Stumbling on Happiness is not a self-help book, but a psychological study, ... and it's just won this year's Royal Society Prize for Science Books. I liked this review of it by Malcolm Gladwell (author of Blink and The Tipping Point) which I found on Amazon. It does rather sound like a must-read:
The other short-listed books were:
Stumbling on Happiness is a book about a very simple but powerful idea. What distinguishes us as human beings from other animals is our ability to predict the future--or rather, our interest in predicting the future. We spend a great deal of our waking life imagining what it would be like to be this way or that way, or to do this or that, or taste or buy or experience some state or feeling or thing. We do that for good reasons: it is what allows us to shape our life. And it is by trying to exert some control over our futures that we attempt to be happy. But by any objective measure, we are really bad at that predictive function. We're terrible at knowing how we will feel a day or a month or year from now, and even worse at knowing what will and will not bring us that cherished happiness. Gilbert sets out to figure what that's so: why we are so terrible at something that would seem to be so extraordinarily important?
In making his case, Gilbert walks us through a series of fascinating--and in some ways troubling--facts about the way our minds work. In particular, Gilbert is interested in delineating the shortcomings of imagination. We're far too accepting of the conclusions of our imaginations. Our imaginations aren't particularly imaginative. Our imaginations are really bad at telling us how we will think when the future finally comes. And our personal experiences aren't nearly as good at correcting these errors as we might think.
Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain by Chris Stringer
In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind by Eric R. Kandel
Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon by Henry Nicholls
One in Three: A Son's Journey Into the Science and History of Cancer by Adam Wishart
The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson
Grateful I am indeed to Rol who sent me the link to a YouTube video of a talk by Daniel Gilbert. It is very well worth watching to learn the secret of true happiness ... which is not what you think it will be and not what Rhonda Byrne would like you to think it is. Unlike Byrne, Gilbert is actually able to provide you with some evidence beyond the mere anecdotal to support what he's saying.