Stumbling on Happiness

Finally, in Part VI, "Corrigibility," I will tell you why illusions of foresight are not easily remedied by personal experience or by the wisdom we inherit from our grandmothers.  I will conclude by telling you about a simple remedy for these illusions that you will almost certainly not accept.

That is from Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, so far the best book this year

He takes Proust and turns it into social science.  Your brain distorts both your anticipations and your memories; we do not know how happy we were or how happy we will be.  Here is a short article on Gilbert.  Here is a long article on Gilbert.  Here is a short piece on why dreading pain can be as bad as pain itself.  Or is it…?  Was it…?


The summaries of his research read like advertisements for Buddhism or Eckhart Tolle. The mentally-projected image of self as a self-deluded control freak who is our own worst enemy. I like it!

This seems interesting. Thanks for pointing it out.

I don't like your tone JohnShade.

I was reminded of Buddhism too, but also of Stoicism. Valuable insights in any case, though integrating them into the standard framework of economics looks like a lot of work...

That last comment sounded wittier in my head.

Great. Now everything seems hollow and empty. Although I guess that's not so bad, is it? Damn, now I can't even find perverse satisfaction in being miserable and bitter.

Thanks a bunch, Cowen. I can't even tell if I'm being sarcastic any more.

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