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A place for Get Rich Slowly readers to ask questions
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It is currently Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:28 pm




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 Post subject: book recommendation: Stumbling on Happiness
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:00 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:01 am
Posts: 243
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

This book points to some human fallacies that we have regarding the way we make decisions. Even "logical" decisions often aren't very logical.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:10 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:27 am
Posts: 106
Location: USA
I strongly second this. I just returned my library copy a few weeks ago.

Psychology is NOT my field, so I'm not prepared to fully critique the experiments he uses as examples, but I can say that it is:

*Heavily footnoted (confidence-inspiring)
*Very readable
*Fairly well-scaled in its reach and conclusions (I enjoyed Wisdom of Crowds, but Suriowecki, I'm looking at you)

Also, the front cover graphic had me literally laughing out loud.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:58 pm
Posts: 958
Location: Portland, Oregon
This sounds right up my alley, of course. I'll add it to the hold list at my library. Either of you care to do a review for GRS? (Would such a review actually be appropriate for GRS?)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:28 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:27 am
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Location: USA
I'm not necessarily sure that it would work on GRS, although squished18 is more than welcome to prove me wrong.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:58 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:43 am
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Location: Portland, OR
Stumbling on Happiness is one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. It is heavy on psychological research and somewhat light on money related topics, although it clearly demonstrates that there is absolutely no connection between happiness and money (beyond a certain "survival" level). The basic premise of the book is that human beings do a very bad job of predicting how they will feel about planned future events. The obvious example is that we think piles of money will make us feel happy, but they don't. Daniel Gilbert describes, in profound ways, what we are learning about the human condition through recent experiments on happiness. If I had more time, I would write a review for GRS.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:58 pm 
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Location: Houston, TX
In this vein, I would recommend 'The Art of Happiness' co-authored by the Dalai Lama. Yes, it has a bit of Buddhist philosophy in it, but I assure you that nothing conflicts with Judeo-Christian beliefs. It's more of a handbook for being happy in the here & now, as opposed to always wanting the elusive "more" (including, but not limited to money).

I liked it so much that I'm getting ready to read it a second time.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:01 am
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As several have pointed out, this book is not about managing your personal finances. However, the reason I mentioned this book is because most people would agree that money is a means to an end, and not a very good end in and of itself. So, with that in mind the question becomes "why spending time maximizing your money?" A lot of people want money so that they can be happy or happier. This book can help to point out some of the difficulties making decisions to "become happier". Our minds play lots of tricks on us that prevent us from making decisions that make us happier.

squished


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:19 pm 
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Location: Portland, Oregon
I've been working with my wellness coach, Lauren, again. We've been sidetracked from food and exercise, though, by some of the fundamental issues that prevent me from being as happy as I could be. I think that for a lot of people, personal finance is like this. There are certain issues that must be resolved in order to become happy, and after that controlling spending (or, in my case, eating) is easier.

In my case, as you may have noticed from the questions I've posted in this forum, I'm working on decluttering my life, on taking things one-at-a-time instead of all at once...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:22 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:43 am
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Location: Portland, OR
I was just thinking J.D. that it is kind of odd for personal finance and happiness to be considered in the same forum - they really are two completely different things. Regardless, that is what I enjoy most about GRS. I think that money is such a strong security blanket for people that it becomes tied to a person's fundamental needs. It is fairly clear from happiness research that fundamental needs must be met before a person can experience higher levels of well-being. The problem is that the money/security link is a false one. The irony is that it is not financial freedom but rather the ability to break free from this false perception that will truly make us feel satisfied with our lives.

I'm trying to get there and it is very very hard. I expect to get there someday - what I call "to inhabit a place of peace and knowing free from fear and anxiety". In the meantime, I love sharing ideas about personal finance and well-being.[/quote]


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:54 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:01 am
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JD and DC,

This is exactly the sentiment that's on my mind. I have a theory that if I calculated the actual amount of funds necessary to maintain a respectable lifestyle, that number would be surprisingly low. We often seek to obtain happiness, security, or approval through financial means. Yet, that may not be the best or even appropriate means to achieve these objectives.

squished


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:03 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:43 am
Posts: 22
Location: San Diego, California
On that note, I think that I would like a review of this book on GRS. Since it seems as though the book very clearly lays out how separate happiness and money are, I think it would be a valuable review to have.

I, for one, am interested, and may just have to look into the book.
Now to see if we buy it or borrow it :) I'll probably end up buying it so that we have in the house to peruse through whenever


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:43 am
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Location: Portland, OR
I'm somewhat of an "expert" in the subject of happiness and money. This book is fun, funny, and immensely interesting. It does not, however, deal with the subject of money and happiness in much depth. I recommend "Happiness: The New Science" by Richard Lanyard for its economics bent. I also recommend "American Mania" by Peter Whybrow for its bent on hyper-consumerism. And finally I recommend "Authentic Happiness" by Dr. Seligman for its psychological and self-help bent. There are also numerous great articles on the subject to be found on the internet. Just go to Google and type "money happiness". Happy reading....


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:59 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:45 pm
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I like what DC Portland had to say about the GRS site and its spin on the psychological affect money has on people. In my mind, it's not so much the money that affects my happiness, but that debt is the anti-happiness...to me, that's the correlation. Having a million certainly won't immediatly make you happy, but having mountains of debt can certainly be depressing. I think DC Portland is right on the money!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 4:49 pm 
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Location: Cambridge, MA
I just started this as an audio book. Pretty fun, very interesting. Plentiful corny jokes are the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 2:58 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:01 am
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Continuing on the thread that we might not know what we don't know...or in other words, think you're so smart, eh?...

http://www.healthbolt.net/2007/02/14/26-reasons-what-you-think-is-right-is-wrong/


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