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Publisher's Summary

Is there a secret to happiness? Beloved comedian Paula Poundstone conducts a series of "thoroughly unscientific" experiments to find out, offering herself up as a guinea pig and recording her data for the benefit of all humankind. Armed with her unique brand of self-deprecating wit and the scientific method, in each chapter Paula tries out a different get-happy hypothesis. She gets in shape with tae kwon do. She drives fast behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. She communes with nature while camping with her daughter. Swing dancing? Meditation? Volunteering? Does any of it bring her happiness? And, more important, can the happiness last when she returns to the daily demands of her chaotic life? The results are irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny, and pointedly relevant to our times.

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness is both a hilarious story of jumping into new experiences with both feet and a surprisingly poignant tale of a working mother raising three kids. Paula is a master of her craft. Her comedic brilliance, served up in abundance in this book, has been compared to that of George Carlin, Tina Fey, Lily Tomlin, and David Sedaris.

©2017 Paula Poundstone (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Comedian Paula Poundstone wanted to know if there's a secret to happiness, so she became the test subject of her totally unscientific research. Listeners are the beneficiaries. In each chapter, she tests a new hypothesis for happiness, starting with getting fit with taekwondo and moving to camping with her daughter, dancing, and spending more time with her family. Along with scientific-sounding evaluations and analyses comes the wisdom, laced with her canny observations and sparkling wit, and delivered in her trademark deadpan tone." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Diana
  • Antelope Valley, CA, United States
  • 05-15-17

Contemplative, with bursts of laughter

Relatable, human, smart, and enjoyable. Humble and intelligent, obviously a Giver and Human Extraordinaire, Paula Poundstone has written a wonderful and uplifting book. So much imperfection combined with so much hope, work and love. I remember Paula Poundstone's comedy from a long time ago. I saw this book in the new at Audible section and am glad to have bought it. Paula's been busy and is one of the people who does what she can to make this world a better place. The book is realistic, yet inspirational.

39 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • Tammy
  • SILVER SPRING, MD, United States
  • 05-09-17

As always, Paula nails it

What made the experience of listening to The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness the most enjoyable?

The question of what makes this book on Happiness by one of the funniest women in America enjoyable to listen to is ironic in a Poundstone kind of way. Dark times call for laughter, and Poundstone delivers in spades. I always buy her books to listen to, as well as hardcopy, because her delivery is amazing. I haven't finish listening yet, but this is one I'll listen to over and over again. Thanks, funny lady!

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Totally relatable!

I found many segments that reflected my own conundrums as a parent, as an individual. Many times I had to laugh out loud at the truth of Paula's observations.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Just plain funny

If you need a break from anything listen to this book. It captures the human attempt to try anything and everything to be happy. I kept laughing out loud during the whole thing. Thanks Paula this was great!

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Totally Unscientific Study of The Search for Human Happiness

I love Paula Poundstone on NPR and her wit and humor does not disappoint in this book. Having her narrate the book allows her wonderful sarcastic tone to be enjoyed in a way that reading the book couldn't provide. The emotion in her voice when she narrates stories involving her children is familiar to anyone who has struggled to raise children and then had to let them go out on their own. It is heartwarming and hilarious from beginning to end.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Now I love Paula even more!

The book is thoughtful and inspiring. Paula's openness and sincerity makes it funny and moving.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Paula is a wonderful person, not just a comedian

What does Paula Poundstone bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Having Paula's characteristic deadpan voice makes it so much better, and made for one of the best listens in a very long time. She clearly "gets it" in terms of what makes for happiness, and I feel like telling all the Buddhists and Meditation instructors that they should use the book as a guide!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Hilarious

Paula Poundstone is admirable AND snot-shooting hilarious. Even poignant and often misguided. What’s not to like.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Even when it doesn't work, happiness is there

Any additional comments?

This was funny; it had me laughing all the way through. I had been introduced to Paula Poundstone through NPR and Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, but the book gave me a little more insight into her herself. I am happy to see that she works with what she has and finds the humor wherever possible instead of curling into a ball and deciding that it just doesn't work. She takes what she can out of each experience and builds on it! And it sounds like he's doing a fabulous job with her kids, her dogs, and not least of all her cats! She is trying to determine what makes a person happy, and in the end, she determines that happiness is not an all in one thing. Happiness comes in little bits and pieces, mostly driven by happy individual experiences, and, what she doesn't say, and accepting attitude.<br/>Fun book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Laugh out loud funny

What made the experience of listening to The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness the most enjoyable?

I loved this book so much, I purchased tickets for a Paula Poundstone appearance in my home town. Paula is a fierce combination of smart and funny. The antithesis of this book would be Kevin Harts. I'm glad I chose the Audible version versus reading it on my own. There were sound effects added that enhanced the jokes.

What did you like best about this story?

I love how Paula mixed the experiments and stories about her kids.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful