Stumbling on Happiness

Front Cover
Knopf Canada, Feb 24, 2009 - Psychology - 336 pages
46 Reviews
A smart and funny book by a prominent Harvard psychologist, which uses groundbreaking research and (often hilarious) anecdotes to show us why we’re so lousy at predicting what will make us happy – and what we can do about it.

Most of us spend our lives steering ourselves toward the best of all possible futures, only to find that tomorrow rarely turns out as we had expected. Why? As Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert explains, when people try to imagine what the future will hold, they make some basic and consistent mistakes. Just as memory plays tricks on us when we try to look backward in time, so does imagination play tricks when we try to look forward.

Using cutting-edge research, much of it original, Gilbert shakes, cajoles, persuades, tricks and jokes us into accepting the fact that happiness is not really what or where we thought it was. Among the unexpected questions he poses: Why are conjoined twins no less happy than the general population? When you go out to eat, is it better to order your favourite dish every time, or to try something new? If Ingrid Bergman hadn’t gotten on the plane at the end of Casablanca, would she and Bogey have been better off?

Smart, witty, accessible and laugh-out-loud funny, Stumbling on Happiness brilliantly describes all that science has to tell us about the uniquely human ability to envision the future, and how likely we are to enjoy it when we get there.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
14
4 stars
21
3 stars
8
2 stars
2
1 star
1

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

Oy. How to talk about this frustrating book. Very funny, but I'm sure some readers would get turned off by his style of wit as it does kinda get old. Lots of insights into how the mind works, but the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - alexann - LibraryThing

An interesting look at what makes us happy by an author who concludes that the reason happiness is so difficult to attain is that it's practically impossible to define. When you don't know what you are looking for, how do you know when you've found it? Read full review

Contents

III
2
IV
3
V
28
VI
31
VII
60
VIII
80
IX
83
X
106
XIV
164
XV
165
XVI
189
XVII
212
XVIII
213
XIX
231
XX
256
XXI
265

XI
120
XII
123
XIII
140

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Daniel Gilbert is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and research, and his scientific research has been covered by The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Money, CNN, U.S. News & World Report, The New Yorker, Scientific American, Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today and others. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information