Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (Book Review #13)


“Why are lovers quicker to forgive their partners for infidelity than for leaving dirty dishes in the sink? • Why will sighted people pay more to avoid going blind than blind people will pay to regain their sight? • Why do dining companions insist on ordering different meals instead of getting what they really want? • Why do pigeons seem to have such excellent aim; why can’t we remember one song while listening to another; and why does the line at the grocery store always slow down the moment we join it? In this brilliant, witty, and accessible book, renowned Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert describes the foibles of imagination and illusions of foresight that cause each of us to misconceive our tomorrows and misestimate our satisfactions. Vividly bringing to life the latest scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, Gilbert reveals what scientists have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future, and about our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there. With penetrating insight and sparkling prose, Gilbert explains why we seem to know so little about the hearts and minds of the people we are about to become.” – by Daniel Gilbert



Daniel Gilbert is a professor of Psychology at Harvard University and graduated from Princeton. Are you intimidated much? Not yet? Well, he also has done much research and written many papers in the psychology field, won awards for social sciences and if I sat here just talking about him, then we would never get to the review of his book.

This book is not to make you happy, even though it does make you laugh, or to give you any insight on how to fix your problems. There are some guidelines and some understanding background as to why we feel the way we do, however; there is no step by step instruction as to what to do or how to overcome sadness.

Stumbling on happiness is written in such a humorous way that you will find yourself laughing out loud over many passages. I believe that the Author knew that his detailed explanation on cognitive psychology or getting into detail on the functionality of neuroscience might actually bore some readers, so he definitely managed to cover it up with some catchy sentences and laughable statements.

Anyone with a psychology background may find this book easy to read and might not get as excited as someone with any knowledge in the field.


The fundamental definition of what is happiness and what it means when someone says, that they are happy, was my favorite part of the book. Gilbert compares the happiness of someone that is disabled with someone that is in full health. This subjective comparison was very informative and made you think deeper towards how you would believe that someone that has less advantage from you would presumably be less happy!

Stumbling on happiness is a recommended book from me. If you want to read and learn something new while having fun, then this is the book for you!

Written by Jeyran Main

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2 Comments on “Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (Book Review #13)

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