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?
"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
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Insightful, funny & well narrated - Made me think!
I liked how Mr. Gilbert made the content of his book - current cutting edge research results on flawful thinking regarding the prediction and recollection of future happyness - very accessible to me as a listener.
I enjoyed how Mr. Gilbert involved his family's characters including his then 2 year granddaughter's current preferred literature into the narrative.
As a non-native english speaker, it was very helpful to hear Mr. Gilbert speak. He is a very good narrator and brough out the humour in his own book. (I believe this aspect would have been lost if the book had been narrated by someone else)
As my wife and I lost our firstborn son earlier this year, I found Mr. Gilbert's summary on those findings relating to how our conciousness deals with such life altering experiences very helpful and promising.
I can unfortunately second some of his findings already wholeheartedly.
The book demystifyes how and why we experience different events differently from how we would have anticipated it. ("happier" / "less happy")
I personally would have preferred a stronger so what conclusion towards the end of the book. Mr. Gilbert's recommendation of asking someone who has experienced a similar situation to correctly anticipate the future emotions people might go through is helpful - however - with regards to plannable experiences it might have been more interesting to get concrete recommendations on how to plan / schedule them in such a way that we are actually chosing enjoyable ones (without consulting friends / experts ahead of time on every conceivable option)
- not relevant