Page #3: Stumbling on Happiness






Psychology is notably a relatively young field of study compared to fields such as physics and chemistry which have been for established as major component of scientific studies for centuries. A Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert takes such field and presents it to the public in an entertaining manner in the book “Stumbling on Happiness.” This non-fiction piece of writing delves into several previews of what may be seen in a Psychology textbook. From diagrams of our brains to important studies in the field of Psychology, this book has the fundamentals behind some of the major concepts in Psychology accompanied by a mask of jokes and enjoyable anecdotes. The main focus of this book, within the field of Psychology, is on the topic of “happiness,” and revolves around the interesting viewpoints with which different human beings approach happiness.

What's inside our body that makes us happy?

What's inside our body that makes us happy?

As familiar as the question “how do you define happiness?” may be from piles of psychological essays and SAT practice sets, this book repeatedly mentions how we perceive such mysterious emotion. To me, reading this book has enlightened me about how I personally experience “happiness,” and realize how easily our brains can be fooled. The book contains answers both based on strict scientific reasoning and on common sense knowledge to questions such as how people mistakenly fall in love, how we remember things that we weren’t paying attention to in our peripheral vision, and even why we can never find out how content Siamese twins are. One of the interesting points that the book brought up was that we all have different levels (or scales, as the book illustrates) of happiness based on our span of experience. A cheese cake, for example, may be extremely delicious and arouse a sense of full happiness for one who hasn’t experienced something better, who would most likely not describe the cheese cake in same terms.

what are you thinking? certainly won't be the same thoughts as mine

what are you thinking? certainly won't be the same thoughts as mine

The book brings up simple easy-to-approach topics like these to demonstrate psychological concepts and ideas to the readers. The piece of writing is masked with examples that are easy to digest, and the occasional jokes placed here and there are a gem that entices the readers to continue their journey to discover more about their “happiness.” The book is thoroughly written, encompassing a wide variety of topics including diagrams, photos, and synopsis of real scientific studies, written with a style perfectly suited to approach someone who may not know anything about psychology. The ways in which the chapters are divided with interesting titles also demonstrate the intricate use of literary craft in this book. It certainly was an enjoyable read.

Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University

Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University

The author, Daniel Gilbert is a Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He has been praised with numerous awards for his various lectures and research projects. His awards include American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology. His lectures are one of the most popular in Harvard University, as he appeals to his students as an entertaining professor with enjoyable and content-full lessons. His research also has been covered by The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Psychology Today and many more. This book is one of his amazing contributions to the field of Psychology, and absolutely deserves a four-star rating.


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