Stumbling on Happiness
One of the best books I have read lately is “Stumbling on Happiness” by Dan Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard.
The book is about how what we think makes us happy and what really does make us happy are often two completely different things. It is based on decades of incredibly creative psychological studies. The conclusions are amazing but compelling. It is very readable, aimed at a general audience.
I am usually fairly skeptical of what one can learn from lab experiments about human behavior (more on this in a few weeks when a draft of a new paper is ready), but I think Gilbert’s shocking results are right.
As Malcolm Gladwell so aptly writes in a positive review of the book: I suppose that I really should go on at this point, and talk in more detail about what Gilbert means by that–and how his argument unfolds. But I feel like that might ruin the experience of reading Stumbling on Happiness. This is a psychological detective story about one of the great mysteries of our lives. If you have even the slightest curiosity about the human condition, you ought to read it. Trust me.