- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 26 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: April 27, 2006
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000FII1JO
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Stumbling on Happiness Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Stumbling on Happiness is a fun stroll through brain studies throughout history. Over and over again, Gilbert introduces another study that shows you the silliness of your brain. By the end of the book, you will wonder how we have accomplished so much as humans.
This is fun read. It is not a deep book but a great light-hearted look at the silly side of our humanness.
In fact, this book is so packed with insights that I'll need to carefully go through it again (which I look forward to). Some readers may feel that the book goes into too many topics which are tangential to the main argument, but I personally very much appreciated the way Gilbert builds his case systematically and thoroughly, providing us with a wide array of intellectual fringe benefits in the process. Indeed, while the focus of the book is on happiness, the scope of the book is actually much broader than just happiness.
The content of the book is mostly drawn from experimental psychology (the good kind), and Gilbert describes many experiments in just the right amount of detail. I sometimes felt that he neglected plausible alternative interpretations of the experimental results, but I see this as a relatively minor issue. The earlier parts of the book also mixed in some Western philosophy, which I thought was a nice touch. And the many quotes from Shakespeare were also apropo since, after all, Shakespeare just about single-handedly encapsulated the full spectrum of human experience and behavior into his body of work!
Given the book's rich content, it's hard to summarize this book, but I would say that the (greatly oversimplified) main idea is that both our memory and imagination are inherently faulty, which often causes us to choose suboptimally when it comes to decisions which affect our future happiness. We can partly get around that problem by querying people who are currently having the experience we're considering having, but that approach doesn't always work, plus we're inherently resistant to taking that approach anyway. However, again, this is just an oversimplification, and you really need to read this book in its entirety.
Regarding Gilbert's writing style, I think he's quite clear and easy to follow, and he also employs humor throughout the book. To be honest, I initially found his humor superfluous and a bit annoying, but I gradually came to appreciate it, since it lightens the book's atmosphere and thereby helps to sustain the reader's stamina.
Overall, this is a superb book and I highly recommend it if you want to be happier, or even if you're just interested in what makes people tick. Five stars don't even begin to do justice to this book.