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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Book review: Stumbling on happiness.

Rating: Wow

I've been meaning to post on this book for a while. I saw Gilbert speak at a planning conference on how bad we are at making decisions that end up in happiness. This book is an expansion of the same theme and it's fascinating. Illustrating his points with a never-ending sequence of "experiments" that were conducted on students, he shows how, given a choice, we frequently choose what will make us less happy while thinking it will make us happier.

It's a brilliant book for planners because it also helps to highlight opportunities for creating reappraisal of situations. It is our perspective that often leads us astray and shifting perspective is really our stock in trade.

I was also reminded of this by the story on neophilia. Another of Gilbert's themes is that myths about happiness are propogated because they are crucial to our survival. His example is the myth that money makes us happy. As research has shown, rising out of poverty increases happiness, but after about $40K/year, more money does not actually increase happiness. However, if we all believed that our economies would grind to a halt and therefore it's a myth that we propogate.


hidden persuader said...

Who said money doesn't bring you hapiness? Answer: 1) Those who have a lot; 2) Those who have little. Here's the paradox of our (post) modern times LOL

Mnels said...

After reading this. I realized that planning my future is pointless since we are so inept predicting it. Live for today!