Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stumbling on Happiness

Stumbling on Happiness
Daniel Gilbert (2005, Vintage Books)
A successful popularization of mildly arcane research, in the vein of Freakanomics. The research in this case comes from psychology labs. Gilbert writes entertainingly about the ways our minds trick us into incorrect predictions about our future mental states, including what we'll enjoy and what we should dread. The common example is coming to the end of a meal so full you can't imagine you'll ever be hungry again--nearly everybody has had that thought, and has been wrong every time. Daniel Gilbert has the bones of several hundred studies in his end notes to support his views on why that is, but the reader can probably dispense with that and just enjoy his prose, which zips right along.

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