Book Review: Stumbling on Happiness - Daniel Gilbert

Harvard professor of psychology who has studied happiness for years, summarises the field and describes many research findings.

Some of what we do is for now, some is for the future us.

Fear, worry, and anxiety are useful.

Our brains simulate the future to control the experiences we are about to have. If we lose our ability to control things, we become unhappy

Wonderful things are especially wonderful the first time they happen, but their wonderfulness drops with repetition. Time and variety are two ways to avoid this.

Starting points matter. We don’t think in absolute dollars. We think of relative dollars.

People don’t like to buy the most expensive item in a category

When people are asked to predict how they’ll feel if a bad event occurs, they consistently overestimate how bad they’ll feel and for how long.

It is only when we cannot change the experience that we look for ways to change our view of the experience.

People try to explain events. When people don’t finish things, they are especially likely to remember them. When we explain an event, we can move on.

Infrequent or unusual experiences are the most memorable.

Wealth increases happiness only up to a point. Children making us happy is a cultural belief that all societies need, otherwise people might not do it.

The average person doesn’t see themselves as average - not always as superior, but as unique.