Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stumbling on Happiness


A delightful book that defies easy categorization. Most of this book is devoted to answering questions about the future: how will we feel when we have attained a certain goal? when we have lost a loved one? when we have reached a certain age? How will we feel if we develop a severe permanent disability? All of these questions, centering on how we feel, are answered: not as good as we expect, not as bad as we expect.

All of it hinges on our imagination and memory and how they work. And it is a fascinating tale. Our brains operate not at all like a computer when it comes to imagining the future. Or remembering the past. We leave more and more out the farther we are away from either, and what we remember is not an even-handed report; our imagining of the future tends toward a fuzzy glow while our memories of the past focus on the last part of an experience.

This and much more is revealed in this little book. I place the book with others that take a different look at a subject: The Tipping Point, Blink, The Paradox of Choice. These are all little books, and they all take a look at how we see things differently than we thought we did. And how we act differently than we might think we would. If you are interested in the human mind these little guys provide a lot of bang for the buck, and it's so easy to get it.

1 comment:

Sarah McColl said...

I've been wondering about this book, and I love your encapsulation of it.