At first glance I thought this book looked like one of hundreds of books out there promising to guide you to greater happiness and fulfillment. Early on Daniel Gilbert makes it clear that if you’re looking for that kind of a book you’ll have to move to the self-help section. That got my attention. Stumbling on Happiness is far more interesting.
Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, posits that our struggles with happiness stem mainly from our habit of trying to anticipate the future—that ability to, as he phrases it, “make future” is what most distinguishes us from other animals. The problem is we’re usually quite bad at it, and the gap between what we anticipate and what actually happens undermines our search for happiness. Gilbert brings enormous verve and humor to a fresh and serious look at the workings of our minds, and while he doesn’t offer any easy answers, he challenges us with a new way of thinking about happiness as an integral part of living your best life.