18 April 2007

Why it's so hard to be happy.

I just finished reading Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. Despite the title, it isn't about how to be a happier person. Instead, Gilbert explores why so many things that we think will make us happy end up be rather disappointing. It is very well documented for a book intended for a popular audience (a la Blink by Malcom Gladwell).

When I read an author for the first time, I generally don't want to know anything about him or her. Nor do I want to read negative reviews about the book. If the author is some "nobody" or the negative reviews seem logical, I find it difficult to give the book an objective reading (I feel the same way about low budget movies and movie critics' reviews). I really enjoy being a few (or a few hundred) pages into the book and thinking, "Geez, this is really good, I wonder who wrote it!" and then looking at the about the author section. In fact, I enjoy this "fresh mind" so much that it is worth it to me to start reading a couple crummy books once in a while just to hold out for that refreshing "aaaaahhhhh" moment.

This book gave me one of those moments.

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