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Customer Review

54 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Narrow-Minded Unscientific Look at Spending, July 7, 2013
This review is from: Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending (Hardcover)
Spending $200,000 on a six minute trip into space is an example of spending 'happy money' if you believe this book. Yet paying $10 or $20 for pleasure reading is not even mentioned. According to the index, reading only appears on page 55: "People are rarely in an unpleasant mood while exercising, praying, reading or having sex (unless maybe they are trying all these activities at the same time)." Does this sentence sound glib? If so, you'll find glibness throughout the book.

As a scientist I can tell you that this book is anything but scientific. Many studies are cited that correlate happy people with the authors' ideas about spending happy money. Yet they miss the critical point that correlation is not the same as causation. That is, happy people may spend their money in certain ways but the reverse is not necessarily true. So, if you spend your money in those same ways it will not necessarily make you any happier.

The authors also underestimate the pride and joy that comes with ownership of quality merchandise and real estate. Having grown up in a small converted cottage, I can assure you that I am now very happy living in a large house. I also love my new car and I am much happier than when I was driving my 14 year old car although it ran perfectly well.

This book is yet another one-size-fits-all self-help manual of little or no value. The fact that it is dressed up as science borders on deceitful. Spend your money on a good novel instead.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 15, 2013, 7:09:38 AM PDT
Wolverine80 says:
I highly doubt that his claims are unscientific, as he is a researcher at Harvard and Princeton Phd. "His work has been published in a number of leading academic journals, including Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and the Annual Review of Psychology." These publications can be found in their entirety on his website http://norton.socialpsychology.org/publications for free. I just read one on preference for potential and it was very thoroughly researched. However if I read his book I would rather it be written in a glib and silly tone than in the tone of a research paper.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 15, 2013, 5:59:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 15, 2013, 6:00:12 PM PDT
Barely There says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Sep 21, 2013, 7:24:04 AM PDT
Sacha says:
Could not agree more. These are the musings of a spoiled brat. Having healthy food on the table is Happy.
So is having a comfy bed or a warm shower far away from the Cold Night Air.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2014, 6:49:02 PM PDT
Gem says:
Wolverine, Do you understand the sentence, 'correlation does not imply causation?' If/when you chat with statistical or science oriented people, it's likely to be expressed often. BR was right on. People who don't understand statistics often confuse that. Your logic flows something like - the author is a researcher at Harvaaaard, and published in journals, therefore this particular piece MUST also be "scientific," although I haven't read it and I'd prefer a non-scientific tone, anyway.
Well, that certainly convinces ME...
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