Excellent. From the author of “The Righteous Mind”, which I read a few years back. There is so much good stuff in this book, combining thoughts from the ancients with modern psychology, much of it new to me and the rest a good reminder. A tiny sampling of material:

“But recent research in psychology suggests that Buddha and Epictetus may have taken things too far.”

“In fact, happiness is one of the most highly heritable aspects of personality. Twin studies generally show that from 50 percent to 80 percent of all the variance among people in their average levels of happiness can be explained by differences in their genes rather than in their life experiences.”

“You can change your affective style too—but again, you can’t do it by sheer force of will. You have to do something that will change your repertoire of available thoughts. Here are three of the best methods for doing so: meditation, cognitive therapy, and Prozac.”

“After a careful review of the evidence, however, Frank concludes that those who think money can’t buy happiness just don’t know where to shop.”

“If the metaphor for passionate love is fire, the metaphor for companionate love is vines growing, intertwining, and gradually binding two people together.”

“A society without liberals would be harsh and oppressive to many individuals. A society without conservatives would lose many of the social structures and constraints that Durkheim showed are so valuable. Anomie would increase along with freedom. A good place to look for wisdom, therefore, is where you least expect to find it: in the minds of your opponents. You already know the ideas common on your own side. If you can take off the blinders of the myth of pure evil, you might see some good ideas for the first time.”

Cover image for The Happiness Hypothesis