Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I'm late to the party for Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness (2006), but let me join in the celebration. It is a marvelous book. Gilbert, Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, writes gracefully and very, very wittily. There are many laugh-out-loud paragraphs. It's not at all easy to write about complicated scholarly matters for a general audience, but Gilbert has done so beautifully.
The central subject, which should be of interest to all those who follow law and economics, is the human mind's difficulties in accurately figuring out what will make us happy in the future. We have problems in what is called "affective forecasting," and Gilbert's tour of the literature explains not only why we have this problem but what we might do about it. The highest possible recommendation.