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Stumbling on Happiness (2006)

– tekijä: gilbertdanieltodd

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
3,804982,497 (3.82)29
Why are lovers quicker to forgive their partners for infidelity than for leaving dirty dishes in the sink? Why do patients remember long medical procedures as less painful than short ones? Why do home sellers demand prices they wouldn't dream of paying if they were home buyers? Why does the line at the grocery store always slow down when we join it? In this book, Harvard psychologist Gilbert describes the foibles of imagination and illusions of foresight that cause each of us to misconceive our tomorrows and misestimate our satisfactions. Using the latest research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, Gilbert reveals what we have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future, our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there, and why we seem to know so little about the hearts and minds of the people we are about to become.--From publisher description.… (lisätietoja)
Viimeisimmät tallentajatJorgeousJotts, dioxynucleic, yksityinen kirjasto, JuanTonto, Hillside_Library, booora26, LeBleuUn, CassandraBrecht
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 98) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Fascinating. ( )
  SeekingApatheia | Apr 13, 2021 |
I literally stumbled on this book whilst browsing the library shelf and happily so! It may sound like a self-help book but thats precisely what its not.. its a primer on the quest for happiness with a mix of psychology, neuroscience, philosophy & behavioral economics.
Written in a tongue-in-cheek humorous style, from the filling-in & leaving-out tricks that our brain plays to the liberties that imagination takes without telling us about doing so.. its a mind-boggling start to the book! The author then goes on to describe how imagination leans on perception, given its own limitation to transcend boundaries of the present time, place & circumstances - what we imagine as the future is often a response to what's happening in the present; our present thoughts & feelings exert a strong influence on the way we think we'll feel later.
It gets further complicated when our brain gets busy looking for ways to think about the experience that will allow us to appreciate it - we build a psychological immune system that defends the mind against unhappiness in the same way that the physical immune system defends the body. To ensure our views are credible, our brain accepts what our eyes see and to ensure our views are positive, our eyes look for what our brain wants; conspiring against us in a secretive way! We are more likely to generate a positive & credible view of an action than an inaction, of a painful experience than of an annoying experience, of an unpleasant situation that we cant escape than of one we can and yet we choose the former coz we pay more attn to favorable information, surround ourselves with those who provide it and accept it uncritically.
Our memory does not serve us too well too - its less like a collection of photographs than it is like a collection of impressionist paintings by an artist who takes license with his subject and emotional experience of happiness is probably the most ambiguous of subjects. Our memory for emotional episodes is overly influenced by unusual instances, closing moments & theories of how we may have felt in past - compromising our ability to learn from personal experience.
Then what is it that still makes us lean on our own selves as the experiencer to gauge our future happiness - the self considers itself to be a very special/ unique person (psst.. ego!) for 3 reasons: a. even if we aren't special, the way we know ourselves is - we experience our own thoughts but infer those of others b. we enjoy thinking of ourselves as special and c. we overestimate everyone's uniqueness, thinking of people as more different from one another than they actually are.
Because of all the reasons above, the author goes on to offer the final solution to getting a real sense of happiness with a certain planned action - relying on the experience of an average individual going thru the same experience currently rather than imagining ourselves in the scenario. Its the surest way to get a real sense of how it would be to stumble upon happiness when undertaking that action! ( )
  gbnarang | Feb 20, 2021 |
This book is all about cognitive biases and the ways our minds fool us, and in particular how our imagination fails us in regards to our understanding of happiness.

In short, here are imagination's three shortcomings:
-its tendency to fill in and leave out without telling us.
-its tendency to project the present onto the future.
-its failure to recognize that things will look different once they happen.

This book is definitely more of a psychological look at happiness than any sort of self help guide. Yet, Gilbert's one suggestion for stumbling toward happiness is to rely on others' experiences more than trying to imagine your own future. Ask others who have gone through similar situations how they feel - that, believe it or not, is a way better predictor for how you will feel than anything your own imagination tells you. We all like to think we are more unique than we really are. Yet, he assumes that his solution will be rejected by most readers, and I think he's right.

My favorite chapter of the book was probably chapter 10. (I got this summary from another website, and it's pretty good.)

We don't learn from experience to better predict the future, because our interpretation of memory can be flawed.
1. We expect to recall frequent experiences easily and view those as an indication of truth. However, the least likely experience is often the most likely memory. We forget the mundane.
2. We tend to judge the pleasure of an experience by its ending, possibly ignoring the majority of the positive feelings prior to the ending. (This blew my mind.)
3. Beliefs, stereotypes often influence how we remember our emotions, even though they had less of an impact at the time being. Two quick examples - Asian people often believe European people are happier. Yet, when people record actual feelings in the present moment, they are similar. Another examples is gender stereotypes - studies show that women and men really have the same slew of emotions, but our stereotypes affect our memories of the emotions(!).

Two quotes I noted:
"Because we don't realize that our psychological immune systems can rationalize an excess of courage rather than an excess of cowardice, we hedge our bets when we should blunder forward." We are hesitant because of fear. But studies show that most peoples biggest regrets are the things they didn't do, rather than the ones they did and failed at.

In numerous studies, he showed that people prefer certainty of uncertainty and clarity over mystery when making decisions. However, he writes, "Clarity and certainty have been shown to diminish happiness."

Without a doubt, there are numerous other ideas in this book worth chewing on much longer than I have. It was good and maybe one to return to. Wasn't as good as I had anticipated, maybe because I wanted more practical suggestions... oh, that desired clarity...

Also - he's really funny. Hah. :) ( )
  nrt43 | Dec 29, 2020 |
Cognitive biases have become well-trodden ground, but I enjoyed Gilbert's sense of humor. ( )
  nicdevera | Oct 1, 2020 |
This is a quantification of the psychology of happiness. The author made the effort to make it readable and relatable but it didn’t work. It did not make me happy. I do not recommend unless you are hard core into psych. ( )
  varielle | Sep 22, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 98) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Gilbert has a serious argument to make about why human beings are forever wrongly predicting what will make them happy. Because of logic-processing errors our brains tend to make, we don't want the things that would make us happy — and the things that we want (more money, say, or a bigger house or a fancier car) won't make us happy.
 
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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour, at the world's end somewhere, and holds fast to the days, as to fortune and fame.

Will Cather, "Le Lavandou," 1902
Omistuskirjoitus
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For Oli, under the apple tree
Ensimmäiset sanat
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Priests vow to remain celibate, physicians vow to do no harm, and letter carriers vow to swiftly complete their appointed rounds despite snow, sleet, and split infinitives.
Sitaatit
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Economies thrive when individuals strive, but because individuals will only strive for their own happiness, it is essential that they mistakenly believe that producing and consuming are routes to personal well-being.
The belief-transmission network of which we are a part cannot operate without a continuously replenished supply of people to do the transmitting, thus the belief that children are a source of happiness becomes a part of our cultural wisdom simply because the opposite belief unravels the fabric of any society that holds it.
The fact that we often judge the pleasure of an experience by its ending can cause us to make some curious choices.
Most of us appear to believe that we are more athletic, intelligent, organized, ethical, logical, interesting, open-minded, and healthy—not to mention more attractive—than the average person.
We treat our future selves as though they were our children, spending most of the hours of most of our days constructing tomorrows that we hope will make them happy... But our temporal progeny are often thankless. We toil and sweat to give them just what we think they will like, and they quit their jobs, grow their hair, move to or from San Francisco, and wonder how we could ever have been stupid enough to think they’d like that. We fail to achieve the accolades and rewards that we consider crucial to their well-being, and they end up thanking God that things didn’t work out according to our shortsighted, misguided plan.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (4)

Why are lovers quicker to forgive their partners for infidelity than for leaving dirty dishes in the sink? Why do patients remember long medical procedures as less painful than short ones? Why do home sellers demand prices they wouldn't dream of paying if they were home buyers? Why does the line at the grocery store always slow down when we join it? In this book, Harvard psychologist Gilbert describes the foibles of imagination and illusions of foresight that cause each of us to misconceive our tomorrows and misestimate our satisfactions. Using the latest research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, Gilbert reveals what we have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future, our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there, and why we seem to know so little about the hearts and minds of the people we are about to become.--From publisher description.

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