Daniel Gilbert

Stumbling on Happiness

Winner, Royal Society Prize for Science Books 2007

Daniel Gilbert

In this fascinating and often hilarious work, pre-eminent psychologist Daniel Gilbert shows how and why the majority of us have no idea how to make ourselves happy. The drive for happiness is one of the most instinctive and fundamental human impulses but do we actually have the first idea how to achieve it, maintain it, or even, for that matter, what it is? In this revealing and witty investigation, pioneering psychologist Daniel Gilbert uses his ground-breaking research, philosophy and real-life case studies to illustrate how our basic drive to satisfy our desires is not only often misguided, but also intrinsically linked to some of the most long-standing and contentious questions about human nature. Combining lively prose, fresh analysis, much-awaited findings and considerable erudition, Stumbling On Happiness' is a fascinating and engaging look at what it means to be a human being on a perennial quest for happiness.

Judges' comments

This is one of those books you can't put down. It reads like a novel and will change the way you think about yourself and your relationships with others.

Professor Colin Pillinger, chair of the judges, said: "Stumbling on Happiness is an outstanding and highly readable winner of this year's Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Daniel Gilbert's voice provides a witty companion throughout this exploration of the science behind the pursuit of happiness an issue which fascinates us all. He uses cognitive science and psychology to provide intriguing insights into human nature, helping us to understand why we make the decisions we do."

"All of the books on the short list were excellent and a treat to judge. Coming to a final decision was extremely difficult."

On accepting the award, Daniel Gilbert said: "I'm absolutely delighted to receive this tremendous honour from the world's oldest learned society. There are very few countries (including my own) where a somewhat cheeky book about happiness could win a science prize -- but the British invented intellectual humour and have always understood that enlightenment and entertainment are natural friends. So God bless the empire!"

 

Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books

Royal Society Prize for Science Books

Aventis Prize for Science Books

See the full list of all the winners.