From BBC News:
Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness had been tipped as the favourite to win the prestigious £10,000 award. It beat five other titles including Henry Nicholl’s Lonesome George, an account of the last known individual of a subspecies of Galapagos tortoise.
Reviewed by Malcolm Gladwell:
Stumbling on Happiness is a book about a very simple but powerful idea. What distinguishes us as human beings from other animals is our ability to predict the future–or rather, our interest in predicting the future. We spend a great deal of our waking life imagining what it would be like to be this way or that way, or to do this or that, or taste or buy or experience some state or feeling or thing. We do that for good reasons: it is what allows us to shape our life. And it is by trying to exert some control over our futures that we attempt to be happy. But by any objective measure, we are really bad at that predictive function. We’re terrible at knowing how we will feel a day or a month or year from now, and even worse at knowing what will and will not bring us that cherished happiness. Gilbert sets out to figure what that’s so: why we are so terrible at something that would seem to be so extraordinarily important?
In making his case, Gilbert walks us through a series of fascinating–and in some ways troubling–facts about the way our minds work. In particular, Gilbert is interested in delineating the shortcomings of imagination.