Tag Archives: Stumbling on Happiness

Dan Gilbert TED talks: Why are we happy? How do we make predictions? Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, gives talks at TED. Learn more about Gilbert “psychological immune system“. Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we’ll not be happy if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness, sharing some surprising tests and experiments that we can also try on ourself. Dan Gilbert said about Stumbling on Happiness: “My book is not about how good people are at predicting the future; it’s about how good they are at predicting their emotional reactions to the future”.

Dan Gilbert wrote a free study guide to his book “Stumbling on Happiness”. This is his introduction: So here’s a question that you’re probably dying to ask me:Why does Stumbling on Happiness have twelve chapters? [… ]But as it happens, twelve is the number of weeks that a seminar at Harvard University typically meets, which means that my book is ideal for teaching. This year I designed and taught a seminar in which my students read one chapter from my book every week (plus a few other readings) and then met to discuss it. I taught one version of the seminar for graduate students and one for undergraduate students, and both seminars were great fun for me. The students seemed to like them, too. At least no one passed out. In the syllabus, I’ve described the main idea that each chapter of my book raises, and included a few key points for discussion and references to some supplemental readings that might inform it. Copyright law prohibits me from posting the readings themselves, but you should be able to find them in a library. Feel free to copy this syllabus—use it, change it, rearrange it, or sell it on eBay. One thing you’ll notice about these readings is that they are primarily psychology articles because I am, in point of fact, a psychologist. That’s why I say things like “in point of fact.” I hope that those of you who read my book will send me suggestions for relevant readings in other fields—such as economics, biology, philosophy, business, the arts—to be included in future seminars. If you do, I’ll post your suggestions here on this website, and together we can build the world’s longest reading list, thereby keeping several generations of promising young people from ever finishing college.

Dan Gilbert free study guide is available on http://www.randomhouse.com/kvpa/gilbert/img/studyguide.pdf Happy stumbling!

Daniel Todd Gilbert is Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He is a social psychologist who is known for his research (with Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia) on affective forecasting, with a special emphasis on cognitive biases such as the impact bias.

He is the author of the international bestseller Stumbling on Happiness, which has been translated into more than 25 languages and which won the 2007 Royal Society Prizes for Science Books. As reviewed by Reed Business Information, Stumbling on Happiness is not a self-help book, but instead mounting a scientific explanation of the limitations of the human imagination and how it steers us in inappropriate directions in our search for happiness, Daniel Todd Gilbert draws on psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy and behavioral economics to argue that, just as we err in remembering the past, so we err in imagining the future. “Our desire to control is so powerful, and the feeling of being in control so rewarding, that people often act as though they can control the uncontrollable,” Gilbert writes, as he reveals how ill-equipped we are to properly preview the future, let alone control it. Unfortunately, he claims, neither personal experience nor cultural wisdom compensates for imagination’s shortcomings.

In concluding chapters, he discusses the transmission of inaccurate beliefs from one person’s mind to another, providing salient examples of universal assumptions about human happiness such as the joys of money and of having children. He concludes with the provocative recommendation that, rather than imagination, we should rely on others as surrogates for our future experience. Gilbert’s playful tone and use of commonplace examples render a potentially academic topic accessible and educational.