Stumbling on Happiness
By Daniel Gilbert
Why this book?
Most people take the Declaration of Independence’s assurance that we are all entitled to the “pursuit of happiness” literally, and off they go, pursuing it in all directions. But do they capture it? Dan Gilbert weaves the scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics into an engrossing story of why we humans are so bad at predicting what makes us happy—or miserable, for that matter. After the first flush of excitement, why doesn’t winning the lottery make people happier? After the first shock of disappointment, why doesn’t failing to get into the college of their dreams make students more miserable? The answers will surprise you and speak to our human adaptability. This book is not a “how-to” pursue or achieve happiness, but by helping us understand our own emotional thermostats, Gilbert gives us something more valuable: showing how resilient humans are at surviving disappointments and even disasters.
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