Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile

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Oxford University Press, 2005 - Psychology - 216 pages
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 negative thoughts are more powerful than positive ones. We read that happiness varies from country to country, for example, the Swiss are much more happy than Bulgarians. And we learn that, in a poll among people aged 42 years old--peak mid-life crisis time--more than half rated their happiness an 8, 9, or 10 out of 10, and 90% rated it above 5. Nettle, a psychologist, is particularly insightful in discussing the brain systems underlying emotions and moods, ranging from serotonin, to mood enhancing drugs such as D-fenfluramine, which reduces negative thinking in less than an hour; to the part of the brain that, when electrically stimulated, provides feelings of benevolent calm and even euphoria. In the end, Nettle suggests that we would all probably be happier by trading income or material goods for time with people or hobbies, though most people do not do so.
Happiness offers a remarkable portrait of the feeling that poets, politicians, and philosophers all agree truly makes the world go round.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - name99 - LibraryThing

Remarkably good. There's an understandable fear, on seeing a book like this, that one is in for something like self-help homilies or, perhaps, religious mumbo-jumbo, but the book lives up to its sub ... Read full review

Happiness: the science behind your smile

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Here are two very different takes on happiness. Ryan (Attitudes of Gratitude ) returns with a delightful book of encouragement and practical ideas for experiencing happiness. The emphasis is on ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Daniel Nettle is Lecturer in Psychology at University of Newcastle. His publications include iVanishing Voices /i(with Suzanne Romaine), iLinguistic Diversity/i, and iStrong Imagination: Madness, Creativity, and Human Nature/i. He runs the psychological research website www.psychresearch.org.uk. iVanishing Voices/i was winner of the BAAL prize for 2001, and was described by The New Yorker as 'a superb study of endangered languages'. iStrong Imagination/i was described as 'a fascinating,pithy little book' (Sunday Times), giving 'a critical survey of current psychiatric knowledge that is as good an overview as is available from any source' (Times Literary Supplement).

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