Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

I found Stumbling on Happiness to be a fascinating insight into the way our brains are programmed. As someone who is studying code, I couldn’t help but think of navigating our brains’ inner workings as akin to working with a large legacy code base. This particular code base is brilliant and works magnificently, though we don’t always understand how and would like to think we’d program things so much better, if only we had the chance to start from scratch.

Gilbert’s style is humorous and accessible. As readers, we learn that our imagination is an untrustworthy companion in the pursuit of happiness, but it’s our ability to imagine future happiness that separates us from other species of animals. The books explores the ways our minds play tricks that lead us to make uninformed decisions around our happiness, decisions that we’ll continue to make even after learning about said tricks.

Although learning about the ways our brains are flawed may seem hopeless, and this is definitely not a self help book that aims to give the answers, I found gaining a deeper understanding of the ways we all strive for happiness as humans made me feel less alone. This is a great book for anyone who, like me, is intrigued by cognitive psychology, but doesn’t necessarily know that much.

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