By the way, isn't the text limit on Goodreads'
review section annoying?
Review of Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
April 2007, first impression
: So far, this book is witty, eye-opening and really fun. Also really well researched. He references Daniel C. Dennett in the first five pages, so how could I not love it?May 2007, upon completion
Ultimately, I decided to give this book three stars because I believe that it is a ballsy and well-executed attempt to take on an impossibly difficult problem (happiness - that's a biggie). For the most part, I admire Gilbert's methods, though they ALL become incredibly frustrating somewhere around page 200. The book is witty, incredibly well researched, and Gilbert is (mostly) unwilling to extrapolate the massive amounts of data he compiles into proscriptive solutions for finding happiness.
Fortunately, these make the book:
* pretty easy to follow
* informative and enlightening (if you're not already familiar with most of the research - some of the psychological effects he outlines are well-known to the point of being cliché, but many are either head-scratchers or jaw-droppers on their own merits or are interpreted here in interesting ways which bolster his mostly critical (rather than constructive) thesis)
* very NOT another preachy or rosy-tinted self-help franchise (yet).
* the tone ultimately makes the book repetitive and tiresome (much like being in the room with an otherwise intelligent person who laughs a little too much at their own jokes)
* the research often obfuscates rather than elucidates already fuzzy points (again, he makes his criticisms clear, but sometimes it's unclear what he is actually trying to *say* by pointing them out)
* for most of the book it seems as though he's really verging on some great ideas, but doesn't want to stick his neck out for them, which leaves the reader exhausted trying to generate their own implications and solutions for the problems he identifies...( Like anybody smart enough to recognize their faults but not disciplined enough to censor them...Collapse )