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.
June 20, 2006 | Permalink
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I couldn't agree more. The parallels Gilbert draws between memory and imagination as both being impressionistic and inaccurate reconstructions very heavily influenced by present perceptions and emotions are wonderfully insightful. His bottom line: don't only try to imagine how something will make you feel, if you have an important decision to make. You will most likely do far better if you also ask for advice someone "who is there now" about how it feels, and then take that advice. Warning: this approach is likely to lead you to not make strenuous efforts to increase your income, and to not have children. Read this book. Greg Crespi
Posted by: Greg Crespi | Jun 24, 2006 4:40:32 PM