Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert | Book Review

Title: Stumbling on Happiness

Author: Daniel Gilbert

Category: Psychology

Rating: 5/5 

10-word summary: You think you know what will make you happy, right?

About Stumbling on Happiness

I want to start this review by telling you that “Stumbling on Happiness” is not really a book about happiness. Well, actually, it is but no in the way you imagine. This is not a self-help book that will tell you how to become happier. It doesn’t really. It will tell you why you fail to become happier in the future – at least, why you probably won’t be as happy as you imagine you’ll be.

The book explores how the brain processes information and you will learn a lot about this! This will help you understand how the brain often performs all kinds of tricks that you are not even aware of. It will make you realize that you shouldn’t trust your brain as much as you probably do.

Stumbling on Happiness had a life-changing impact on me. It made me realize that I need to analyse and scrutinize my thoughts and my beliefs much more than I do. It made me realize that it’s hard to discover the truth sometimes. And it made realize how valuable scientific data is! Given how unreliable our own brains are at times, it helps to rely on science to understand what our brains are really up to and try to understand how they work and why.

What I like about Stumbling on Happiness

1. It’s a very insightful book

Stumbling on Happiness is one of the most insightful books I have read. It opened my eyes to so many things our brains do and this completely changed how I think about my own thoughts and feelings in general. This is one of those books that has the potential to change how you think about yourself and people in general.

2. The book is science-based

You probably know this already, but I like science-based books. I think that books that rely on and include information about scientific studies are generally more reliable and more interesting. Stumbling on Happiness mentioned tens of studies and this made the book so much more insightful and more valuable in my opinion.

3. It will help you better understand how your brain works

Stumbling on Happiness will help you understand how your brain remembers, imagines, analyses and edits information. Our brains are very complex and learning about some of these processes is fascinating and so eye-opening!

4. It’s well written, easy to read and witty

I think Gilbert managed to do a great job at writing a book that is very insightful and very easy to read at the same time. Many psychology books are either more informative or more easy to read. This book is an exception in this regard. Gilbert’s witty remarks also make the reading experience much more enjoyable.

What I don’t like about Stumbling on Happiness

1. The structure of the book is often not very clear

I would say that the main structure of the book was not very clear. However, given that the ideas in each chapter make sense and the book is so insightful, I don’t really have a problem with this. I have read other books that I would say do not have a clear structure and yet share many great ideas anyway.

Should You Read Stumbling on Happiness?

Yes, I think you should read this book. It won’t tell you how to become happier, but it will teach you so much about how your brain works!

I have read several psychology books and I always find interesting ideas in the books I read. This book strikes the perfect balance between a book that is informative and a book that is enjoyable to read (even fun at times). To be honest, it’s quite hard to sum up this book – as it sometimes happens with the most insightful books I read.

If I were to only recommend one psychology book, I think this would be the one! So if you haven’t read it yet, add it to your list! You can watch Daniel Gilbert’s TED talk “The surprising science of happiness” to get a “preview”. If you like it, you’ll love the book!

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