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Stumbling on Happiness Audiobook

Stumbling on Happiness

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 favorite 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?

©2006 Daniel Gilbert; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"An absolutely fantastic book that will shatter your most deeply held convictions about how your own mind works. Ceaselessly entertaining." (Steven D. Levitt, author of Freakonomics)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2099 )
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  •  
    Jonathan 12-31-06
    Jonathan 12-31-06 Member Since 2011
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    "jdtoback"

    Phenomal book! A brilliant, lucid, and humble treatise on the limitations of the mind. Professor Gilbert's scientific and witty presentation gives me a huge amount of confidence in the veracity of his work. Dr. Gilbert shatters the myth that our brain is a flawless untapped supercomputer that remembers everything and stores everything we experience if only we can access it. Understanding the inherent limitations that Gilbert outlines is the first step to doing a better job finding more happiness in our lives.

    Surprisingly Gilbert gives no prescription for being more happy. Even though he states this clearly at the beginning, my flawed mind was expecting some tips on "how to" be more happy. I respect this academic approach and this is NOT a self-help book.

    Bravo!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Waxhaw, NC, USA 07-16-07
    Stephen Waxhaw, NC, USA 07-16-07
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    "Stumbling into happiness"

    An interesting book that goes into the science behind what we interpret as happiness and several inaccuracies that can lead us into misinterpreting what we're remembering as happiness and/or what we expect from the future.

    A very comical and entertaining journey that won't necessarily give you the "ah-ha" that's what I need to do to stumble into happiness, but instead will give you insight into how our emotions work and how we interpret our emotions aka happiness.

    The author is well spoken, well read, and very knowledgeable as you would expect from a Harvard professor.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher W Chrebet 10-03-06 Member Since 2014
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    "excellent"

    The main point is about how we fool ourselves with our visions of the future. How this vision leads us to do many things. And then how are visions arent fullfilled in the future and how we end up unsatisfied. Very cool and entertaining audiobook. Does have a lot to do with the human perspective.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kurt Chanhassen, MN, USA 07-30-06
    Kurt Chanhassen, MN, USA 07-30-06
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    "Surgical"

    This is not light reading/listening. Unlike some of the other reviews I found that the author dissected our myths about what we perceive, feel and predict with surgical thoroughness, perhaps too much so. He admits that he is a fan since youth of optical illusions, and the book is a methodical catalog of psychological illusions. The book is complete to a fault.

    A better title might be "What you thought you knew but really don't".

    So is it useful/helpful? Yes, if you are not looking for specific advice, but could benefit from warnings about how to not deceive yourself.

    As I was listening I found I wanted to look at a written copy, as I had difficulty keeping the model he was constructing in my head. Might be the kind of audiobook that later on you go back re-read from a library hardcover.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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    Big Red Sam Longmont, CO 07-28-06
    Big Red Sam Longmont, CO 07-28-06 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent non-self-help book"

    This books is funny and contains great insights into how we predict things and why this process is important. My job includes predicting the cost of projects and there were important insights in this book that are relevant to what I and all of us do every day. I plan to listen to this again because I don't think I absorbed all the insight in one pass. These concepts are important enough that I want to be able to clearly communicate them to friends. This book is not at all new age or touchy feely, it summarizes a great deal of research in the field.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Cathedral City, CA, USA 06-18-06
    Jason Cathedral City, CA, USA 06-18-06
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    "Very Good."

    This book explains some very interesting truths about human nature in a very humorous and interesting way. Not a self-help book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Medicine Hat, AB, Canada 08-29-10
    Justin Medicine Hat, AB, Canada 08-29-10
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    "It didn't make me feel happier ;)"

    Gilbert let's you know up front this book may not make you feel any happier but at least you will understand why. Truth in advertising!
    This isn't meant to be a 'how to be happy' guide although it may serve a purpose in explaining what won't make you happy or even where to aim our expectations.
    Personally, I wasn't thrilled with those parts where evolutionary 'just-so stories' have to be worked through to set us up at the 'present situation' because we could just start already agreeing we do have frontal lobes and do have x-chemicals and x-programs. Slightly annoying (but almost cute) are the ongoing references or comparisons only a Harvard Intellectual might make - mazda miatas, vacations in france, cocktail parties.
    Those are mostly minor complaints of mine in an otherwise well done explanation about this unique angle of 'happiness' as something often relative and changing depending on 'when' we recall it or when we expect to get it or how we (rightly or wrongly) imagine it ought to be.
    Many times he calls out those peculiar 'logic mistakes' we humans constantly make but never seem to actually call ourselves on and I appreciated these angles and a few really made me realize where I had some improvements I can make in my own life.

    Not all authors are great narrators but Gilbert's experience as a lecturer seems to serve him very well here. Easy to listen to, enunciates well and while he may not be a professional stand-up comedian he really does get across some funny stories, puns and keeps a light-hearted tone.

    Some good stuff here. It's not a Gladwell 'clone' and much of this (most readers) is unique angles on happiness you probably haven't heard before or in this kind of scholarly but enjoyable detail.
    4 stars.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Yuliya Brooklyn, NY, USA 05-29-07
    Yuliya Brooklyn, NY, USA 05-29-07
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    "Excellent"

    Interesting material, well narrated, told with humor - a pleasure to listen to. 7 hours went by without me noticing...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelima K NY, NY, USA 10-19-06
    Kelima K NY, NY, USA 10-19-06
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    "Fascinating"

    A smart, entertaining, and illuminating discussion on what happiness really is. This will open your mind to a different reality. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    K. Finnefrock NJ USA 07-20-06
    K. Finnefrock NJ USA 07-20-06 Member Since 2006
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    "really interesting and engrossing"

    This was really a very interesting and thought provoking book. The author has a great speaking voice and the content was both engrossing and humorous.

    I highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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