Happiness by Daniel Nettle


Bringing together the latest insights from psychiatry, psychology, and philosophy, Daniel Nettle sheds light on happiness, the most basic of human desires. Nettle examines whether people are basically happy or unhappy, whether success can make us happy, what sort of remedies to unhappiness work, why some people are happier than others, and much more. The book is packed with fascinating observations. We discover the evolutionary reason why negativ...

Details Happiness

Release DateSep 1st, 2006
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
GenrePsychology, Nonfiction, Science, Self Help

Reviews Happiness

  • Das Anjos
    "One of the most reliable findings in studies of well being is that people who are married score more highly than those who are not. [...] Those cohabiting were a little less happy than the married ones, with those who had never married coming in third."A very interesting and easy to read book on happiness research, well structured, but maybe too focused on WEIRD (white, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) countries.
  • Dana
    The beginning of the book was a little slow. However, I'm glad I stuck with it for the last few chapters. I found the science intriguing and I had a few "ah-ha" moments. I borrowed this book from the library (I don't think I want to add this one to my collection), so I will include some of my favorite quotes here..."What we actually do when we try to consider how happy we are, have been, or will be, is something much cruder than the objective sum...
  • Realini
    Happiness: The Science behind your smileby Daniel NettleThis is an excellent Book… I have to repeat this: wonderful, excellent, life-changing book! Together with The Science of Happiness and perhaps Flourish, this is a book which can change your life. I hope it is already changing mine. By applying some of the Facts, Discoveries of Positive Psychology listed in the book, I may reach Bliss, Tranquility, and Nirvana.My guess is that I will write ...
  • Tiffany
    So I've got some bad news.You're not meant to be happy.Daniel Nettle's Happiness outlines some harsh truths: We're not meant to be happy, we're meant to strive to be happy. We will always want what others have, even though finally attaining these things might not make us happy. "Liking" something and "wanting" something require two very different brain processes. Some of us are predisposed toward neuroticism, and there's not much we can do about ...
  • Dani Levine
    This book is an excellent, concise review of the science of happiness. My main take-away points:1) Good and bad things happen to everyone. Happiness stems not from our life events but from how we respond to them. Unfortunately, much of how we respond to events in our daily lives is predicted by (and predicated on) genetics -- Have a neurotic personality? You're more vulnerable to seeing the negative side of things. An extrovert? No need to even o...
  • Gary
    Recently, there has been a rash of happiness books- these things often come in waves. I've read a bunch of them, and this slim volume is the best. Don't judge it by its perky cover, or its glib, over-simplfied subtitle. This is clear, lucid science which is easily understood and, unlike most research, useful and applicable to the average person.
  • Rob
    (6/10) Perfectly acceptable pop-science book. Falls into some of the pitfalls of evo-psych, but mostly stays away from it. Nothing really remarkable here.
  • Edgar Trevizo
    Un libro absolutamente estupendo.
  • Alfred Timothy Lotho
    I don't usually like books that is very research-based because they take away the power of the story-telling style but I find this book different. On top of sharing interesting studies about a wide variety of topics such as effects of drugs/hormones on stress-related behavior, consistency and validity of self-reported happiness, overestimation of sadness we feel from negative life events and the happiness we would feel from getting material wants...
  • Thu Hoài
    "Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you." (Nathaniel Hawthorne)I came across this book in the school library. Considering the published date (2005), it does not bring as much to me as expected, as many findings have been exploited continuously in self-help arenas.A short summary of main points:- Happiness in term of income and material goods is relative to...
  • Robert Day
    Kind of makes sense but isn't very satisfying or memorable. Conclusion is (something like) happiness isn't achievable (because of the way evolution works). So you should either be satisfied by what you have (unless your unhappiness is pathological) or should try for something else instead, like be a fine, upstanding member of your community.
  • Shellie Kelly
    My daughter had to read this for a college class and gave it to me since I work in the mental health field. I really enjoyed the book and was happy to learn a few things. Happiness is something everyone wants, right???
  • Harpreet Duggal
    A balanced view of scientific studies on happiness as a psychological construct in a lay person’s language.
  • Chillu Annamalai
    An easy recommendation to anyone who is concerned with living the good life.
  • Galicius
    The first chapter “Comfort and Joy” takes a serious look at happiness. It tries to identify and describe where it is among human emotions which are universal and recognized by different people. Natives of Papua New Guinea can tell what kind of an emotion is shown in a photograph of an American face. More than 3000 studies have appeared on the study of happiness (hedonics) since 1960. Origins of the interest in happiness go to Aristotle. Jerem...
  • George Petrellis
    Λοιπόν, λοιπόν... Ποτέ δεν περίμενα τέτοιο επίπεδο από ένα βιβλίο που ήταν δώρο με το περιοδικό! Ήταν μια ευχάριστη έκπληξη. Το εν λόγω βιβλίο, όπως είναι φανερό κι από τον τίτλο του πραγματεύεται αυτό το άπιαστο της ευτυχίας. Τι νοείται ευτυχία? Εί...
  • Ryan Lum
    No one ever thinks why we're happy and smiling all the time but this book describes it all. Read it and it really goes down to the bone. The first chapter Comfort and Joy takes a look at happiness and the definition of it. The author tries to identify and describe where it is among human emotions which are universal and recognized by different people. Nettle the author describes three levels of happiness in our lives and they are: 1. momentary fe...
  • Rebecca Waring-Crane
    The bright yellow cover got me, so I added this small volume to a stack I scooped up before Christmas break. Yes, it's overdue. I was on a little happiness jag with The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want and Flow in the same stack. Alas, none of these titles wooed me well. Nettle presents statistics and information from studies, but his writing was not engaging. In grad school a woman from England incorporated th...
  • Liam
    "The systems controlling pleasure are not identical to those controlling desire. This is an important lesson; the psychology of aspiration is not that of satisfaction. We do not always want what we like or like what we want." (4)"[T]he purpose of the happiness programme in the human mind is not to increase human happiness; it is to keep us striving." (43)"Of course brain functioning was going to turn out to be in direct control of our happiness -...
  • Ed
    I really enjoyed this book, it really makes you think about happiness from a new perspective. This was only my first read, but here's what I got out of it: our brains have evolved to enjoy happiness only temporarily, then get used to the new levels of happiness, then seek out happiness again. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective as it is what creates drive, but it also means that happiness is nigh unattainable. The only way to really...
  • Nell
    I'm on another of my "what makes people tick" jags. As in Personality, Nettle explains how we are programmed by evolution for biological fitness, which may or may not serve us as well in the modern, developed world as it did our hunter-gatherer ancestors. It turns out that evolution favors always striving for something out of reach and becoming accustomed to it when we get it, so we strive anew. And the loss of community, increased alienation, an...
  • Kiara
    I heard about this book from a PBS presentation. I looked for it for a year before I finally found it online. I was happy that it didn't disappoint.Great science summarized in a logical sequence with boughts of humor - just the way I like it! It wasn't as humorous as The Trouble with Testosterone, but enjoyable. The author used wording that was far more complex than it needed to be - I mean really, do you need to say "a capacious armchair"? Still...
  • Paige
    Probably more a 4.5, just because there were so many interesting ideas that could have been expanded on, but it was so much fun to read!There were very few sentences that I had to reread, and all "complicated" ideas were given a simple example counterpart, so it was easy to understand.It made me laugh a few times, which I wasn't expecting. I could've probably guessed at most of the information in this book, so it wasn't super enlightening, but it...
  • Joanne Schneider
    I had to read this book for my freshman seminar, coincidentally called "Happiness". It isn't a page turner by any means, but this book actually changed the way I think about myself/my happiness/what gets me going/brings me down. Good for every 20-something year old who thinks they can't get out of their quarter life "what do i want/how do i get it" crisis in a non-gushy, non-self-help-book format.
  • Nhi Hexe
    I feel like I against the world when reading this book. It is opposite with self-help book. It included science and psychology. Learned a lot from this. After all, Happiness is just a word that human cannot define itself. Because we think too much about our future which is not exist at this very moment.
  • Christopher
    not much new information but an excellent compilation of the research which has been done on happiness. one interesting thing is how much science has recently begun to confirm the values many religions have been teachings for centuries. things like, wealth and prestige do not increase happiness.
  • T
    A short book, not complicated. The first few chapters on a few basic scientific studies were highly skimmable, the last two or three chapters were lovely. I especially liked the "tallest tree" analogy -- something to remember.
  • Leo
    Surprisingly scientific and unsentimental. Rather forcefully optimistic towards the end (after laying out the smack down on psychology studies madness regarding genetic and biological dispositions having more of a say than anything else), but still informative.
  • Jill
    Probably better than whatever is shelved next to it, but that is faint praise. Also, the science is already getting outdated, so I'd suggest just reading a bunch of popular science journalism articles and calling it a night.