How can we make it easier to be happy? Using the latest cutting-edge research, Professor Paul Dolan reveals that wellbeing isn't about how we think - it's about what we do. By making deliberate choices that bring us both pleasure and meaning, we can redesign our lives for maximum happiness - without thinking too hard about it.
About the Author
Paul Dolan is an internationally renowned expert on happiness, behaviour, and public policy. He is currently a Professor of Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics. He has been a visiting research scholar at Princeton University, where he worked closely with Daniel Kahneman. Among various other roles, he is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences Panel on measuring national well-being, a member of the National Wellbeing Advisory Forum for the Office for National Statistics in the UK, and is Chief Academic Advisor to the UK Government on how policymakers should value the impact of goods that are hard to measure, like health.
For Dolan, purpose and pleasure are both basic constituents of happiness. This is a bold and original move ... Among the imperfect definitions of happiness, the pleasure-purpose concept that Dolan offers is, I believe, a strong contender. It is a good description of what I wish for my grandchildren: a life that is rich in activities that are both pleasurable and meaningful.
Paul Dolan is an inveterate optimist who has overcome many obstacles on his way to becoming an internationally recognized expert on well-being. The optimism shows on every page of this book. In particular, Paul is optimistic about you, his reader. He believes that you can make your life both pleasurable and meaningful with deliberate choices, about the environment you create for yourself and about the aspects of life that deserve your attention. He offers a great deal of sound advice on how to make these choices and how to follow through with them -- Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate
It tells us what matters to us. Few books change one's life; in 48 hours this has improved mine . . . Anyone who wonders if they are living their lives as fully as they might will find ideas worth thinking about in this engaging, persuasive book -- Jenni Russell * Sunday Times *
Dolan is especially illuminating when it comes to bigger life-choices . . . Dolan makes a persuasive case that happiness might really be simple. His book is a powerful reminder not to get caught up in overthinking things, but to focus instead on maximising what actually delivers joy . . . and most of us would benefit from listening to him -- Oliver Burkeman * Guardian *
[Dolan's] discoveries at once confound your expectations and provide an appreciable way of acting on that knowledge . . . full of facts that make you go: "Huh." -- Richard Godwin * Evening Standard *
Dolan's book is aimed at the lay reader who wants to be more cheerful without recourse to airy-fairy notions of spirituality or philosophy -- Rowan Pelling * Telegraph *
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 *
Dolan wants...to make us think about life in terms of a balance of pleasure and purpose. Some of us are 'pleasure machines', seeking out short-term gratification without paying close enough attention to our lifelong goals; some of us are 'purpose engines', so determined to get to the destination that we miss the view along the way. Whichever we are, we need to find a bit more of the other. -- Archie Bland * The Independent *