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Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending Paperback – May 20, 2014
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“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
Michael Norton is an associate professor of marketing at the Harvard Business School. His research has twice been featured in The New York Times Magazine Year in Ideas issue. In 2012, he was selected for Wired magazine’s Smart List as one of “50 People Who Will Change the World.”
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I ordered it and read it. My takeaway is that I never consciously related happiness with spending money besides the obvious material things. The five principles of happy money are :1. buy experience vs. materials (buyer remorse occurs with materials rarely with experience) 2. buy time (don't spend 4 hours in a layover to save a hundred bucks) spend money so you could have more time to do things you enjoyed. 3. Make it a treat(if you have latte every day is no longer a treat but if you have it only Tuesday, that changes)4. pay now , consume later( it means buy things that you experience positive expectations I.e. Vacation, also called the French term Se Rejouir getting pleasure now from something that will happen in the future or also called the drooling factor. And 5. invest in others, pay it forward, studies after studies show giving makes you happier then always spending on yourself.
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 and satisfied you are in life and affects your health and well being.
This is a wonderful book that explains how you can increase your happiness by spending on experiences with the people you value rather than spending on prestige belongings that many people think will make them happy.
According to the book, research shows that spending money on leisure activities like trips, movies, sporting events, gym memberships and the like leads to more happiness than buying expensive consumer and prestige items. Experiences tend to be appreciated more as time goes by whereas things tend to be less appreciated as time goes on as better things than they bought emerge. Experiences tend to make us feel more connected to other people which improves life satisfaction. When couples do exciting and novel things together, their relationships improve. Anything we do to make the time with our friends or partners special is money well spent. Experiences make memorable stories for retelling for years to come and give us a sense of who we are or who we want to be. Experiences can’t be compared to things purchased. Experiences that remind of us of the past and give us nostalgia, like going to a museum, watching an old movie, or hearing a favorite song, can bolster our vitality and reduce stress.
Research indicates people earning over $75,000 a year do not have an increase in happiness. High income individuals spend more time doing high stress activities like working, commuting, and shopping than those who make less. High income individuals view their time as highly valuable which makes them feel like they have less time. In contrast, buying time, called time affluence, increases happiness. You can gain time affluence by moving closer to work to reduce your commute, working in a job that requires less hours, or hiring people to do your yard work or cleaning.
Research shows that having expensive things does not bring happiness, health, or well-being. The University of Michigan found that those with cheaper cars had the same satisfaction driving them as people with expensive cars. Surprisingly, homeowners are not happier than renters, and are on average are 12 lbs heavier than renters. Those who simplify their lives by reducing their wardrobe, moving into a smaller abode, changing their consumption patterns, and reducing their stuff are happier. The enemy of appreciation is abundance; if we make everything we do special it will increase appreciation and happiness.
I highly recommend this book for people wanting more happiness, time, and life satisfaction. Five Stars.
We Mexicans, with our values and traditions, use money more often on experiences, family and friends. Again, there is always room for improvement. Thanks for the well documented studies.
I feel like most people I know don't make purchasing decisions based on happiness but instead focus on what others are doing and frequently are influenced by ads that tell them how purchases would make them happy. From personal experience I have noticed that most of the time, such behavior doesn't produce a desirable effect and certainly nothing long-lasting. Luckily for us, there is enough new psyc science research that can help us be better at our decision making. This book tells great story and summarizes such research.
I started to implement some of the advice in the book. For example, people frequently enjoy planning and thinking about upcoming vacations much more so than the vacations themselves. So why not spend more time planning and plan them farther in advance, so that you can savor them more!
Top international reviews
1. Buy experiences - especially shared, unique ones, linked with your sense of who you want to be. They contribute to lasting happiness more than stuff.
2. Make it a treat. Beware 'treat slippage' (my phrase) where something you do for a luxury becomes something you do regularly (and then stop noticing and enjoying). Apparently even buying a house rather than renting it doesn't increase your happiness; it soon just falls to becoming part of the backdrop of your life.
.3. Buy time. Pay others to do what you don't like. Volunteer for stuff; it makes you feel more in control. Then, the real time killers are things like commuting and TV.
4. Pay now, consume later. Anticipation heightens the fun. Consuming later feels like it's free.
5. Invest in others
The rest of the book is the research findings, some slightly self-indulgent and largely irrelevant personal references and a clutch of not hugely funny jokes. Unarguably a lot of this book is padding. So arguably the sixth principle is: don't buy the book, read the reviews.
The book falls down in that it could be at least half the size it is for the content. Each chapter looks at a different aspect of human psychology which would affect how we spend money but it really labours each point with far too many similar examples until you feel like you are being patronised. It is interesting but definitely not overwhelming as the book promotion makes out.
The second section looks at how governments can add to personal happiness by smart spending choices. This is well-written and organised but I have to say I found it rather dull, especially since the earlier part had been less than riveting.
But this is not enough to make it a really good book on how the most precious of our belongings can make us happy. There are missing links between the science results and our irrational money consumption.
To illustrate this point, I will quote a famous writer, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In his book "Love during the colera era", he claims that snobbery is a race towards eternal life. This is not ment as a scientific statement, but demonstrates that "The New Science of Smarter Spending" has chapters that "Happy Money" don't contain. More skilled authors would have filled the missing link with some personal true stories/testemonies, or other literary tricks.
Or, perhaps the professor should join a writing class. "Happy Money" now and then appears to be white papers with a professors comments added, assembled into a book.
Still well worth reading though.
Experiences far outweigh most materialistic things. I remember my travels over the years more fondly than any version of iPhone I have ever had.
This struck a cord with me personally and put into perspective some financial decisions I was going to make.
This alone was worth reading the book for me.
Lots of insights, not over-long, and well structured.
I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to consider how they could be better at spending money to make themselves feel happier about themselves and their lives.
I am not a moron - I got it the first time.