Happy in New Mexico
This book filled in the blanks that I didn't know I had with regard to searching for Happiness. There is no way to tell about this book... so just read it. It will do you good.
I really enjoyed this book and the way it looks at life. Some of the psycho-babble grew a bit tedious, but as the book pressed further things only got more interested. I recommend it to anyone wondering about why we make choices and how we really feel about their outcomes.
I think the guy is brilliant. He identifies many aspects of the human personality that I had never considered. I also found his writing very witty. But one of the bigger premises at the end of his book something like, "We don't really know how we will feel in the future after making a certain choices, so we do better asking someone who has already made that choice how they feel." Gilbert cites a study about people with full stomachs predicting how they will feel the next day after eating potato chips (when they are again hungry). The finding is that those that asked others who ate the chips (when they were hungry) were better at predicting how they would feel (rather than to rely on their own perspective, while living in full-stomach land). Okay, to me, potato chips are one thing, but big life decisions are quite another. We are all so unique that we can't really rely on someone else's feelings about how they like, say, their move to a particular city, or a change to a particular occupation. People love and hate Cleveland, Ohio; love and hate the military; adore and abhor selling real estate; prefer and not prefer blonds, etc. I think he is right about potato chips, but to me, his theory doesn't hold water when it comes to big life decisions. I'm sorry, wanted to rate it higher as it was an enjoyable listen, but I can't buy his main premise.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
The basic thesis???s of the book are: 1) that we are primarily motivated by happiness,2) that we make decisions about our future happiness by imagining the results of various decisions, and 3) that there are many circumstances in which we systematically do this poorly. Circumstances that lead to mistakes in our estimation of our likely happiness arise from other biases like the bias towards overestimating the impact of loss, overestimating the importance of the unusual, underestimating the extent to which the future will be radically different than the present, viewing the past in a self serving way, or even the adoption of outside cultural biases. The book reports on many little studies that illustrate these biases.
The conclusion is that we would be happier (at least statistically) without these miscalculations about the future results of our decisions.
The unsettling part is that we might also be more inclined to abandon our spouses, not have children, or even engage in slightly anti-social behavior. But the message is far more subtle than that some forms of evilness lead to happiness. I think that the message is closer to that happiness is complex and that understanding our own happiness is far more elusive than actually achieving happiness.
In the end I suspect that the meta-point is that we are biologically wired to purse happiness, but this turns out to be too sub-optimal. So we are also wired to systematically misunderstand our own happiness as a compensation for or correction on top of the first wiring.
This is a fun and interesting book that was quite enjoyable. It combines Scientific Research with Philosophy and Humor. He spends a lot of time talking about the results of various studies that show how our minds work and how we fill in the blank areas of our perceptions of the past, present and future. This filling in colors how we remember the past or imagine the future, and is influenced by how we are feeling in the present. The fact that we don't realize this is happening can lead us to believe in our own fantasies, and then to make important life decisions based on them. He also shows that we often sabotage our happiness by doing things like keeping our options open or conflating things that give us pleasure with things that make us happy. Sometimes we pursue goals thinking that they will lead us to a state of happiness only to find that our happiness after achieving the goal is short lived or perhaps less intense than we imagined it would be. Often that's because we failed to factor in how the human mind works as well as various other issues pertaining to the nature of happiness. These things are explored in depth by Daniel Gilbert, and possible solutions are examined.
Great Author. Great Narration.
Based on research and evidence Dan makes the case for how to be happy, and understand happiness. This is more than a self help book, it is a map to understanding the human condition and making the most of this whole "life" thing we are all trying to get a hang of.
A very interesting book that explains why people may feel happy or unhappy. I liked examples author uses to explain each of his points, especially cognitive biases. Frankly, after hearing this certain thing that worried me went away, because now I understand what goes on "under the covers" in my brain. To me, it was totally worth time & money, and deserves 5 stars.
I've read / listened to this book many times now.
On the first read I thought it was wonderful, but each time after that... it gets better... and I get something extra out of it.
There aren't many books that live up to their hype, but this one does.
Read it for interest and entertainment...then read it again just before you buy something you think will make you happy.
I have downloaded over a hundred titles and this is one of my favorite books. I have found myself referring back to it many times and quoting it more than that. It has raised my conscience understanding most significantly when I am making a decision about the future. Great research with a funny and interesting delivery. I recommend it.
This book was better than I expected. I recommend it to anyone who has even a slight interest in Psychology. Gilbert's sense of humor will make you forget you're learning something.