- Audible Audio Edition
- 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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Top Customer Reviews
Daniel Gilbert is the type of person you'd want to be friends with. He'd provide entertaining conversation, take you to gourmet restaurants and explain why your life is such a surprising journey. Along the way he'd make you laugh a lot. He sure did in this book. I lost track of how many times I laughed. Maybe I just got his humor and his writing had high creative appeal. I also learned a few new words like panglossian.
What did occur to me while reading was that I think I remember my past experiences far better than the people discussed in this book. I definitely know what would make me happy based on past experiences. I also know what won't make me happy in the future. This book did answer some of my questions however, like why I love to wait for packages from amazon. I will often choose the free shipping just so things get to me slower. This habit of forestalling pleasure brings me a lot of anticipatory joy.
One thing I didn't agree with was the comments about the movie Casablanca. A person usually doesn't regret doing the right thing. In fact doing the right thing can bring a wealth of happiness. I'm also not sure the author has ever experienced a form of spiritual enlightenment as it is like night and day and you know you've never been that happy before. Some of his comments indicated he may be more concerned with science than religion although religion brings a lot of happiness to people. God was not mentioned except in passing so there was no data on people who have fallen in love with God. I also am completely convinced that some people want to be miserable. They make a choice to continue in their negative ruminations.
Daniel Gilbert is however a keen observer of the world and he knows a lot about human nature. So from that angle this book is very intriguing. It is a joy to experience his deep thinking and conclusions. I also felt he was very logical and has a good handle on philosophy. He does however believe in evolution if that is of interest to you. Not a lot of time is spent on that subject besides describing aspects of the brain.
I do personally think it is fun to think positively about the future but I will now use more caution when my imagination runs wild. Will I ever have pool or travel to Paris again? These are things I hope for and it is fun to think about what I will do tomorrow and which book I will read. So hope is definitely a factor in predicting happiness.
So get ready to have an author uncover some dark secrets about society. Be prepared to laugh out loud. This is a very enjoyable reading experience that I can recommend to almost anyone. Just have some éclairs or chocolate cake handy. You will get hungry for foods he mentions. :)
~The Rebecca Review
I've always been one of those people who Always Has A Plan. Ever since reading Stumbling on Happiness, I've noticed that the objectively best things in my life have always happened quite by accident while I was making other plans. I have always worked hard to make whatever plans I have come true, but the best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray. My good luck in life has been that everything has always, ultimately, worked out for the best. It's helped me change my outlook on life, and I must admit that depression is easier to deal with when I realize that as long as I am doing the best I can and I sleep with a clear conscience, then even when it looks like all the doors are closed, somewhere, there is an open window, and it will be better than any door I could have found or made for myself.
The point of this book is that thinking too hard about happiness is pointless. Make the most out of every moment! That is how you stumble on happiness. Amen, Mr. Gilbert, AMEN.
In terms of entertainment and insights the book DID deliver. Gilbert is quite witty in his writing, and reading his book feels like sitting down in front of a log fireplace at the local pub, beer in hand, whilst talking with an academic about his research. He does an excellent job at weaving together numerous research findings to paint a picture of the many ways our perceptual system can impact our decision making such that we are later unhappy with the decisions we have made.
That said, the book was not transformative in the way I had hoped. It offered few concrete solutions to our decision–making mishaps, and the one real solution it did offer (to ask people who have already made a given decision how happy they were with it, before making the same decision ourselves), while good advice overall, seemed like an afterthought and lacked the robustness that would be needed to deal with major real–world decisions (what career, who to marry, where to live, etc.); and, the research to support that solution (which essentially argued that people are more similar than they think), felt more ivy tower than real world. In terms of my use of this "solution," in reading this book in the first place, the outcome was just ok: it was a good and fun read, but not the transformative experience that I was hoping for.
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