, following their principles might be better than just winging it. And luckily, spending money is a lot easier and much less messy than major surgery.”—Guy Kawasaki
"Packed with tips...people will come away from this book believing it was money well spent."—The Economist
“Dunn and Norton strive to show how to spend money in less typical but more pleasing ways. They offer five principles you can use to buy happiness…. I love the five principles of happy money because they aren’t about getting more money but getting more out of the money you have.”—Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post
About the Author
Elizabeth Dunn is an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. At age twenty-six, she was featured as one of the “rising stars” across all of academia by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
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The first sentence of the prologue shattered that preconception immediately. This book aims squarely for the "money can't buy happiness" idiom, with the idea that it can...if utilized properly.
Not in the usual ways, either. It's not necessarily how much you spend, or saving tons of cash for a rainy day so you feel more secure about the future.
There are five principles that can lead to monetary happiness:
1. Buy Experiences
2. Make it a Treat
3. Buy Time
4. Pay Now, Consume Later
5. Invest in Others
"Buy Experiences" essentially means to spend money on memorable experiences instead of expensive toys, because you are able to relate to those experiences on an emotional level for much longer that with objects.
I had actually utilized this concept myself recently. I had come into a small inheritance, and instead of paying down bills like we had originally planned, we splurged on our first real family vacation to the beach. My son still talks about going back, and thoughts of that time together still spark warm feelings.
"Make It A Treat" focuses on the concept of overconsumption creating a weakening of the enjoyment factor. If you have something every day, even if it's something you love, it becomes routine rather than fully enjoyable.
I discovered this when for budgeting reasons, I stopped buying coffee house specialty drinks and made coffee at home. Once in a while I'd get a gift card or decide to splurge, and those moments took me back to the first time I'd tasted one, and it was always an amazing sensation. They explain why that is in detail, and it's fascinating. I plan to apply this to other aspects of my life, now that I'm aware of it.
"Buy Time": The idea that you make life decisions that allow you to have more free time. I'm a busy mom, so Multitask is my middle name. Suggestions include outsourcing unnecessary tasks, like housecleaning. Much as I'd love to do that, it's not possible. But I do have an example of my own.
We instituted "Takeout Wednesdays", where my husband is responsible for bringing home dinner every Wednesday. That gives me free time I can plan on, and lets me get things done AND get down time.
"Pay Now, Consume Later" was a fascinating concept. In society today, we're more apt to do the reverse, thanks to credit cards. Essentially, it's sort of like half the fun of a roadtrip is getting there. When consummation is delayed, from something as simple as eating candy to attending an event, the enjoyment is increased. When something's already paid for, if enough time passes, it seems "free" when it's actually consumed.
I've personally seen this in action when I backorder things online, like books, video games and DVDs. It's almost like a prize coming in the mail, because the actual payment process is dim in my memory. I've also stashed candy away for until the kids are asleep, and it always tastes even better then. (Don't judge me. (.:)
Last concept: Invest In Others. This hits on how donating or spending money on others feels better than buying things for yourself. I totally got with this chapter, because I deal with that scenario all the time.
An example: Recently, I had a friend give me two free product coupons for a very expensive brand of bread. I was picking mine out, and a lady next to me mentioned she loved it, but it was too expensive. I tapped her on the shoulder and gave her one of the coupons. The free item would have given me pleasure, but giving it away gave me a great feeling that still lingers.
Toys and goodies are great, but doing onto others is incredible.
This was an easy and fun read...I liked the authors' (Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton) writing style. It reminded me of sitting around with friends over coffee and chatting. I had never read anything like it, and really thought it was original.
I already embrace these principles on some level, but look forward to applying them to more of my life choices, and seeing my money make me happier. It'll have a permanent place on my bookshelf...and in my bathroom! (But that's another chapter.)
I received a complimentary copy from BzzAgent in exchange for my review.
Flawed in that it does't dig deeper into the philosophical roots of happiness. Being productive is an example of this. Before you spend your money you have to "earn" it. This "earning it" is an important factor in happiness.
Another flaw in the book is the term "investing in others". Giving a homeless man a sandwich is not an investment, it is a random act of kindness. I would have thought that the term "investing" would have meant something like teaching a homeless man some marketable skills i.e. teaching a man to fish instead of giving him a fish.
Most recent customer reviews
-makes you think about where your money is actually going.Read more
The book, Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, summarizes current research on how you spend money changes how happy...Read more