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Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Paul Dolan , Daniel Kahneman PhD

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28. August 2014
This is not just another happiness book. In Happiness by Design, happiness and behavior expert Paul Dolan combines the latest insights from economics and psychology to illustrate that in order to be happy we must behave happy Our happiness is experiences of both pleasure and purpose over time and it depends on what we actually pay attention to. Using what Dolan calls deciding, designing, and doing, we can overcome the biases that make us miserable and redesign our environments to make it easier to experience happiness, fulfilment, and even health.  With uncanny wit and keen perception, Dolan reveals what we can do to find our unique optimal balance of pleasure and purpose, offering practical advice on how to organize our lives in happiness-promoting ways and fresh insights into how we feel, including why:

• Having kids reduces pleasure but gives us a massive dose of purpose
• Gaining weight won’t necessarily make us unhappier, but being too ambitious might
• A quiet neighborhood is more important than a big house

Vividly rendering intriguing research and lively anecdotal evidence, Happiness by Design offers an absorbing, thought-provoking, new paradigm for readers of Stumbling on Happiness and The How of Happiness.

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“Outstanding, cutting-edge, and profound.  If you’re going to read one book on happiness, this is the one.”
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, bestselling author of The Black Swan and Antifragile 

Happiness by Design is the best kind of psychology book: the ideas are fascinating, understanding them will make your life happier and more meaningful, and Dolan expresses them beautifully. Whether you’re a novice or a voracious consumer of happiness research, Happiness by Design hits all the right notes.”
—Adam Alter, bestselling author of Drunk Tank Pink
“Dolan gives a comprehensive overview of the science of happiness and useful tips to achieve it. In his quest to explain what makes us happy, Dolan touches on a powerful idea: happiness need not be pursued, simply rediscovered. In other words, sources of pleasure and purpose are all around us, if only one knows where to look.”
Scientific American

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Paul Dolan, PhD, is an internationally renowned expert on happiness, behavior, and public policy. He is currently Professor of Behavioral Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science and has been a visiting research scholar at Princeton University with Professor Daniel Kahneman. Among various other roles, he advises the National Academy of Sciences on measurement issues in happiness research. He lives in Brighton, UK with his wife and two children.

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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Actively design your happiness 16. September 2014
Von bronx book nerd - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book makes the case that happiness is something you can achieve by becoming more conscious of what actually contributes to it and how. Specifically, Dolan says that day-to-day happiness is composed of pleasure and purpose - you don't want to just feel good, you also want to feel that you are doing good. With this mindset, you can tolerate short term burdens if you know that they are being suffered for a purpose. At the same time, pleasure must be included in the equation as it is necessary to feel happy. Dolan covers many of the ways that we obstruct our own happiness, usually unintentionally, because we are not aware of how our mind works. For example, we think we are going to be happy from getting things but that usually wears off quickly; at the same time, we do not give enough credit to the happiness of experiences, so we don't value them as much. So, we focus on accumulation rather than participation, to our own detriment. This and other examples are gathered from the burgeoning field of neuro- and behavioral economics (Daniel Kahnenam is Dolan's friend and mentor). Dolan proposes a three point plan - Decide, Design and Do, for each area where you feel you can achieve more happiness. For example if you want to improve your health, you can "Decide" to go the gym; "Design" by committing to do so with a gym buddy; and "Do" by actually going to the gym. The Design part is the one that I was most looking forward to. However, I actually found the few recommendations here somewhat weak and mundane. Also, the recommendations and exactly how to implement them either do not jump out at you or are somewhat unrealistic. For example, who you hang out with has a great deal to do with your own attitude and happiness. However, most of those we "hang out: with tends to be determine by our family members, our work colleagues and the neighborhoods we live in. There is limited room to design who you hang out with by selecting the individuals who make up these groups. I think a companion dose of Stoic practices would go well with those prescribed by Dolan. Though you can plan and design your happiness, life is right now rearing back its arm to throw you a curve ball. Better to also be prepared for that than to hope that life will only throw you meatball, 65 mile per hour fastballs.
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent scientific approach to obtaining continuous and overall happiness. 28. August 2014
Von Ryan J. Dejonghe - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
HAPPINESS BY DESIGN seeks to take Paul Dolan’s training in economics and behavioral science and offer a unique approach to overall happiness not found in other of its same-shelf counterparts. This is an interesting approach, considering Dolan is working with Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize in economics as a psychologist. (It must be nice to refer to a Nobel Prize winner as “Danny”.)

Dolan claims to make two distinguishing factors on the path to happiness: relatability and definition. Dolan speaks to his lower class upbringing and his current group of friends that are both college educated and those who are not. After reading this book, I’m not sure if he creates a completely relatable experience or not, but more on that later. As for the definition, Dolan states other books on happiness have never offered a definition of happiness. His definition is, “experiences of pleasure and purpose over time.” He later calls this a life “that contains lots of positive sentiments of pleasure and of purpose”, labeling it as “sentimental hedonism”.

My two favorite quotes in this book are: “Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention.” and, “If you are not as happy as you could be then you must be misallocating your attention.” Dolan’s method of bringing about happiness is a balance of pleasure and purpose, for as he writes, “If you are not as happy as you could be then you must be misallocating your attention.” The problem is that we “generally pay attention to what we think should make us happy rather than focusing on what actually does.”

I appreciate Dolan’s scientific-like approach, which is my main contention with books such as THE HAPPINESS PROJECT that feature more “feel good” statements and “it worked for me” statements. A lot of what Dolan offers resembles Rick Hanson’s book HARDWIRING HAPPINESS, which is one of the best I’ve read of the subject. Both this book and that book feature focused attention on everyday events.

There are hundreds of footnoted studies that Dolan uses to effect. By the time he wraps up, he presents ways to “decide, design, and do” that will organize your life around long standing happiness. In particular, Dolan shows how current happiness surveys capture a moment of response, such as posing for a camera, versus a more accurate capturing of happiness over time, such as video recording someone that isn’t posed and gives a more life-like representation.

The parts I would like more clearer or more defined research are the effects of: mindfulness, sleep, and happiness for the unemployed. Dolan believes, though not explicitly pointing to, books like THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle offer obtainable happiness by at a cost of the mind’s System 2 effort (taken from Daniel Kahneman’s THINKING, FAST AND SLOW). Dolan writes that it is “easier and more effective to nudge system 1 than it is to shove system 2.” Dolan’s messages are interesting and remind me a lot of Daniel J. Levitin’s recent THE ORGANIZED MIND.

As for sleep, Dolan shows an interesting study comparing spiked happiness of those who stay up late versus the continuous overall happiness of those that forgo late-night television in order to get a full night’s sleep. As for unemployment, Dolan continuously shows studies how working and money both directly and indirectly affect happiness. On one hand Dolan speaks of the advantage of finding work via happiness, but on the other speaks of the depressiveness of unemployment. This shows me a slippery slope that needs more resolution (which I believe mindfulness or Hanson’s HARDWIRING HAPPINESS addresses).

Overall, HAPPINESS BY DESIGN is an excellent scientific approach to understanding how to obtain continuous overall happiness through simple organizational techniques. This book provides plenty of new insight through hundreds of studies and relatable material. While I would like more information on some of the presented material, there are plenty of footnotes and end-book references for me to follow-up on.

Thanks to Hudson Street Press and The Penguin Group for providing an electronic copy of this book for me to review.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Is pleasure or purpose more rewarding to you? 26. September 2014
Von D&D - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Dolan points out that your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention. Attention "acts as a production process that converts stimuli into happiness". What you attend to drives your behavior and that in turn determines your happiness. The key to happiness by design, the author explains, is to notice what you pay attention to and then to organize your life in ways that actually make you happier without having to think to hard about it.

Happiness here is defined as both pleasure and purpose. There is pleasure (or pain) and purpose (or pointlessness) in all that you do and feel. They are separate components that make up your overall happiness from experience and you are happiest when you have a balance between pleasure and purpose that works best for you. They will not necessarily always be in the same proportion as one another and everyone will have a different balance.

Attention is the glue that holds your life together and happiness is ultimately about the pleasure-purpose principle OVER TIME. As time is the only truly scarce resource, we should all be seeking to use our time in ways that bring us the greatest overall pleasure and purpose for as long as possible. (you cannot recover lost time or lost happiness)

An exploration of how focus affects happiness, this book emphasizes the importance of evaluation; it's not uncommon, unfortunately, to pay more attention to what we think SHOULD make us happy rather than focusing on what actually does. Too often we evaluate something as satisfactory even when the actual experience is not pleasurable, leading to poor choices about what really gives us happiness.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very insightful discussions about what happiness is and how to get more of it 14. September 2014
Von Jane Hegarty - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Very insightful discussions about what happiness is and how to get more of it. The first time I've seen behavioral science and subjective well-being research combined in this way. I would highly recommend this!
4 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is not just another happiness book 31. August 2014
Von Book Fanatic - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I took the title of my review from the first sentence of the Amazon book description because it captures what is different about this book. I've ready many of the "Happiness" popular books and this one is different. I got tired of reading basically the same thing over and over so I haven't been too interested them any longer. For that reason I give this book 5 stars.

This book by Paul Dolan is not scintillating reading. It is fairly short (around 200 pages of text) and gets to the points fairly succinctly. He has a nice combination of scientific studies, his own theory, and intuitive common sense in his book. Dolan has a somewhat different idea about what makes us happy and he has less value for the mindfulness / change your thoughts type happiness ideas and instead suggests we get happier by changing what we DO instead of what we THINK.

He proposes a pleasure-pain / purpose-pointlessness two-factor theory of happiness. He also emphasizes what we pay attention to which is not the same thing as changing your thoughts but it is related. This is basically a 4 star book that gets a big bump to 5 stars because it dares to be different.

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