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Daniel Gilbert

Stumbling on happiness

There are plenty of books that try to tell you how to be happy, but Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert isn't one of them. Rather it is an explanation of why we often fail miserably in this quest. In particular it explains why we are so bad at predicting the future. Although we're pretty good at predicting the immediate outcome of what we do, predictions about something that is more than a day or so ahead are a different matter entirely. We're especially bad at predicting how we will feel after some event - a significant failing as we try to organise our lives to consist of what we think will make us happy.

Gilbert is a professor of psychology at Harvard, and draws upon plenty of psychological experiments to demonstrate how our minds work, and so to make his case. However, the book never reads like an experimental report. Rather it is full of witty comments, examples of illusions and even the odd card trick. I'm not sure whether this book will help you to find long term happiness - it may well provide a few pointers. But in the short term - well Gilbert is clearly a skilled writer and has produced a book that is certainly fun to read.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 1400077427
Salesrank: 4557
Weight:0.6 lbs
Published: 2007 Vintage
Amazon price $11.08
Marketplace:New from $6.29:Used from $1.49
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 352 pages  
ISBN: 0007183135
Salesrank: 6895
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 2007 Harper Perennial
Amazon price £9.98
Marketplace:New from £3.85:Used from £1.81
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 0676978584
Salesrank: 4163
Weight:0.55 lbs
Published: 2007 Vintage Canada
Amazon price CDN$ 18.34
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 18.00:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
Bringing to life scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, this bestselling book reveals what scientists have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future, and about our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there. 

• Why are lovers quicker to forgive their partners for infidelity than for leaving dirty dishes in the sink?

• Why will sighted people pay more to avoid going blind than blind people will pay to regain their sight?

• Why do dining companions insist on ordering different meals instead of getting what they really want?

• Why do pigeons seem to have such excellent aim; why can’t we remember one song while listening to another; and why does the line at the grocery store always slow down the moment we join it?

In this brilliant, witty, and accessible book, renowned Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert describes the foibles of imagination and illusions of foresight that cause each of us to misconceive our tomorrows and misestimate our satisfactions. With penetrating insight and sparkling prose, Gilbert explains why we seem to know so little about the hearts and minds of the people we are about to become.