hedonic treadmill

52 results back to index


pages: 324 words: 93,175

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely

Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Burning Man, business process, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, end world poverty, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, IKEA effect, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, second-price auction, software as a service, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, young professional

You will always regret the accident—both physically and as a reminder of how life could have been—but its influence will not be as vivid or as incessant as you originally thought it would be. “Time heals all wounds” precisely because, over time, you will partially adapt to the state of your world. The Hedonic Treadmill By failing to anticipate the extent of our hedonic adaptation, as consumers we routinely escalate our purchases, hoping that new stuff will make us happier. Indeed, a new car feels wonderful, but sadly, the feeling lasts for only a few months. We get used to driving the car, and the buzz wears off. So we look for something else to make us happy: maybe new sunglasses, a computer, or another new car. This cycle, which is what drives us to keep up with the Joneses, is also known as the hedonic treadmill. We look forward to the things that will make us happy, but we don’t realize how short-lived this happiness will be, and when adaptation hits we look for the next new thing.

mismatching of money and need and, 250–51 motivating people to take action and, 252–56 Chat Circles, 225 cheating, 76 childbirth, pain of, 168, 169n children: in growing and preparing of food, 121 parents’ overvaluation of, 97–98 chimpanzees, sense of fairness in, 127 chores, taking breaks in, 177–79, 180 civil liberties, erosion of, 158 Clark, Andrew, 169 climate change, 251–52 closeness, empathy and, 243, 245, 254 clutch abilities, 39–41 CNN, 238 Coates, Dan, 170 cockroaches, social pressure in, 45–46 commercial breaks, enjoyment of television and, 181n comparisons, hedonic adaptation and, 189 compensation, 47 changes in, job satisfaction and, 169–70 see also bonuses completion: employees’ sense of, 77, 79–80 Loewenstein’s analysis of mountaineering and, 80–81 computers, 233 consumer purchases, 185–88 happiness derived from transient experiences vs., 187–88 hedonic treadmill and, 175 placing limits on, 186–87 reducing, 185–86 spacing of, 185, 186 contrafreeloading, 60–63 Jensen’s study of, 60–62, 63 standard economic view at odds with, 62–63 Converse, 95 cooking: children’s involvement in, 121 enjoyment factor and, 62n, 105–6 semi-preprepared food and, 85–88 CO2 emissions, 251–52 counting strategies, 282–83 Count of Monte Cristo, The (Dumas), 123 creation, pride of: ideas and, see Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias self-made goods and, see IKEA effect creativity, bonuses and improvements in, 47–48 Csíkszentmihályi, Mihály, 49 cultures, organizational: acronyms and, 120 Not-Invented-Here bias and, 119–21 customer revenge, 131–51 against airlines, 142–43 apologies and, 149–51, 152 author’s experience with Audi customer service and, 131–36, 137, 147–49, 153–54 distinction between agents and principals and, 144–47 Farmer and Shane’s “Yours Is a Very Bad Hotel” and, 140–41, 146 fictional case study for Harvard Business Review on, 147–49 increase in, 143 Neistat brothers’ video on Apple’s customer service and, 141–42 passage of time and, 151 phone call interruption experiments on, 135–39, 145–46, 150–51 customization, 94–96 of cars, 88, 89, 94 effort expended in, 89, 95–96 overvaluation despite removing possibility of, 96 of shoes, 95, 96 D Dallaire, Roméo, 255 Darfur, 238, 253 Dart Ball game, 23, 34 Darwin, Charles, 157 dating, 191–235 market failures in, 213–15, 216–17, 220–21, 230–32, 233–35 playing hard to get and, 104 standard practice of, 224–25, 227–28 yentas (matchmakers) and, 213 see also assortative mating; online dating; speed dating decision making: author’s medical care and, 284–88 cooling off before, 257, 279 emotions and, 261–77 gender differences and, 274–76 irreversible decisions and, 285, 286 rationalization of choices in, 287 from rational perspective, 5–6 short-term, long-term decisions affected by, 264–65, 270–74, 276–77 stability of strategies for, 261–65; see also self-herding ultimatum game and, 265–70, 275–76 dentistry, adaptation to pain and, 161–62 design, taking people’s physical limitations into account in, 230–32 destroying work in front of workers, 74–76 Dichter, Ernest, 86 disease: adaptation to pain and, 165, 167 preventative health care and, 251, 256 “survivor” rhetoric and, 241–42 Disney, 154 distraction, performance-based incentives and, 30, 36 division of labor, 77–80 IT infrastructure and, 77, 79–80 Marx’s alienation notion and, 79 Smith’s observations on, 77–78 divorce, foreseeing outcome of, 173 Dodson, John, 18–20, 22, 31, 47 do-it-yourself projects, see IKEA effect Donath, Judith, 225 Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 157 Doubletree Club, Houston, 140–41, 146 dreams, author’s self-image in, 182–83 DreamWorks SKG, 154 driving: momentary anger during, 261 safety precautions and, 6–7 texting during, 6, 7, 8 see also cars drop-in-the-bucket effect, 244–45, 252, 254–55 Dumas, Alexandre, 123 E Eastwick, Paul, 172–73 Edison, Thomas, 117–19, 122 effort: increase in value related to, 89, 90, 95–96, 105–6; see also IKEA effect joy derived from activity and, 71–72 meaningful work conditions and, 72 ownership of ideas and, 114–16 see also labor egg theory, 86–88 Eisner, Michael, 154 electric chair, 119 electricity, alternating current (AC) vs. direct current (DC), 117–19 emotional cascades, 265–78 gender differences and, 274–76 romantic relationships and, 277–78 ultimatum game and, 265–76 emotional priming: empathy for plight of others and, 246–48 ultimatum game and, 268–70 emotions, 43, 237–79 appeals to, willingness to help others and, 240–42, 248–50, 253–54, 256 decision making and, 261–77; see also decision making in past, humans’ poor memory of, 264 transience of, 257, 261, 270 see also empathy; negative feelings, acting on empathy: animals’ suffering and, 249, 252 apathy toward statistical victims and, 238–41, 242, 246, 247–49, 252–53 Baby Jessica saga and, 237–38 calculating vs. emotional priming and, 246–48 clear moral principles and, 255 closeness and, 243, 245, 254 drop-in-the-bucket effect and, 244–45, 252, 254–55 emotional appeals and, 240���42, 248–50, 253–54, 256 global warming and, 251–52 identifiable victim effect and, 239–42, 248, 256 overcoming barriers to, 252–56 rules to guide our behavior and, 254–55 thought experiment of drowning girl and, 242–43, 245 toward one person vs. many in need, 237–56 vividness and, 24, 243n, 244, 245 endowment effect, 285, 286 Enron, 216 evolution, mismatch between speed of technological development and, 8–9 experiments, 10–11, 288–95 business or public policy and, 292–94, 295 of Gideon, 288–89 medical practice and, 289–92 rational economists’ criticisms of, 49–51 see also specific topics Exxon Valdez oil spill, 249 F fairness, sense of: in chimpanzees, 127 decision making and, 266–67; see also ultimatum game gender differences and, 275–76 Fallows, James, 158 Farmer, Tom, 140–41, 146, 148–49 FedEx, 108–9 feedback, about work, 74–76 Feeks, John, 118–19 Fehr, Ernst, 125–26 financial incentives: meaning of labor and, 72–73, 76 see also bonuses financial markets, safety measures for, 7 financial meltdown of 2008, 7, 21, 216 chronology of events in, 129–30 desire for revenge in wake of, 128–31 lack of experimental approach to, 293 outraged public reaction to bailout in, 128–29, 130 Finkel, Eli, 172–73 First Knight, 50 fixation, pride in creation and ownership and, 89, 122 food: animals’ preference for working for, 59–63 semi-preprepared, 85–88 shortages of, identifiable victim effect and, 239–41 see also cooking Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 292 Ford, Henry, 78–79, 94 Forgea (white terrier), 249 Fox, Michael J., 254 “Fox and the Grapes, The” (Aesop), 198–99 Frank, Barney, 41 Frankl, Viktor, 45 free food, animals’ preference for working for food vs., 60–62 Frenk, Hanan, 161–65, 300 Friends, ultimatum game and, 269, 270–71, 272 frog experiment, 157–58 Frost, Jeana, 219–20, 229, 300 Fryer, Bronwyn, 148 furniture, do-it-yourself, 83–84, 96, 105, 106 future, foreseeing adaptation to changes in, 160, 171–74 G gardening: children growing food and, 121 enjoyment factor and, 105–6 gender differences: assortative mating and, 209, 211 decision making and, 274–76 pain threshold and tolerance and, 168–69 Gideon, 288–89 global warming, 158, 251–52 Gneezy, Ayelet, 135, 144–45, 150, 300–301 Gneezy, Uri, 21, 44, 301 Gore, Al, 158, 252 government policies, experimental approach to, 292–94, 295 H happiness: comparisons to other people and, 189 consumer purchases and, 175, 185–88 inaccurate predictions about, 170–71 return to baseline of, 170 transient vs. constant experiences and, 187–88 Harvard Business Review (HBR), 147–49 health care, see medical care hedonic adaptation, 160–84 to annoying experiences, 177–79, 180 author’s personal history and, 181–84, 189 blindness and, 172–74 breaking up experiences and, 177–81 changes in workers’ pay and, 169–70 comparisons to other people and, 189 consumer purchases and, 175, 185–88 extending pleasurable experiences and, 176–78, 179–81, 185, 186 in future, foreseeing of, 160, 171–74 happiness baseline and, 170 life-altering injuries and, 171–72, 174 moving to California and, 176 new houses and, 168–69 pain and, 160–67 romantic breakups and, 172–73 to transient vs. constant experiences, 187–88 using our understanding of, 176–81, 184–90 hedonic disruptions, 177–81 hedonic treadmill, 175 Heingartner, Alexander, 45–46 Henry, O., 98 herding, 262 see also self-herding Herman, Edward, 45–46 Hippocrates, 82 Hogerty, Megan, 81 homeostatic mechanisms, 81 Hong, James, 201, 203 HOT or NOT study, 201–5, 208 gender differences in, 209, 211 Meet Me feature and, 204–5, 208, 209 humor, sense of, 199, 200, 207, 208, 228 Hurricane Katrina, 250, 251 I ideas: attachment to, see Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias idiosyncratic fit and, 111–12 identifiable victim effect, 239–42, 248, 256 American Cancer Society and, 241–42 identity, connection between work and, 53–55, 79 idiosyncratic fit, ideas and, 111–12 ignoring workers, 74–76 IKEA, 83–84, 106 IKEA effect, 83–106 author’s creations in rehabilitation center and, 100–101 completion of project and, 101–4, 105 do-it-yourself furniture and, 83–84, 96, 106 effort expended and, 89, 90, 95–96, 105–6 four principles in, 104–5 and lack of awareness of overvaluation, 99 Legos experiment and, 96, 97 Local Motors cars and, 88, 89 Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias and, 109–10, 121 origami experiments and, 91–94, 97, 98–99, 102–4 parents’ overvaluation of their children and, 97–98 practical implications of, 121–22 relaxation notion and, 105–6 removal of individual customization and, 96 semi-preprepared food and, 85–88 shoe design and, 95, 96 immediate gratification, 5 Inconvenient Truth, An, 252 initiation into social groups, 89 injuries: association of pain with getting better after, 166–67 author’s dating prospects and, 191–96, 210–11 author’s decisions about his medical care and, 284–88 author’s personal history related to, 1–4, 13, 107, 160–62, 166–67, 181–84, 189, 191–96, 210–11, 281–88 battlefield vs. civilian, 167 foreseeing future after, 160 life-altering, adaptation to, 160, 171–72, 174 pain thresholds and tolerance related to severity of, 161–65 Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, 126–27 insurance products, 233–34 interruptions: in pleasant vs. painful experiences, 177–81 TV commercials and, 181n see also phone call interruption experiments intuitions: bonuses and, 36–37 received medical wisdom and, 289–92 romantic, 172–73 testing of, 10n, 288–95 inverse-U relationship, defined, 19 iPods and iPhones, battery replacement in, 141–42 irrationality: summary of findings on, 288 upside as well as downside of, 11–12, 294 irreversible decisions, 285, 286 IT infrastructure, division and meaning of labor and, 77, 79–80 J Janoff-Bulman, Ronnie, 170 Jensen, Glen, 60–62, 63 Jensen, Keith, 127 Jewish tradition, 254–55 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, 152 Joyless Economy, The (Scitovsky), 188 justice, see fairness, sense of K Kahneman, Danny, 32n, 175–76 Kamenica, Emir, 66, 301 Katzenberg, Jeffrey, 154 Kemmler, William, 119 kinship, empathy and, 243 Krishnamurti, Tamar, 172–73 Krzyzewski, Mike, 39 L labor: connection between identity and, 53–55, 79 contrafreeloading and, 60–63 economic model of, 55, 62–63, 105 financial incentives and, see bonuses meaning of, see meaning of labor overvaluation resulting from, see IKEA effect on projects without meaning, 56–57, 63–72 Labyrinth game, 23 Lee, Leonard, 132, 134, 197, 201–2, 301–2 Lee, Sandra, 87–88 leeches, medicinal use of, 290–91 Legos experiments: on IKEA effect, 96, 97 on reducing meaningfulness of work, 66–74, 77, 80 letter-pairs experiment, 74–76, 80 life-altering events, hedonic adaptation and, 170 Life as a House, ultimatum game and, 268, 269, 270, 272, 276 light, adaptation to changes in, 159 Local Motors, Inc., 88, 89 Loewenstein, George, 21, 44, 80–81, 172–73, 197, 201–2, 239–41, 246–48, 302 long-term objectives, short-term enjoyments vs., 4–5 loss aversion, 32–33, 285, 286 lottery winners, hedonic adaptation of, 170, 171 “Love the One You’re With,” 197, 211–12 M malaria, 250, 251 Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl), 45 marketing, adaptation and, 158 market mechanisms, 215–16 dating and, 213–15, 216–17, 220–21, 230–32, 233–35 Marx, Karl, 79 massages, extending pleasure of, 179–80 matchmakers (yentas), 213 Mazar, Nina, 21, 30, 44, 302 McClure, Jessica (Baby Jessica), 237–38 meals, see cooking meaning of labor, 53–82 in acknowledged, ignored, and shredded conditions, 74–76 animals’ preference for working for food and, 59–63 blogging and, 65 division of labor and, 77–80 draining work of meaning and, 55–57, 63–77 financial incentives and, 72–73, 76 joy derived from activity and, 71–72 labor-identity connection and, 53–55, 79 Legos experiment and, 66–74, 76, 80 lessons for workplace on, 80–82 letter-pairs experiment and, 74–76, 80 “meaning” vs.

., 60–62 Frenk, Hanan, 161–65, 300 Friends, ultimatum game and, 269, 270–71, 272 frog experiment, 157–58 Frost, Jeana, 219–20, 229, 300 Fryer, Bronwyn, 148 furniture, do-it-yourself, 83–84, 96, 105, 106 future, foreseeing adaptation to changes in, 160, 171–74 G gardening: children growing food and, 121 enjoyment factor and, 105–6 gender differences: assortative mating and, 209, 211 decision making and, 274–76 pain threshold and tolerance and, 168–69 Gideon, 288–89 global warming, 158, 251–52 Gneezy, Ayelet, 135, 144–45, 150, 300–301 Gneezy, Uri, 21, 44, 301 Gore, Al, 158, 252 government policies, experimental approach to, 292–94, 295 H happiness: comparisons to other people and, 189 consumer purchases and, 175, 185–88 inaccurate predictions about, 170–71 return to baseline of, 170 transient vs. constant experiences and, 187–88 Harvard Business Review (HBR), 147–49 health care, see medical care hedonic adaptation, 160–84 to annoying experiences, 177–79, 180 author’s personal history and, 181–84, 189 blindness and, 172–74 breaking up experiences and, 177–81 changes in workers’ pay and, 169–70 comparisons to other people and, 189 consumer purchases and, 175, 185–88 extending pleasurable experiences and, 176–78, 179–81, 185, 186 in future, foreseeing of, 160, 171–74 happiness baseline and, 170 life-altering injuries and, 171–72, 174 moving to California and, 176 new houses and, 168–69 pain and, 160–67 romantic breakups and, 172–73 to transient vs. constant experiences, 187–88 using our understanding of, 176–81, 184–90 hedonic disruptions, 177–81 hedonic treadmill, 175 Heingartner, Alexander, 45–46 Henry, O., 98 herding, 262 see also self-herding Herman, Edward, 45–46 Hippocrates, 82 Hogerty, Megan, 81 homeostatic mechanisms, 81 Hong, James, 201, 203 HOT or NOT study, 201–5, 208 gender differences in, 209, 211 Meet Me feature and, 204–5, 208, 209 humor, sense of, 199, 200, 207, 208, 228 Hurricane Katrina, 250, 251 I ideas: attachment to, see Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias idiosyncratic fit and, 111–12 identifiable victim effect, 239–42, 248, 256 American Cancer Society and, 241–42 identity, connection between work and, 53–55, 79 idiosyncratic fit, ideas and, 111–12 ignoring workers, 74–76 IKEA, 83–84, 106 IKEA effect, 83–106 author’s creations in rehabilitation center and, 100–101 completion of project and, 101–4, 105 do-it-yourself furniture and, 83–84, 96, 106 effort expended and, 89, 90, 95–96, 105–6 four principles in, 104–5 and lack of awareness of overvaluation, 99 Legos experiment and, 96, 97 Local Motors cars and, 88, 89 Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias and, 109–10, 121 origami experiments and, 91–94, 97, 98–99, 102–4 parents’ overvaluation of their children and, 97–98 practical implications of, 121–22 relaxation notion and, 105–6 removal of individual customization and, 96 semi-preprepared food and, 85–88 shoe design and, 95, 96 immediate gratification, 5 Inconvenient Truth, An, 252 initiation into social groups, 89 injuries: association of pain with getting better after, 166–67 author’s dating prospects and, 191–96, 210–11 author’s decisions about his medical care and, 284–88 author’s personal history related to, 1–4, 13, 107, 160–62, 166–67, 181–84, 189, 191–96, 210–11, 281–88 battlefield vs. civilian, 167 foreseeing future after, 160 life-altering, adaptation to, 160, 171–72, 174 pain thresholds and tolerance related to severity of, 161–65 Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, 126–27 insurance products, 233–34 interruptions: in pleasant vs. painful experiences, 177–81 TV commercials and, 181n see also phone call interruption experiments intuitions: bonuses and, 36–37 received medical wisdom and, 289–92 romantic, 172–73 testing of, 10n, 288–95 inverse-U relationship, defined, 19 iPods and iPhones, battery replacement in, 141–42 irrationality: summary of findings on, 288 upside as well as downside of, 11–12, 294 irreversible decisions, 285, 286 IT infrastructure, division and meaning of labor and, 77, 79–80 J Janoff-Bulman, Ronnie, 170 Jensen, Glen, 60–62, 63 Jensen, Keith, 127 Jewish tradition, 254–55 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, 152 Joyless Economy, The (Scitovsky), 188 justice, see fairness, sense of K Kahneman, Danny, 32n, 175–76 Kamenica, Emir, 66, 301 Katzenberg, Jeffrey, 154 Kemmler, William, 119 kinship, empathy and, 243 Krishnamurti, Tamar, 172–73 Krzyzewski, Mike, 39 L labor: connection between identity and, 53–55, 79 contrafreeloading and, 60–63 economic model of, 55, 62–63, 105 financial incentives and, see bonuses meaning of, see meaning of labor overvaluation resulting from, see IKEA effect on projects without meaning, 56–57, 63–72 Labyrinth game, 23 Lee, Leonard, 132, 134, 197, 201–2, 301–2 Lee, Sandra, 87–88 leeches, medicinal use of, 290–91 Legos experiments: on IKEA effect, 96, 97 on reducing meaningfulness of work, 66–74, 77, 80 letter-pairs experiment, 74–76, 80 life-altering events, hedonic adaptation and, 170 Life as a House, ultimatum game and, 268, 269, 270, 272, 276 light, adaptation to changes in, 159 Local Motors, Inc., 88, 89 Loewenstein, George, 21, 44, 80–81, 172–73, 197, 201–2, 239–41, 246–48, 302 long-term objectives, short-term enjoyments vs., 4–5 loss aversion, 32–33, 285, 286 lottery winners, hedonic adaptation of, 170, 171 “Love the One You’re With,” 197, 211–12 M malaria, 250, 251 Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl), 45 marketing, adaptation and, 158 market mechanisms, 215–16 dating and, 213–15, 216–17, 220–21, 230–32, 233–35 Marx, Karl, 79 massages, extending pleasure of, 179–80 matchmakers (yentas), 213 Mazar, Nina, 21, 30, 44, 302 McClure, Jessica (Baby Jessica), 237–38 meals, see cooking meaning of labor, 53–82 in acknowledged, ignored, and shredded conditions, 74–76 animals’ preference for working for food and, 59–63 blogging and, 65 division of labor and, 77–80 draining work of meaning and, 55–57, 63–77 financial incentives and, 72–73, 76 joy derived from activity and, 71–72 labor-identity connection and, 53–55, 79 Legos experiment and, 66–74, 76, 80 lessons for workplace on, 80–82 letter-pairs experiment and, 74–76, 80 “meaning” vs.


pages: 241 words: 75,516

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

accounting loophole / creative accounting, attribution theory, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, framing effect, hedonic treadmill, income per capita, job satisfaction, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, Own Your Own Home, Pareto efficiency, positional goods, price anchoring, psychological pricing, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

We often hear people say things like, “I never knew wine could taste this good,” or “I never knew sex could be this exciting,” or “I never expected to make this much money.” Novelty can change someone’s hedonic standards so that what was once good enough, or even better than that, no longer is. And as we’ll see, adaptation can be especially disappointing when we’ve put much time and effort into selecting, from a myriad of possibilities, the items or experiences we end up adapting to. Hedonic Adaptation and Hedonic Treadmills IN WHAT IS PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS EXAMPLE OF HEDONIC ADAPTATION, respondents were asked to rate their happiness on a 5-point scale. Some of them had won between $50,000 and $1 million in state lotteries within the last year. Others had become paraplegic or quadriplegic as a result of accidents. Not surprisingly, the lottery winners were happier than those who had become paralyzed. What is surprising, though, is that the lottery winners were no happier than people in general.

Most are driven instead to pursue novelty, to seek out new commodities and experiences whose pleasure potential has not been dissipated by repeated exposure. In time, these new commodities also will lose their intensity, but people still get caught up in the chase, a process that psychologists Philip Brickman and Donald Campbell labeled the hedonic treadmill. No matter how fast you run on this kind of machine, you still don’t get anywhere. And because of adaptation, no matter how good your choices and how pleasurable the results, you still end up back where you started in terms of subjective experience. Perhaps even more insidious than the hedonic treadmill is something that Daniel Kahneman calls the satisfaction treadmill. Suppose that in addition to adapting to particular objects or experiences, you also adapt to particular levels of satisfaction. In other words, suppose that with great ingenuity and effort in making decisions, you manage to keep your “hedonic temperature” at +20 degrees, so that you feel pretty good about life almost all of the time.

But when life is good, adaptation puts us on a “hedonic treadmill,” robbing us of the full measure of satisfaction we expect from each positive experience. We can’t prevent adaptation. What we can do is develop realistic expectations about how experiences change with time. Our challenge is to remember that the high-quality sound system, the luxury car, and the ten-thousand-square-foot house won’t keep providing the pleasure they give when we first experience them. Learning to be satisfied as pleasures turn into mere comforts will ease disappointment with adaptation when it occurs. We can also reduce disappointment from adaptation by following the satisficer’s strategy of spending less time and energy researching and agonizing over decisions. In addition to being aware of the hedonic treadmill, we should also be wary of the “satisfaction treadmill.”


pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely

accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, end world poverty, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, IKEA effect, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, Shai Danziger, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

You will always regret the accident—both physically and as a reminder of how life could have been—but its influence will not be as vivid or as incessant as you originally thought it would be. “Time heals all wounds” precisely because, over time, you will partially adapt to the state of your world. The Hedonic Treadmill By failing to anticipate the extent of our hedonic adaptation, as consumers we routinely escalate our purchases, hoping that new stuff will make us happier. Indeed, a new car feels wonderful, but sadly, the feeling lasts for only a few months. We get used to driving the car, and the buzz wears off. So we look for something else to make us happy: maybe new sunglasses, a computer, or another new car. This cycle, which is what drives us to keep up with the Joneses, is also known as the hedonic treadmill. We look forward to the things that will make us happy, but we don’t realize how short-lived this happiness will be, and when adaptation hits we look for the next new thing.

mismatching of money and need and, 250–51 motivating people to take action and, 252–56 Chat Circles, 225 cheating, 76 childbirth, pain of, 168, 169n children: in growing and preparing of food, 121 parents’ overvaluation of, 97–98 chimpanzees, sense of fairness in, 127 chores, taking breaks in, 177–79, 180 civil liberties, erosion of, 158 Clark, Andrew, 169 climate change, 251–52 closeness, empathy and, 243, 245, 254 clutch abilities, 39–41 CNN, 238 Coates, Dan, 170 cockroaches, social pressure in, 45–46 commercial breaks, enjoyment of television and, 181n comparisons, hedonic adaptation and, 189 compensation, 47 changes in, job satisfaction and, 169–70 see also bonuses completion: employees’ sense of, 77, 79–80 Loewenstein’s analysis of mountaineering and, 80–81 computers, 233 consumer purchases, 185–88 happiness derived from transient experiences vs., 187–88 hedonic treadmill and, 175 placing limits on, 186–87 reducing, 185–86 spacing of, 185, 186 contrafreeloading, 60–63 Jensen’s study of, 60–62, 63 standard economic view at odds with, 62–63 Converse, 95 cooking: children’s involvement in, 121 enjoyment factor and, 62n, 105–6 semi-preprepared food and, 85–88 CO2 emissions, 251–52 counting strategies, 282–83 Count of Monte Cristo, The (Dumas), 123 creation, pride of: ideas and, see Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias self-made goods and, see IKEA effect creativity, bonuses and improvements in, 47–48 Csíkszentmihályi, Mihály, 49 cultures, organizational: acronyms and, 120 Not-Invented-Here bias and, 119–21 customer revenge, 131–51 against airlines, 142–43 apologies and, 149–51, 152 author’s experience with Audi customer service and, 131–36, 137, 147–49, 153–54 distinction between agents and principals and, 144–47 Farmer and Shane’s “Yours Is a Very Bad Hotel” and, 140–41, 146 fictional case study for Harvard Business Review on, 147–49 increase in, 143 Neistat brothers’ video on Apple’s customer service and, 141–42 passage of time and, 151 phone call interruption experiments on, 135–39, 145–46, 150–51 customization, 94–96 of cars, 88, 89, 94 effort expended in, 89, 95–96 overvaluation despite removing possibility of, 96 of shoes, 95, 96 D Dallaire, Roméo, 255 Darfur, 238, 253 Dart Ball game, 23, 34 Darwin, Charles, 157 dating, 191–235 market failures in, 213–15, 216–17, 220–21, 230–32, 233–35 playing hard to get and, 104 standard practice of, 224–25, 227–28 yentas (matchmakers) and, 213 see also assortative mating; online dating; speed dating decision making: author’s medical care and, 284–88 cooling off before, 257, 279 emotions and, 261–77 gender differences and, 274–76 irreversible decisions and, 285, 286 rationalization of choices in, 287 from rational perspective, 5–6 short-term, long-term decisions affected by, 264–65, 270–74, 276–77 stability of strategies for, 261–65; see also self-herding ultimatum game and, 265–70, 275–76 dentistry, adaptation to pain and, 161–62 design, taking people’s physical limitations into account in, 230–32 destroying work in front of workers, 74–76 Dichter, Ernest, 86 disease: adaptation to pain and, 165, 167 preventative health care and, 251, 256 “survivor” rhetoric and, 241–42 Disney, 154 distraction, performance-based incentives and, 30, 36 division of labor, 77–80 IT infrastructure and, 77, 79–80 Marx’s alienation notion and, 79 Smith’s observations on, 77–78 divorce, foreseeing outcome of, 173 Dodson, John, 18–20, 22, 31, 47 do-it-yourself projects, see IKEA effect Donath, Judith, 225 Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 157 Doubletree Club, Houston, 140–41, 146 dreams, author’s self-image in, 182–83 DreamWorks SKG, 154 driving: momentary anger during, 261 safety precautions and, 6–7 texting during, 6, 7, 8 see also cars drop-in-the-bucket effect, 244–45, 252, 254–55 Dumas, Alexandre, 123 E Eastwick, Paul, 172–73 Edison, Thomas, 117–19, 122 effort: increase in value related to, 89, 90, 95–96, 105–6; see also IKEA effect joy derived from activity and, 71–72 meaningful work conditions and, 72 ownership of ideas and, 114–16 see also labor egg theory, 86–88 Eisner, Michael, 154 electric chair, 119 electricity, alternating current (AC) vs. direct current (DC), 117–19 emotional cascades, 265–78 gender differences and, 274–76 romantic relationships and, 277–78 ultimatum game and, 265–76 emotional priming: empathy for plight of others and, 246–48 ultimatum game and, 268–70 emotions, 43, 237–79 appeals to, willingness to help others and, 240–42, 248–50, 253–54, 256 decision making and, 261–77; see also decision making in past, humans’ poor memory of, 264 transience of, 257, 261, 270 see also empathy; negative feelings, acting on empathy: animals’ suffering and, 249, 252 apathy toward statistical victims and, 238–41, 242, 246, 247–49, 252–53 Baby Jessica saga and, 237–38 calculating vs. emotional priming and, 246–48 clear moral principles and, 255 closeness and, 243, 245, 254 drop-in-the-bucket effect and, 244–45, 252, 254–55 emotional appeals and, 240–42, 248–50, 253–54, 256 global warming and, 251–52 identifiable victim effect and, 239–42, 248, 256 overcoming barriers to, 252–56 rules to guide our behavior and, 254–55 thought experiment of drowning girl and, 242–43, 245 toward one person vs. many in need, 237–56 vividness and, 24, 243n, 244, 245 endowment effect, 285, 286 Enron, 216 evolution, mismatch between speed of technological development and, 8–9 experiments, 10–11, 288–95 business or public policy and, 292–94, 295 of Gideon, 288–89 medical practice and, 289–92 rational economists’ criticisms of, 49–51 see also specific topics Exxon Valdez oil spill, 249 F fairness, sense of: in chimpanzees, 127 decision making and, 266–67; see also ultimatum game gender differences and, 275–76 Fallows, James, 158 Farmer, Tom, 140–41, 146, 148–49 FedEx, 108–9 feedback, about work, 74–76 Feeks, John, 118–19 Fehr, Ernst, 125–26 financial incentives: meaning of labor and, 72–73, 76 see also bonuses financial markets, safety measures for, 7 financial meltdown of 2008, 7, 21, 216 chronology of events in, 129–30 desire for revenge in wake of, 128–31 lack of experimental approach to, 293 outraged public reaction to bailout in, 128–29, 130 Finkel, Eli, 172–73 First Knight, 50 fixation, pride in creation and ownership and, 89, 122 food: animals’ preference for working for, 59–63 semi-preprepared, 85–88 shortages of, identifiable victim effect and, 239–41 see also cooking Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 292 Ford, Henry, 78–79, 94 Forgea (white terrier), 249 Fox, Michael J., 254 “Fox and the Grapes, The” (Aesop), 198–99 Frank, Barney, 41 Frankl, Viktor, 45 free food, animals’ preference for working for food vs., 60–62 Frenk, Hanan, 161–65, 300 Friends, ultimatum game and, 269, 270–71, 272 frog experiment, 157–58 Frost, Jeana, 219–20, 229, 300 Fryer, Bronwyn, 148 furniture, do-it-yourself, 83–84, 96, 105, 106 future, foreseeing adaptation to changes in, 160, 171–74 G gardening: children growing food and, 121 enjoyment factor and, 105–6 gender differences: assortative mating and, 209, 211 decision making and, 274–76 pain threshold and tolerance and, 168–69 Gideon, 288–89 global warming, 158, 251–52 Gneezy, Ayelet, 135, 144–45, 150, 300–301 Gneezy, Uri, 21, 44, 301 Gore, Al, 158, 252 government policies, experimental approach to, 292–94, 295 H happiness: comparisons to other people and, 189 consumer purchases and, 175, 185–88 inaccurate predictions about, 170–71 return to baseline of, 170 transient vs. constant experiences and, 187–88 Harvard Business Review (HBR), 147–49 health care, see medical care hedonic adaptation, 160–84 to annoying experiences, 177–79, 180 author’s personal history and, 181–84, 189 blindness and, 172–74 breaking up experiences and, 177–81 changes in workers’ pay and, 169–70 comparisons to other people and, 189 consumer purchases and, 175, 185–88 extending pleasurable experiences and, 176–78, 179–81, 185, 186 in future, foreseeing of, 160, 171–74 happiness baseline and, 170 life-altering injuries and, 171–72, 174 moving to California and, 176 new houses and, 168–69 pain and, 160–67 romantic breakups and, 172–73 to transient vs. constant experiences, 187–88 using our understanding of, 176–81, 184–90 hedonic disruptions, 177–81 hedonic treadmill, 175 Heingartner, Alexander, 45–46 Henry, O., 98 herding, 262 see also self-herding Herman, Edward, 45–46 Hippocrates, 82 Hogerty, Megan, 81 homeostatic mechanisms, 81 Hong, James, 201, 203 HOT or NOT study, 201–5, 208 gender differences in, 209, 211 Meet Me feature and, 204–5, 208, 209 humor, sense of, 199, 200, 207, 208, 228 Hurricane Katrina, 250, 251 I ideas: attachment to, see Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias idiosyncratic fit and, 111–12 identifiable victim effect, 239–42, 248, 256 American Cancer Society and, 241–42 identity, connection between work and, 53–55, 79 idiosyncratic fit, ideas and, 111–12 ignoring workers, 74–76 IKEA, 83–84, 106 IKEA effect, 83–106 author’s creations in rehabilitation center and, 100–101 completion of project and, 101–4, 105 do-it-yourself furniture and, 83–84, 96, 106 effort expended and, 89, 90, 95–96, 105–6 four principles in, 104–5 and lack of awareness of overvaluation, 99 Legos experiment and, 96, 97 Local Motors cars and, 88, 89 Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias and, 109–10, 121 origami experiments and, 91–94, 97, 98–99, 102–4 parents’ overvaluation of their children and, 97–98 practical implications of, 121–22 relaxation notion and, 105–6 removal of individual customization and, 96 semi-preprepared food and, 85–88 shoe design and, 95, 96 immediate gratification, 5 Inconvenient Truth, An, 252 initiation into social groups, 89 injuries: association of pain with getting better after, 166–67 author’s dating prospects and, 191–96, 210–11 author’s decisions about his medical care and, 284–88 author’s personal history related to, 1–4, 13, 107, 160–62, 166–67, 181–84, 189, 191–96, 210–11, 281–88 battlefield vs. civilian, 167 foreseeing future after, 160 life-altering, adaptation to, 160, 171–72, 174 pain thresholds and tolerance related to severity of, 161–65 Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, 126–27 insurance products, 233–34 interruptions: in pleasant vs. painful experiences, 177–81 TV commercials and, 181n see also phone call interruption experiments intuitions: bonuses and, 36–37 received medical wisdom and, 289–92 romantic, 172–73 testing of, 10n, 288–95 inverse-U relationship, defined, 19 iPods and iPhones, battery replacement in, 141–42 irrationality: summary of findings on, 288 upside as well as downside of, 11–12, 294 irreversible decisions, 285, 286 IT infrastructure, division and meaning of labor and, 77, 79–80 J Janoff-Bulman, Ronnie, 170 Jensen, Glen, 60–62, 63 Jensen, Keith, 127 Jewish tradition, 254–55 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, 152 Joyless Economy, The (Scitovsky), 188 justice, see fairness, sense of K Kahneman, Danny, 32n, 175–76 Kamenica, Emir, 66, 301 Katzenberg, Jeffrey, 154 Kemmler, William, 119 kinship, empathy and, 243 Krishnamurti, Tamar, 172–73 Krzyzewski, Mike, 39 L labor: connection between identity and, 53–55, 79 contrafreeloading and, 60–63 economic model of, 55, 62–63, 105 financial incentives and, see bonuses meaning of, see meaning of labor overvaluation resulting from, see IKEA effect on projects without meaning, 56–57, 63–72 Labyrinth game, 23 Lee, Leonard, 132, 134, 197, 201–2, 301–2 Lee, Sandra, 87–88 leeches, medicinal use of, 290–91 Legos experiments: on IKEA effect, 96, 97 on reducing meaningfulness of work, 66–74, 77, 80 letter-pairs experiment, 74–76, 80 life-altering events, hedonic adaptation and, 170 Life as a House, ultimatum game and, 268, 269, 270, 272, 276 light, adaptation to changes in, 159 Local Motors, Inc., 88, 89 Loewenstein, George, 21, 44, 80–81, 172–73, 197, 201–2, 239–41, 246–48, 302 long-term objectives, short-term enjoyments vs., 4–5 loss aversion, 32–33, 285, 286 lottery winners, hedonic adaptation of, 170, 171 “Love the One You’re With,” 197, 211–12 M malaria, 250, 251 Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl), 45 marketing, adaptation and, 158 market mechanisms, 215–16 dating and, 213–15, 216–17, 220–21, 230–32, 233–35 Marx, Karl, 79 massages, extending pleasure of, 179–80 matchmakers (yentas), 213 Mazar, Nina, 21, 30, 44, 302 McClure, Jessica (Baby Jessica), 237–38 meals, see cooking meaning of labor, 53–82 in acknowledged, ignored, and shredded conditions, 74–76 animals’ preference for working for food and, 59–63 blogging and, 65 division of labor and, 77–80 draining work of meaning and, 55–57, 63–77 financial incentives and, 72–73, 76 joy derived from activity and, 71–72 labor-identity connection and, 53–55, 79 Legos experiment and, 66–74, 76, 80 lessons for workplace on, 80–82 letter-pairs experiment and, 74–76, 80 “meaning” vs.

., 60–62 Frenk, Hanan, 161–65, 300 Friends, ultimatum game and, 269, 270–71, 272 frog experiment, 157–58 Frost, Jeana, 219–20, 229, 300 Fryer, Bronwyn, 148 furniture, do-it-yourself, 83–84, 96, 105, 106 future, foreseeing adaptation to changes in, 160, 171–74 G gardening: children growing food and, 121 enjoyment factor and, 105–6 gender differences: assortative mating and, 209, 211 decision making and, 274–76 pain threshold and tolerance and, 168–69 Gideon, 288–89 global warming, 158, 251–52 Gneezy, Ayelet, 135, 144–45, 150, 300–301 Gneezy, Uri, 21, 44, 301 Gore, Al, 158, 252 government policies, experimental approach to, 292–94, 295 H happiness: comparisons to other people and, 189 consumer purchases and, 175, 185–88 inaccurate predictions about, 170–71 return to baseline of, 170 transient vs. constant experiences and, 187–88 Harvard Business Review (HBR), 147–49 health care, see medical care hedonic adaptation, 160–84 to annoying experiences, 177–79, 180 author’s personal history and, 181–84, 189 blindness and, 172–74 breaking up experiences and, 177–81 changes in workers’ pay and, 169–70 comparisons to other people and, 189 consumer purchases and, 175, 185–88 extending pleasurable experiences and, 176–78, 179–81, 185, 186 in future, foreseeing of, 160, 171–74 happiness baseline and, 170 life-altering injuries and, 171–72, 174 moving to California and, 176 new houses and, 168–69 pain and, 160–67 romantic breakups and, 172–73 to transient vs. constant experiences, 187–88 using our understanding of, 176–81, 184–90 hedonic disruptions, 177–81 hedonic treadmill, 175 Heingartner, Alexander, 45–46 Henry, O., 98 herding, 262 see also self-herding Herman, Edward, 45–46 Hippocrates, 82 Hogerty, Megan, 81 homeostatic mechanisms, 81 Hong, James, 201, 203 HOT or NOT study, 201–5, 208 gender differences in, 209, 211 Meet Me feature and, 204–5, 208, 209 humor, sense of, 199, 200, 207, 208, 228 Hurricane Katrina, 250, 251 I ideas: attachment to, see Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias idiosyncratic fit and, 111–12 identifiable victim effect, 239–42, 248, 256 American Cancer Society and, 241–42 identity, connection between work and, 53–55, 79 idiosyncratic fit, ideas and, 111–12 ignoring workers, 74–76 IKEA, 83–84, 106 IKEA effect, 83–106 author’s creations in rehabilitation center and, 100–101 completion of project and, 101–4, 105 do-it-yourself furniture and, 83–84, 96, 106 effort expended and, 89, 90, 95–96, 105–6 four principles in, 104–5 and lack of awareness of overvaluation, 99 Legos experiment and, 96, 97 Local Motors cars and, 88, 89 Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias and, 109–10, 121 origami experiments and, 91–94, 97, 98–99, 102–4 parents’ overvaluation of their children and, 97–98 practical implications of, 121–22 relaxation notion and, 105–6 removal of individual customization and, 96 semi-preprepared food and, 85–88 shoe design and, 95, 96 immediate gratification, 5 Inconvenient Truth, An, 252 initiation into social groups, 89 injuries: association of pain with getting better after, 166–67 author’s dating prospects and, 191–96, 210–11 author’s decisions about his medical care and, 284–88 author’s personal history related to, 1–4, 13, 107, 160–62, 166–67, 181–84, 189, 191–96, 210–11, 281–88 battlefield vs. civilian, 167 foreseeing future after, 160 life-altering, adaptation to, 160, 171–72, 174 pain thresholds and tolerance related to severity of, 161–65 Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, 126–27 insurance products, 233–34 interruptions: in pleasant vs. painful experiences, 177–81 TV commercials and, 181n see also phone call interruption experiments intuitions: bonuses and, 36–37 received medical wisdom and, 289–92 romantic, 172–73 testing of, 10n, 288–95 inverse-U relationship, defined, 19 iPods and iPhones, battery replacement in, 141–42 irrationality: summary of findings on, 288 upside as well as downside of, 11–12, 294 irreversible decisions, 285, 286 IT infrastructure, division and meaning of labor and, 77, 79–80 J Janoff-Bulman, Ronnie, 170 Jensen, Glen, 60–62, 63 Jensen, Keith, 127 Jewish tradition, 254–55 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, 152 Joyless Economy, The (Scitovsky), 188 justice, see fairness, sense of K Kahneman, Danny, 32n, 175–76 Kamenica, Emir, 66, 301 Katzenberg, Jeffrey, 154 Kemmler, William, 119 kinship, empathy and, 243 Krishnamurti, Tamar, 172–73 Krzyzewski, Mike, 39 L labor: connection between identity and, 53–55, 79 contrafreeloading and, 60–63 economic model of, 55, 62–63, 105 financial incentives and, see bonuses meaning of, see meaning of labor overvaluation resulting from, see IKEA effect on projects without meaning, 56–57, 63–72 Labyrinth game, 23 Lee, Leonard, 132, 134, 197, 201–2, 301–2 Lee, Sandra, 87–88 leeches, medicinal use of, 290–91 Legos experiments: on IKEA effect, 96, 97 on reducing meaningfulness of work, 66–74, 77, 80 letter-pairs experiment, 74–76, 80 life-altering events, hedonic adaptation and, 170 Life as a House, ultimatum game and, 268, 269, 270, 272, 276 light, adaptation to changes in, 159 Local Motors, Inc., 88, 89 Loewenstein, George, 21, 44, 80–81, 172–73, 197, 201–2, 239–41, 246–48, 302 long-term objectives, short-term enjoyments vs., 4–5 loss aversion, 32–33, 285, 286 lottery winners, hedonic adaptation of, 170, 171 “Love the One You’re With,” 197, 211–12 M malaria, 250, 251 Man’s Search for Meaning (Frankl), 45 marketing, adaptation and, 158 market mechanisms, 215–16 dating and, 213–15, 216–17, 220–21, 230–32, 233–35 Marx, Karl, 79 massages, extending pleasure of, 179–80 matchmakers (yentas), 213 Mazar, Nina, 21, 30, 44, 302 McClure, Jessica (Baby Jessica), 237–38 meals, see cooking meaning of labor, 53–82 in acknowledged, ignored, and shredded conditions, 74–76 animals’ preference for working for food and, 59–63 blogging and, 65 division of labor and, 77–80 draining work of meaning and, 55–57, 63–77 financial incentives and, 72–73, 76 joy derived from activity and, 71–72 labor-identity connection and, 53–55, 79 Legos experiment and, 66–74, 76, 80 lessons for workplace on, 80–82 letter-pairs experiment and, 74–76, 80 “meaning” vs.


pages: 287 words: 80,050

The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less by Emrys Westacott

Airbnb, back-to-the-land, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bonfire of the Vanities, carbon footprint, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, Diane Coyle, discovery of DNA, Downton Abbey, dumpster diving, financial independence, full employment, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, McMansion, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, negative equity, New Urbanism, paradox of thrift, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, the market place, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, Veblen good, Zipcar

See also acquisitiveness Green, Hetty, 49–50 Grice, Paul, 60 gross domestic product (GDP), 217–21 Gross National Happiness Index, 219 Habermas, Jürgen, 60, 247 Handel, George Frideric, 118 happiness: and acquisitiveness, 156–57; and basic needs, 87–99, 156–57; difficulty of measuring, 211; and economic prosperity, 216–24; and GDP, 218–21; and income, 222–24; and inequality, 151–52, 223–24; and simple living, 73–135; and virtue, 74–76; and wealth, 148, 152–55 happiness-income paradox, 220–21, 223 hardiness, 31, 275–76 Hardy, Thomas, 118 Heaney, Seamus, 118 hedonic adaptation, 112–16. See also hedonic treadmill hedonic treadmill, 99, 205. See also hedonic adaptation Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 125 Heidegger, Martin, 129 Heidorn, Keith, 256 Hesiod, 79, 207 higher education: cost and value of, 167, 245 Hilton, Paris, 168 Hinduism, 31 homelessness, 232–33 Homer, 118, 147 homes: size of, 232 Honoré, Carl, 213 house prices, 244–45 Howard, Henry, 100 Human Development Index, 219 Hume, David, 136, 159, 177 inauthenticity, 170–71 independence.

It offers a useful perspective, a reminder that prods us into reflecting on the way we live with an eye to identifying wants and habits that are foolish, wasteful, unnecessary, or inauthentic. The truly valuable idea it contains is that the key ingredients for happiness are usually within easy reach for those of us not mired in awful circumstances. When we fail to realize this, we assume that happiness lies in the acquisition of what we do not already have. This is the mistake that leads us to step off the path toward contentment and onto the hedonic treadmill. SIMPLE LIVING PROMOTES SERENITY THROUGH DETACHMENT This argument is closely tied to the one just considered; indeed, the two are interdependent. Satisfying one’s basic needs will suffice provided one embraces a certain conception of happiness in which peace of mind is given paramount importance. It will not be sufficient if one’s notion of the good life has to include such things as country club membership, gourmet dining, paragliding, and round-the-world cruises, or full-blooded involvement in complex and demanding enterprises like political campaigns, business ventures, or large-scale theatrical productions.

Consequently, the lure of all these purchasable pleasures is now a powerful force pulling us toward busier lives centered on earning and spending. As Joanne Ciulla notes in The Working Life, “consumption creates a need to work even when the desire to work is weak. . . . The market tempts people with more leisure options than they can afford or have time to enjoy.”1 As a result, people can easily find themselves alternating between various treadmills: the hedonic treadmill of pursuing happiness, the status treadmill requiring conspicuous consumption, and the treadmill of work undertaken to finance one’s activity on the other two treadmills. Paradoxically, then, some of the same factors that have diminished the appeal of frugality and simplicity are also responsible for regenerating interest in the ideals of simple living. While many find the dynamism of modern times exciting, many others find it threatening, confusing, or exhausting.


pages: 361 words: 111,500

Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, call centre, cuban missile crisis, Exxon Valdez, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, indoor plumbing, Mikhail Gorbachev, place-making, Pluto: dwarf planet, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Transnistria, union organizing

Brickman surmised that, in the case of the lottery winners, they now derived significantly less pleasure from ordinary events like buying clothes or talking to a friend. What was once enjoyable was no longer so. Psychologists call this the “hedonic treadmill.” Much like a regular treadmill, the hedonic treadmill makes you sweat and should be avoided at all costs. Unlike a regular treadmill, however, the hedonic variety is definitely not good for your health. It will drive you nuts, this infinite cycle of pleasure and adaptation. Interestingly, there are two notable exceptions to the hedonic treadmill. Noise and big breasts. Studies have found that we never really get used to loud noises, despite prolonged exposure. Another study found that women who get breast implants never tire of the enjoyment it brings them, and presumably their companions feel the same.

It would point to other reasons for her misery besides the obvious monetary ones: the loss of camaraderie at work, for instance, or the fact that she hardly sees her children. It is these relationships that account for a large chunk of our happiness, and they have little to do with money. Something wasn’t right though. That golden rule of positive psychology, hedonic adaptation, states that no matter what tragedy or good fortune befalls us, we adapt. We return to our “set point” or close enough anyway. It’s been fifteen years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Why hasn’t Luba adapted? I think it comes back to culture. That sea we swim in. Drain it, as happened in Moldova, and we can’t breathe. We lose our bearings, and hedonic adaptation is short-circuited. Luba lives in a sort of Russian shadow land. It is Russia, but it’s not. The ethnic Moldovans live in their own shadow land. Romanians, but not. Charles King, author of one of the few books about Moldova, calls this place a “stipulated nation.”

I’ve tucked Abdulaziz’s business card into my breast pocket, alongside my Ridiculously Expensive Pen. The intense pleasure I derive from the pen—the way it rests in my palm perfectly, the way it glides across the page as if riding a cushion of air—will, according to Ruut Veenhoven and the other happiness experts, diminish over time. I will crave a better, more expensive pen, as I fall prey to the hedonic treadmill. The experts were dead wrong. I enjoyed the pen for as long as I owned it. Which was exactly nine days. That’s when I lost it, in a taxi in New York. Or maybe transiting at Heathrow Airport. That’s not the point. The point is: It’s gone. My first and only Ridiculously Expensive Pen, gone forever. And while at times I pine for my lost Lavin, I know in my heart that its joys were illusory, a mirage in the desert.


pages: 277 words: 79,360

The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 by Jonathan Rauch

endowment effect, experimental subject, Google bus, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income per capita, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Richard Thaler, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

If you grow but everyone in your comparison group grows by the same amount, you won’t feel taller. And if others grow and you don’t, you’ll feel shorter, even though you haven’t shrunk a millimeter. In fact, if everyone was frantically busy working to get richer, the result might be to put everyone in competition with everyone else, resulting in a society stuck on what happiness economists call a hedonic treadmill. The Easterlin Paradox (as it came to be known) had the potential to revolutionize economics. It challenged the hegemony of revealed preferences and material metrics. If economists cared about making people better off, not just materially but in a deeper, life-savoring sense, then revealed preferences might be painting an incomplete or even misleading picture. To fill in the gaps, economists might need to resort to subjective measures.

From the point of view of the rider trying to appreciate what he or she has accomplished or accumulated in life, it is not so good. “When we combine the adaptation principle with the discovery that people’s average level of happiness is highly heritable,” writes Haidt, “we come to a startling possibility: In the long run, it doesn’t much matter what happens to you. If this idea is correct, then we are all stuck on what has been called the ‘hedonic treadmill.’ … We continue to strive, all the while doing things that help us win at the game of life. Always wanting more than we have, we run and run and run, like hamsters on a wheel.” To all of which, add the phenomenon we encountered in chapter 2: the social-competition treadmill. Haidt describes it: The elephant was shaped by natural selection to win at the game of life, and part of its strategy is to impress others, gain their admiration, and rise in relative rank.

I was certain in youth that I would be better off objectively by middle age. That forecast was accurate. My conditions improved. But I also made another youthful forecast: that my satisfaction would keep pace with my accomplishments. That forecast was off. Yes, I was appreciative, but nowhere near as appreciative as I had believed I would or should be. The closing of the optimism gap, plus upward social comparison, plus the hedonic treadmill and my elephant’s other tricks to keep contentment out of reach: all of those things, as the years ticked by, conspired to create a sense of disappointment which I couldn’t shake by force of will. And that was disappointing. In my forties, caught in the feedback loop, I was stumped and stuck. * * * If Cole were painting his Voyage of Life today, he would need to add a fifth painting, one between Manhood and Old Age—but I’ll come back to that.


pages: 245 words: 64,288

Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy by Pistono, Federico

3D printing, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, future of work, George Santayana, global village, Google Chrome, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, illegal immigration, income inequality, information retrieval, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, longitudinal study, means of production, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, patent troll, pattern recognition, peak oil, post scarcity, QR code, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Rodney Brooks, selection bias, self-driving car, slashdot, smart cities, software as a service, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, women in the workforce

If you start giving a present every month to your partner, they will make a habit out of that, and create an expectation, which will then result in less happiness, and plain dissatisfaction when the present does not come, or when it feels cheap, not genuine. The unexpected nature of the act makes it more powerful, the less they expect it, the greater the effect will be. Cultivate new experiences Following the same line as the previous point, trying new things will help you step down from the hedonic treadmill and hedonic adaptation trap. Again, they do not have to be big. If you are right handed, try brushing your teeth with your left hand. Going back home tonight, take a route you have never taken before. Taste a food you have never heard of. Try a new sport. Remember, do not exaggerate any of this advice. Compulsively switching from one thing to another without taking a breath will not do you much good.

Possibly more useful are studies that point to the need to focus policy more directly on urgent personal concerns relating to such things as health and family life and to the formation of material preferences, rather than on the mere escalation of material goods.” A possible explanation of the Easterlin paradox comes from a feature of cognitive behaviour that researchers call adaptation. If you improve your standard of living, you quickly adapt to it, it becomes the norm, and your expectations rise along with it. This leads to the so-called hedonic treadmill. Imagine you are on a treadmill, and you wish to reach your ultimate goal – happiness, which sits just in front of you. As you begin to walk, so does the treadmill, at the same speed as you. In fact, you are causing the treadmill to move! You might be getting some small rewards along the way, but you forget about them soon after you receive them, because your real goal still sits there. So you speed up the pace, and start running.

We know that we are very bad at predicting our future happiness, as we tend to overestimate the effect that supposedly major events will have in the long term. We know that the memories of our experiences are distorted by our mind, and that we can be easily fooled. We know that we adapt to almost anything, except very few things (noise, cosmetic surgery158). We know that it is hard to step off the hedonic treadmill. We know that happiness is relative, as we tend to compare ourselves with those around us. We know that income does matter for our life satisfaction (in a log scale), but only up to a certain level for our emotional happiness (about $75,000). Most importantly, we know that being employed is crucial to our general well-being. If working is so important, and we are about to experience massive unemployment, then we are in for some very big problems.


pages: 231 words: 76,283

Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way by Tanja Hester

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, anti-work, asset allocation, barriers to entry, buy and hold, crowdsourcing, diversification, estate planning, financial independence, full employment, gig economy, hedonic treadmill, high net worth, index fund, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, medical bankruptcy, mortgage debt, obamacare, passive income, post-work, remote working, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, stocks for the long run, Vanguard fund

Only a third of people in the US follow a detailed budget, while two-thirds don’t budget or track their spending closely, nor do they follow a big-picture financial plan.1 Lifestyle inflation is a phenomenon that affects people at all income levels and is the result of a psychological phenomenon called hedonic adaptation, which is the tendency we all have to adapt quickly to changes in our lives and return to a baseline level of happiness, regardless of how many good or bad things may happen. Put in purchasing terms, it means that if we set our sights on a new car because we think that will make us happier in some way, we may get an initial happiness boost from buying it, but pretty soon, we’re no happier with the car than we would have been without it—though we’re definitely shorter on cash as a result. Financial experts talk about this as the hedonic treadmill, or the idea that we are always running toward something—usually material things we wish to buy—but never making real forward progress in terms of happiness.

The best way to guarantee your success at saving the money you want to save is, first, to make up your mind that you’re going to save more money. Just as you’re rewriting your personal narrative to include your life’s top priorities, expand it to include the fact that you are someone who saves money, even if that’s an entirely new concept in your financial life. It’s never too late to change. And if the concepts of lifestyle inflation and the hedonic treadmill resonate with you, write into your new narrative that not only are you a person who saves, you’re also someone who avoids chasing temporary happiness or status with your spending. And second, give your money a mission statement that ensures it does exactly what you want it to do. When it comes to sticking to financial goals, simple is virtually always better. The more you can simplify your decision-making, the less you rely on your limited stores of willpower when mulling over whether to buy something.

Just as you did in chapter 2, write down your answers so that you can identify common themes, and if you have a partner, make sure to engage them and answer these questions as a team. • What is the single best thing you’ve ever spent money on? You might immediately know the answer to this, but if you don’t, go back to the happiest memory you identified in chapter 2. What were you doing? What did it cost? How has spending that money brought you a lasting happiness boost and not just a quick dopamine rush before you returned to the hedonic treadmill? Did spending that money make your life easier in some way? More fun? More interesting? Did it give you memories that you treasure? How, specifically, did that spending benefit you? • What ongoing expenditure makes you happiest? Of all the money you spend regularly, what portion of that gives you the biggest ongoing happiness boost? What about it makes you happy? How does it improve your life?


pages: 405 words: 130,840

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt

coherent worldview, crack epidemic, delayed gratification, feminist movement, hedonic treadmill, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Singer: altruism, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Waldo Emerson, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, stem cell, telemarketer, the scientific method, twin studies, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

In 1 7 5 9 , long before a n y o n e knew a b o u t g e n e s , A d a m Smith reached the s a m e conclusion: % In every permanent situation, where there is no expectation of change, the mind of every man, in a longer or shorter time, returns to its natural and usual state of tranquility. In prosperity, after a certain time, it falls back to that state; in adversity, after a certain time, it rises up to it.12 If this idea is correct, then we are all stuck on what has been called the "hedonic treadmill."13 On an exercise treadmill you can increase the speed all you want, but you stay in the s a m e place. In life, you can work as hard as you want, and accumulate all the riches, fruit trees, and concubines you want, but you can't get ahead. B e c a u s e you can't change your "natural and usual state of tranquility," the riches you a c c u m u l a t e will just raise your expectations and leave you no better off than you were before.

T h e rich are happier on average than the middle class, but only by a little, and part of this relationship is reverse correlation: H a p p y p e o p l e grow rich faster because, as in the marriage market, they are more appealing to others (such as bosses), and also b e c a u s e their frequent positive emotions help them to commit to projects, to work hard, and to invest in their futures.27 Wealth itself has only a small direct effect on happiness be-c a u s e it so effectively speeds up the hedonic treadmill. For example, as the level of wealth has doubled or tripled in the last fifty years in m a n y indus-trialized nations, the levels of h a p p i n e s s and satisfaction with life that people report have not changed, and depression has actually b e c o m e more c o m m o n . 2 8 Vast increases in gross domestic product led to improvements in the comforts of life—a larger home, more cars, televisions, and restaurant meals, better health and longer life—but these improvements b e c a m e the normal conditions of life; all were adapted to and taken for granted, so they did not make people feel any happier or more satisfied.

like and dislike, 26-28, 78 Gossip, 52-55, 60 love, 170, 197-199, 2 1 9 - 2 2 0 , 223, Group selection, 230—235, 237 225, 2 3 4 - 2 3 5 Gut feelings, 5—6, 64 pleasure and gratification, 83, 9 6 - 9 7 , 143, 161 Hamer, Dean, 234 See also Happiness; Morality and Happiness moral emotions and affective style, 26—44 Epictetus, 81, 82, 87, 8 9 - 9 2 , 223 and altruism, 173—175 Epicurus, 130, 155, 158, 161 pursuit of, 8 1 - 1 0 6 Happiness ( continued) Kant, Immanuel, 161—163, 200 and search for meaning, Kasser, Tim, 145 2 1 3 - 2 3 9 Keeping Together in Time and social relationships, 133—134 (McNeill), 237 and "vertical coherence" of Keillor, Garrison, 66 goals, 145 Keltner, Dacher, 202 and virtue, 156-158 Kerry, John, 208 Happiness formula, 9 0 - 9 4 , 2 19 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 229 Harlow, Harry, 109-1 13, 1 15, 1 18, King, Rodney, 74 131, 205 Klein, Melanie, 1 12 Hawking, Stephen, 85 Kohn, Melvin, 221 Hazen, Cindy, 1 18 Koran, x Hedonic treadmill, 86, 89 Kramer, Peter, 41 Heraclitus, 241 Kuhn, Deanna, 64 Heredity and behavior, 32—33, 86, 90, 1 17 Langer, Ellen, 93 Hillel, 45 Language, 15-16, 5 3 - 5 4 , 2 0 7 Hinde, Robert, 112-113 L a o T z u , 37, 101, 105 Hinduism, 128-129, 135, 140, 145, Laws of Manu, The, 1 2 8 , 1 8 8 171, 188-190, 228, 236 Leary, Mark, 2 0 6 - 2 0 7 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Leary, Timothy, 201 The, 216 Le Conte, Joseph, 1 92 Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr., 105 Lerner, Mel, 1 4 5 - 1 4 6 Horn, Holly, 54, 178 Library of Babel ( B o r g e s ) , ix Homer, 129, 160 Life stories, 142-144, 150-151, Hume, David, 1 7 2 0 7 , 2 2 6 Hunter, James, 1 76 Like and dislike, 2 6 - 2 8 , 78 Hypocrisy, xi, 55, 59-80, 130-132, 165 Limbaugh, Rush, 59 Listening to Prozac ( K r a m e r ) , 41 Imp of the Perverse (Poe), 19 Loewenstein, George, 69—70, 79 India, x, 103-104, 140, 188-189, 210, Lorenz, Konrad, 112—113 2 2 7 - 2 2 8 Love, xii, 45, .107-134, 2 1 9 - 2 2 0 , Influence (Cialdini), 49 223, 2 3 8 - 2 3 9 Isen, Alice, 173, 196 Christian, 130-131 familial, 1 1 1 - 1 1 7 James, William, 2 0 3 - 2 0 4 , 2 3 5 - 2 3 6 romantic, 118-127, 132 Jefferson, Thomas, 194-196, 205 See also Agape (emotional state) Jesus, 62, 79, 130, 173, 208 L S D .


pages: 221 words: 64,080

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon

AltaVista, Atul Gawande, business cycle, commoditize, creative destruction, hedonic treadmill, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, young professional

As the winners recalibrated their happiness levels, many of the activities they had previously enjoyed (such as reading or sitting down to a good meal) became less pleasurable over time, such that within a few months, the wealthy winners reported being no happier than they had been before hitting the jackpot. Brickman cal ed this adaptational phenomenon the “hedonic treadmil ;” the term was dead on in describing the human predisposition to feel entitled to today what we used to feel thankful for yesterday. What’s amusing about so many of the studies on hedonic adaptation is that they demonstrate the extent to which our propensity to become spoiled is, from an evolutionary perspective, practical y a foregone conclusion. For example, in another study, Daniel Kahneman (a social psychologist and Nobel laureate) and his col eague Jackie Snel confirmed what most of us intuitively know—that if you give people a treat too often, they become less appreciative of it over time.


pages: 249 words: 77,342

The Behavioral Investor by Daniel Crosby

affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, availability heuristic, backtesting, bank run, Black Swan, buy and hold, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, endowment effect, feminist movement, Flash crash, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, housing crisis, IKEA effect, impulse control, index fund, Isaac Newton, job automation, longitudinal study, loss aversion, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, Nate Silver, neurotypical, passive investing, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, science of happiness, Shai Danziger, short selling, South Sea Bubble, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, stocks for the long run, Thales of Miletus, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

As Jason Zweig says of this concept, “By the time you pocket the money the thrill of greed has faded into something that resembles a neurological yawn – even though you got the gains you wanted. Making money feels good, all right; it just doesn’t feel as good as expecting to make money.”17 If left unchecked, our natural mental processes are a formula for dissatisfaction. We long for wealth but when we get it, the appeal of what we’d so long hoped for quickly dissipates. Psychologists refer to this Sisyphussian struggle as the “hedonic treadmill” and it is what leads us to try, and fail, to keep up with the Joneses. We’re all familiar with the term “keeping up with the Joneses,” but it’s doubtful that we understand just how deeply ingrained this is in our concept of success and how the neurological processes we’ve touched on here contribute to it. Each year, a Gallup poll asks Americans to determine “What is the smallest amount of money a family of four needs to get along in this community?”

Your brain (150,000 years old) is much older than the markets (400 years old) it seeks to navigate. Your brain takes up just 2% to 3% of your body weight, but consumes 25% of your energy. Humans are wired to act; markets tend to reward inaction. The importance of money seems to diminish, not improve, decision-making. Our early experiences in capital markets imprint on our brain in ways that tend to be lasting. Hedonic adaptation is the process by which increases in wealth are matched pound-for-pound by increases in expectations. The anticipation of reward releases a flood of dopamine, which primes us to become sloppy and undisciplined; success begets failure. Notes 10 Jason Zweig, Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich (Simon & Schuster, 2008), p. 62. 11 Lisa Kramer, ‘Does the caveman within tell you how to invest?’


pages: 523 words: 111,615

The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as if the Future Matters by Diane Coyle

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bonus culture, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Diane Coyle, different worldview, disintermediation, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Financial Instability Hypothesis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, Hyman Minsky, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, light touch regulation, low skilled workers, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, megacity, Network effects, new economy, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, principal–agent problem, profit motive, purchasing power parity, railway mania, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Pinker, The Design of Experiments, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Market for Lemons, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, transaction costs, transfer pricing, tulip mania, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, web application, web of trust, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

One is that people usually adapt to changes in their circumstances to become pretty much just as happy as they were; this is true of certain positive events such as winning a lot of money and of some negative ones such as becoming badly disabled by an accident. A second and related explanation is that because people quickly get used to better circumstances, they need more and more income just to sustain their happiness—it’s called the “hedonic treadmill.”27 Richard Layard writes: “I grew up without central heating. It was fine. Sometimes I had to huddle over a fire or put my feet into a bowl of hot water, but my mood was good. When I was forty, I got central heating. Now I would feel really miserable if I had to fight the cold as I once did. In fact, I have become addicted to central heating.”28 Together, adaptation and the hedonic treadmill seem good explanations of why at any point in time rich people are happier than poor people, yet over time higher incomes don’t raise happiness. Some of the happiness authors have concluded that government policy should stop seeking to achieve economic growth, as it doesn’t make people any happier.

The rat race means that like caged guinea pigs scrabbling around their wheel, we keep running to earn and spend more without making any progress in terms of happiness. However, this kind of policy conclusion has been strongly challenged by other researchers. In his book The Idea of Justice Amartya Sen agrees that people’s happiness depends on their expectations, which are shaped by their own social situation.37 But he turns the argument about adaptation and the hedonic treadmill back on the happiness crowd: if we just aim for people to be happy with their lot, where is the social discontent that will create the momentum for a better life? Would women have ever gained the vote if many had not been unhappy? Would there have been a civil rights movement without discontent? Is poverty acceptable because poor people say they are pretty content? Obviously not; most people would agree the world with the discontent and change was better than the contented and static one.38 Other researchers, looking at the wider array of explanations as to what makes us happy, argue that strong growth is desirable because it keeps employment high, and this is important for happiness.

Whether we are happy depends on inner harmony, not on the controls we are able to exert over the great forces of the universe.”42 Most people are somewhat happy most of the time, no matter where they live or what their conditions are, although with some cultural variation, and the differences reported in the surveys used in the economic research described earlier should be seen in this light.43 The explanation lies in the process of adaptation, the hedonic treadmill. It moderates or limits the psychological highs and lows that the vagaries of experience would otherwise impose on us. “Just as it acts as an emotional ceiling that keeps us from experiencing non-stop joy, it also protects us from being dragged into the emotional pits.”44 Adaptation is a marker of human psychological resilience; it is a desirable characteristic. It can be kept at bay to some extent.


pages: 358 words: 95,115

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

affirmative action, Columbine, delayed gratification, desegregation, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, index card, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, theory of mind

But when our lives are blessed, and things are going well, there seems something morally decrepit in how we so easily overlook how good we have it. In the last forty years, a lot of cracks have been discovered in Brickman and Campbell’s theory of the hedonic treadmill. First, while most people might have a happiness set point, it’s not a flat neutral—it’s actually a fairly positive state. Around the world, 80 percent of people report being quite happy or very happy. Also, while paraplegics and lottery winners might return to their baseline, other classes of people (on average) never quite recover—such as widows, divorcees, and the long-term unemployed. Emmons’ work was yet another crack in the hedonic treadmill theory. Effectively, he demonstrated that our default wiring can be consciously tricked; by forcing college students to pay attention to the bounty in their everyday lives, he got them to escape the perception-trap of the treadmill.

But until Emmons’ research, we couldn’t really say whether gratitude triggered well-being, or whether gratitude was merely the by-product of well-being. Certainly the two rise and fall together, but Emmons showed that gratitude could be enhanced, independently, and greater well-being would result. By itself, this wasn’t exactly extraordinary, but in the context of happiness theories, it was significant. Back in 1971, two scholars, Philip Brickman and Donald Campbell, described the human condition as a “hedonic treadmill.” Essentially, we have to keep working hard just to stay in the same relative place in society. Even when our situation improves, the sense of achievement is only temporary, because our hedonistic desires and expectations rise at the same rate as our circumstances. Brickman and Campbell noted that lottery winners are not any happier, long-term, than non-winners, and paraplegics are not less happy than those of us with all our limbs.

Meaning, even if he couldn’t change the amount of kids’ gratitude the way Emmons had, Froh still expected that some kids would feel a lot of gratitude, and others less or none at all. And he figured that kids who felt very grateful and appreciative would be spared from the brunt of troubled moods. It should protect them. But the data from his multiple studies didn’t support this. Kids high in gratitude suffered storms of emotion just as commonly as the kids low in gratitude. At that point, Froh’s thinking was sparked by a few scholars who were rethinking the hedonic treadmill. “They argued that happiness is not a unitary construct,” Froh explained. “You can feel good and have well-being, but still be nervous, still be stressed. You can feel better overall, but the daily stressors haven’t necessarily gone away. For a scholar, this means that when you measure for positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction, they won’t all move in the same direction.” Froh looked very carefully at each band of data measuring the kids’ emotions during the second study.


pages: 519 words: 118,095

Your Money: The Missing Manual by J.D. Roth

Airbnb, asset allocation, bank run, buy and hold, buy low sell high, car-free, Community Supported Agriculture, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, Firefox, fixed income, full employment, hedonic treadmill, Home mortgage interest deduction, index card, index fund, late fees, mortgage tax deduction, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, Paul Graham, random walk, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, speech recognition, stocks for the long run, traveling salesman, Vanguard fund, web application, Zipcar

, so you spend more. All that new Stuff costs money to buy, store, and maintain. Gradually, your lifestyle becomes more expensive so you have to work harder to earn more. You think that if only you got another raise, then you'd have Enough. But in all likelihood, you'd just repeat the process by spending even more. Psychologists call this vicious cycle the hedonic treadmill, though you probably know it as the "rat race." People on the hedonic treadmill think they'd be happy if they just had a little more money. But when they get more money, they discover something else they want. Because they're never content with what they have, they can never have Enough. Most Americans are stuck on this treadmill. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (http://tinyurl.com/census-inc), in 1967 the median American household income was $38,771 (adjusted for inflation).

We've been led to believe that prosperity brings peace of mind, but it turns out your grandfather was right: Money isn't everything. The bottom line: Money can't make you happy if your increased wealth brings increased expectations. In other words, if you want more as you earn more, you'll never be content; there will always be something else you crave, so you'll need to work even harder to get the money to buy it. You'll be stuck on the hedonic treadmill, running like a hamster on a wheel. The hedonic treadmill leads to lifestyle inflation, which is just as dangerous to your money as economic inflation; both destroy the value of your dollars. Fortunately, you can control lifestyle inflation. You can opt out, step off the treadmill, and escape from the rat race. To do that, you have to set priorities and decide how much is Enough. The next section shows you how. How Much Is Enough?

Some people believe they can always earn more money to maintain their lifestyles—but their spending usually grows to match their income. (For some examples, see the box on How Much Is Enough?.) And you never know when the economy is going to take an unexpected turn, making it hard to find a job. When you earn more, resist the temptation to spend more. If your spending increases with your earnings, you'll get stuck on the hedonic treadmill (Caught Up in the Rat Race) and be at risk of a financial crisis if you lose your job. If, on the other hand, you keep your spending steady, you can use that increased cash flow to pay down debt or save for the future. By spending smart (see Chapter 5), you can make the most of your income and enjoy life. Money-Making Hobbies Even if you're not interested in owning a business that you work at full time, a small-scale venture might be right for you.


pages: 389 words: 81,596

Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required by Kristy Shen, Bryce Leung

"side hustle", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, barriers to entry, buy low sell high, call centre, car-free, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Elon Musk, fear of failure, financial independence, fixed income, follow your passion, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, index fund, longitudinal study, low cost airline, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, obamacare, offshore financial centre, passive income, Ponzi scheme, risk tolerance, risk/return, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the rule of 72, working poor, Y2K, Zipcar

That first purchase made me legitimately happy. But my second bag (a gold Ashley carryall) didn’t. I was so confused. I had spent just as much time researching it and spent just as much money, but it wasn’t the same. I didn’t get that same high. By the time I was on to bag five, it was such a nonevent I don’t even remember it. Soon, I got so bored of my purses I sold or gave away all but one. I had inadvertently gotten on the Hedonic Treadmill. When we buy something special or get a raise, we’re happy because we perceive a positive change in our life. Similarly, when something bad happens, like a blown tire or a health issue, that negative change bums us out. But over time, we get used to the new normal and return to our baseline level of happiness. Psychologists Philip Brickman, Dan Coates, and Ronnie Janoff-Bulman first noticed this phenomenon in a 1978 study in which they tracked the happiness levels of two groups: lottery winners and recently injured paraplegics.

She would ask the audience to write down how much they earned and how much they thought they needed to earn to be happy. On average, people thought they needed double what they earned. It didn’t matter if they made $30,000 or $100,000; the threshold was relative to their current salary. So, are we simply incapable of being satisfied with our lot? On the surface, it seems so, but as I dug deeper, I realized that the Hedonic Treadmill—on which no matter how much we run, we always stay in place—is more than a psychological phenomenon. It’s biochemical. BLAME YOUR BRAIN Your brain is a complex machine and neuroscientists are only beginning to understand it. What neuroscientists do understand pretty well is the mesolimbic pathway, which is part of the reward system in the brain. It contains pathways that trigger feelings like cravings, hunger, desire, and pleasure.

The mesolimbic pathway also contains a structure responsible for processing dopamine called the nucleus accumbens, which houses neural pathways sensitive to dopamine. These are the real gateways to pleasure and happiness. This distinction is why the narrative of “more dopamine = more happiness” isn’t actually true. In 2006, neurologists in Germany conducted an experiment on the nucleus accumbens. What they found explained the Hedonic Treadmill. Subjects were asked to play a game of identifying simple objects like circles and triangles. If they won, they’d get one euro. If they lost, they got nothing. Before starting they were given a percentage likelihood of winning. You would think that people would be pumped if they won money no matter what, right? Wrong. Turns out, if people were given a high chance (like 100 percent) of winning, when they did, an fMRI showed no additional activity in the nucleus accumbens’s dopaminergic receptors.


pages: 677 words: 121,255

Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist by Michael Shermer

Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, Chelsea Manning, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, creative destruction, dark matter, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, gun show loophole, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, luminiferous ether, McMansion, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, moral hazard, moral panic, More Guns, Less Crime, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, positional goods, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, working poor, Yogi Berra

Here Frank claims that the transaction costs of keeping up with the Joneses are not presently included in the price of homes, suits, shoes, and parties in terms of the real benefit to the owners, so this is an example of a market failure (and, he opines, a moral hazard) that he suggests can be remedied through a progressive consumption tax wherein these newfound liabilities would not only adjust the transaction costs to account for the hedonic treadmill while simultaneously curtailing needless consumptive behavior, it would also generate additional tax revenues from the rich that could be used to shore up our crumbling Social Security and Medicare accounts. Once you concede the point that markets fail to correct for transaction costs and that individuals must be coerced to act in ways that benefit both themselves and the collective because they would have no economic incentive to do so otherwise, it’s Katy bar the door for adding rules and regulations, taxes, and incentives right and left. While we’re at it, we would need to correct for the hedonic treadmill and the positional rank problems with some serious income redistribution from those who have it to those who don’t.

Mencken quipped, “A wealthy man is one who earns $100 a year more than his wife’s sister’s husband.” Remarkably, research shows that given the choice between, say, a $500,000 home in a neighborhood of million-dollar mansions and a $400,000 home on a street surrounded by $300,000 dwellings, most people opt for the latter.3 They are apparently willing to pay $100,000 for the opportunity to be relatively richer even while being absolutely poorer. Economists call this the hedonic treadmill. Run as fast as you like, you’ll never get there because there is no there, there, without a relative context that gives you a positional rank among your fellow consumers.4 In like manner, men competing for limited high-paying jobs will enter an arms race with their competitors for ever nicer and more expensive suits. If everyone wore a $500 suit to the interview, the playing field would be level, but when someone ups the ante and arrives in a $1,000 suit, the rest of the field has to … well … follow suit.

It may sound crude and unromantic to reduce the arts and sciences to little more than the product of organisms trying to impress others in order to gain status, resources, and mates, but as the late Christopher Hitchens once advised me after we imbibed several doses of what he was fond of calling “Mr. Walker’s amber restorative,” once you’ve mastered the pen and the podium, you need never dine or sleep alone. Positional Ranking, Relative Happiness, and Individual Liberty One of Frank’s justifications for taxing the rich involves the matter of positional ranking and relative happiness. If research shows that the existence of wealthy neighbors puts me on a hedonic treadmill that I can never satisfy, legislated policy is therefore justified in forcing my neighbors to redistribute some of their wealth to me and others less fortunate. This, Frank argues, will not only adjust the positional ranking problem, it will help shore up the leaking budgets of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid (which, with defense spending, constitutes two-thirds of the overall budget).


pages: 269 words: 83,307

Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits by Kevin Roose

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Basel III, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, discounted cash flows, Donald Trump, East Village, eurozone crisis, fixed income, forward guidance, glass ceiling, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hedonic treadmill, jitney, knowledge worker, new economy, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, selection bias, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Predators' Ball, too big to fail, urban planning, We are the 99%, young professional

“They were thought to be slash-and-burn buyout artists who took over companies and extracted all the profit they could for themselves, then left the limp carcasses behind”: This reputation was not entirely undeserved. See Bryan Burrough and John Helyar’s Barbarians at the Gate, the classic book about the 1980s leveraged buyout business. “firms have been pushing the process earlier and earlier”: Kevin Roose, “A Grab for Wall Street’s Rising Stars Before They’ve Risen, New York Times (DealBook), March 9, 2011. “In social psychology, this phenomenon is called the ‘hedonic treadmill’”: Shane Frederick, “Hedonic Treadmill,” entry in Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, eds. R. F. Baumeister and Kathleen D. Vohs, Sage Publications, 2007. “There was less to go around…tighter opportunity sets”: Max Abelson and Ambereen Choudhury, “After Massive Job Cuts, Wall Street’s a Different Place,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 1, 2011. Chapter Thirteen “I decided to go to Fashion Meets Finance”: Kevin Roose, “Fashion Meets Finance, After the Crisis,” New York Times (DealBook), May 6, 2011.

He had the front-office banking job he’d always wanted, he was earning what many twenty-three-year-olds would consider an obscene amount of money, and he had plenty of opportunities on the horizon. But he was having trouble moving up to the next, slightly more elite, slightly better-paid level of Wall Street privilege, and his disappointment was real. In social psychology, this phenomenon is called the “hedonic treadmill”—the shifting of desires relative to achievements. And although it applies in every industry, it’s baked in to Wall Street’s basic ethos. By virtue of their stations in life, young Wall Street bankers and traders are rarely unlucky, but they are always relatively unlucky—there is always someone, somewhere close by, making ten times more money or with ten times more responsibility and status.

I’d spoken to a number of older financiers in the course of my fact-finding, and asked them how their lives had morphed as they’d made their way up the ladder. Some of them had kept their noses to the grindstone, worked hundred-hour weeks well into their thirties, and eschewed the pleasures of a normal life for a chance at rapid, lucrative career advancement. They jumped to the buy side when the time was right, or remained on the management track at their firms, and saw their income increase rapidly year after year. Others had stepped off the hedonic treadmill, accepted the fact that they were likely never going to make it to the CEO’s chair, and did the best they could to provide value to their firms in whatever roles they inhabited. This was a less sexy version of the finance path, but one that was becoming increasingly appealing as the financial sector struggled, and people attempted to mitigate their personal risks by staying put. “It’s not Liar’s Poker anymore,” one private equity worker told me.


pages: 111 words: 1

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, availability heuristic, backtesting, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, commoditize, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, equity premium, fixed income, global village, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Myron Scholes, Paul Samuelson, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, selection bias, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, survivorship bias, too big to fail, Turing test, Yogi Berra

For the new field of neuroeconomics, see discussions in Glimcher (2002) and Camerer, Loewenstein and Prelec (2003). Sensitivity to losses: Note that losses matter more than gains, but you become rapidly desensitized to them (a loss of $10,000 is better than ten losses of $1,000). Gains matter less than losses, and large gains even less (ten gains of $1,000 are better than one gain of $10,000). Hedonic treadmill: My late friend Jimmy Powers used to go out of his way to show me very wealthy investment bankers acting miserably after a bad day. How good is all this wealth for them if they adjust to it to such a point that a single bad day can annihilate the effect of all these past successes? If things do not accumulate well then it follows that humans should follow a different set of strategies. This “resetting”shows the link to prospect theory.

., 1985, Choosing the Right Pond: Human Behavior and the Quest for Status. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Frank, Robert H., 1999, Luxury Fever: Why Money Fails to Satisfy in an Era of Excess. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Frank, R. H., and P. J. Cook, 1995, The WinnerTake-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us. New York: Free Press. Frederick, S., and G. Loewenstein, 1999, “Hedonic Adaptation,” in Kahneman, Diener and Schwartz. Freedman, D. A., and P. B. Stark, 2003, “What Is the Chance of an Earthquake?” Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3860. Technical Report 611. September 2001; revised January 2003. Fukuyama, Francis,1992, The End of History and the Last Man. New York: Free Press. Galbraith, John Kenneth, 1997, The Great Crash 1929. New York: Mariner Books.


pages: 789 words: 207,744

The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, different worldview, Doomsday Book, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Georg Cantor, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Metcalfe's law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, Pierre-Simon Laplace, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, ultimatum game, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wikimedia commons

In each case, they found the same results: overall life satisfaction failed to increase with the rise in income levels.75 Easterlin's explanation for this paradox was that while economic growth raised people's standard of living, it also raised their aspirations, leading to a negative effect on their happiness. This effect has become known as the “hedonic treadmill”: no matter how affluent people become, they continually compare themselves with others in their peer group and always desire more. In our globally interconnected world, the standards people compare themselves against are no longer exclusively those of their local peer group but those of the global elite whose images are continually thrust into their presence. The global “hedonic treadmill” is getting ever faster and broader.76 Edward Bernays, the mastermind of modern consumerism, and his followers appear to have succeeded only too well. Humanity's Search for Meaning Our modern world is the result of the runaway success of one of the most powerful cognitive patterns in history.

McNeill offers an explanation: “When an idea becomes successful, it easily becomes even more successful: it gets entrenched in social and political systems, which assists in its further spread. It then prevails even beyond the times and places where it is advantageous to its followers.” This is another form of lock-in: ideological. “Big ideas,” McNeil observes, “all became orthodoxies, enmeshed in social and political systems, and difficult to dislodge even if they became costly.”68* The “Hedonic Treadmill” A powerful example of ideological lock-in is the standard of gross domestic product (GDP), by which the performance of governments and countries is judged across the world. The economist who invented it in the 1930s, Simon Kuznets, warned that it was a “potentially dangerous oversimplification that could be misleading” and subject to “resulting abuse.” However, in the aftermath of World War II, as the world was gearing up for the Great Acceleration, GDP was formally incorporated into official policy making.69 The basic fault with GDP as a measure of a country's performance is that it fails to distinguish between activities that promote welfare and those that reduce it.

With the advent of “consumptionism,” capitalism instilled an intoxicating new purpose into people's lives, promising them that their feelings of emptiness, meaninglessness, or alienation could be cured through the possession and conspicuous use of manufactured goods. No matter that the “cure” was only temporary: through hard work and dedication, you could earn more money to purchase even more goods, thus stepping on to the hedonic treadmill. This pattern has become so embedded into the global construction of meaning that most people accept it without question. Those fortunate enough to possess more money than others gain more in the short term on the treadmill of temporary satisfaction. However, the ultimate beneficiaries are not human at all but rather the conceptual creations called corporations, which exist collectively to transform the human experience and the natural world into the monetized economy, regardless of the ultimate effect on humanity as a whole.


pages: 334 words: 82,041

How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature by George Monbiot

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, dematerialisation, demographic transition, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, first-past-the-post, full employment, Gini coefficient, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, land reform, land value tax, market fundamentalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, peak oil, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, rent-seeking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, urban sprawl, wealth creators, World Values Survey

Yes: he has now tumbled into the vortex that dismayed him. He dated eighteen women in 2013, seeking ‘the short sharp hit which keeps you coming back despite the fact that the experience taken as a whole does not add up to anything worth having. My life … is beginning to dance to the Internet rhythm of desire satiated immediately and thinly.’ In seeking someone who was not trapped on the hedonic treadmill, he became trapped on the hedonic treadmill. Could it be this – the immediate satisfaction of desire, the readiness with which we can find comfort – that deprives us of greater freedoms? Does extreme comfort deaden the will to be free? If so, it is a habit learnt early and learnt hard. When children are housebound, we cannot expect them to develop an instinct for freedom that is intimately associated with being outdoors.

Research by economists at the University of Milan suggests that television helps to drive competitive aspiration.9 It strongly reinforces the income–happiness paradox: the fact that, as national incomes rise, happiness does not rise with them. Aspiration, which increases with income, ensures that the point of arrival, of sustained satisfaction, retreats before us. The researchers found that those who watch a lot of television derive less satisfaction from a given level of income than those who watch only a little. Television speeds up the hedonic treadmill, forcing us to strive even harder to sustain the same level of satisfaction. You have only to think of the wall-to-wall auctions on daytime TV, Dragon’s Den, The Apprentice and the myriad forms of career-making competition the medium celebrates, the generalised obsession with fame and wealth, the pervasive sense, in watching it, that life is somewhere other than where you are, to see why this might be.


pages: 654 words: 191,864

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, cognitive bias, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, demand response, endowment effect, experimental economics, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, framing effect, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, index card, information asymmetry, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, nudge unit, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pre–internet, price anchoring, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Shai Danziger, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, transaction costs, union organizing, Walter Mischel, Yom Kippur War

The hedonic reference point is largely determined by the objective status quo, but it is also affected by expectations and social comparisons. An objective improvement can be experienced as a loss, for example, when an employee receives a smaller raise than everyone else in the office. The experience of pleasure or pain associated with a change of state is also critically dependent on the dynamics of hedonic adaptation. Brickman and Campbell’s (1971) concept of the hedonic treadmill suggests the radical hypothesis that rapid adaptation will cause the effects of any objective improvement to be short-lived. The complexity and subtlety of hedonic experience make it difficult for the decision maker to anticipate the actual experience that outcomes will produce. Many a person who ordered a meal when ravenously hungry has admitted to a big mistake when the fifth course arrived on the table.

Former P atients Give Lower Utility Ratings than Do Current Patients,” Health Psychology 25 (2006): 688–95. George Loewenstein and Peter A. Ubel, “Hedonic Adaptation and the Role of Decision and Experience Utility in Public Policy,” Journal of Public Economics 92 (2008): 1795–1810. the word miswanting: Daniel Gilbert and Timothy D. Wilson, “Miswanting: Some Problems in Affective Forecasting,” in Feeling and Thinking: The Role of Affect in Social Cognition, ed. Joseph P. Forgas (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 178–97. Conclusions too important to be ignored: Paul Dolan and Daniel Kahneman, “Interpretations of Utility and Their Implications for the Valuation of Health,” Economic Journal 118 (2008): 215–234. Loewenstein and Ubel, “Hedonic Adaptation and the Role of Decision and Experience Utility in Public Policy.” guide government policies: Progress has been especially rapid in the UK, where the use of measures of well-being is now official government policy.


pages: 159 words: 45,073

GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History by Diane Coyle

"Robert Solow", Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, clean water, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Diane Coyle, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial intermediation, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, mutually assured destruction, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, new economy, Occupy movement, purchasing power parity, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, University of East Anglia, working-age population

The experimental evidence is that most people care more about status and therefore their relative income than they do about the absolute level of income. The “conspicuous consumption” first named by Thorstein Veblen is a kind of arms race of status, and one that the excesses of corporate pay have let rip in the past quarter century. What’s more, the satisfaction we get from extra income and purchases wears off quickly, leaving us, like Edmund in the story, hungry for another fix. The evocative technical term for this is the hedonic treadmill. If money is an addiction, it’s not surprising that some people think society needs help being weaned off it. Economists such as Robert Frank and Richard Layard advocate a tax on purchases of luxury items. Another policy recommendation has had more traction: that instead of measuring GDP we should be measuring happiness. In the United Kingdom there is even a Campaign for Happiness. The government leapt on its bandwagon, ordering the Office for National Statistics to start a survey to measure happiness levels around the country.31 Grotesquely, there are cheerleaders for the king of Bhutan because of his claim that he seeks to increase gross national happiness, when Bhutan is one of the poorest and one of the more authoritarian countries in the world.

., 25; “gross” component of, 25, 30; HDI correlated with, 73–74; importance of, 1–6, 42, 135–36; information gathering for, 33, 37, 51–53, 137–38; international comparisons of, 48–57; issues facing, 121–35; loans influenced by, 3; origins of, 7, 16–18, 119–20; postwar, 43–45, 43t, 62–63; purpose and meanings of, 5–6, 92, 121, 136, 138–40 (see also concept of); recommendations concerning, 136–40; revisions of, 36; spending-income relationship in, 30, 33–34; statistical patterns in, 3; well-being and welfare correlated with, 111, 117, 136; well-being and welfare not measured by, 5, 14, 40, 91–92, 111–14, 124–25, 136, 140 Gross National Product (GNP), 15–16, 25, 115–16 Guevara, Che, 68 Haldane, Andrew, 99, 101 happiness, 5, 6, 110–13, 136, 137. See also well-being and welfare Harrod, Roy, 55 Hart, Keith, 107 HDI. See Human Development Index Healey, Denis, 35–36 hedonic price measurement, 35, 88–90 hedonic treadmill, 112 Heston, Alan, 50 high-income countries. See developed/high-income countries Hitler, Adolf, 41 Holland, 8, 17, 20 Hoover, Herbert, 13 household production/services, 38, 39, 106, 108–9, 140 human capital, 134, 135 Human Development Index (HDI), 72–74, 115, 136, 137 IMF. See International Monetary Fund imputed bank service charge (IBSC), 102–3 income, as GDP measure, 25, 26t income inequality.


Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough by Clive Hamilton, Richard Denniss

call centre, delayed gratification, experimental subject, full employment, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, mega-rich, Naomi Klein, Own Your Own Home, post-materialism, post-work, purchasing power parity, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, wage slave

Even if we do come out in front of our peers, the chances are we will start to compare ourselves with those on the next rung of the ladder. Our new discontent causes us to set our goals higher still. In a world dominated by money hunger, if our expectations continue to rise in advance of our incomes we will never achieve a level of income that satisfies. Richard Easterlin, who did much of the early work in this field, described this phenomenon as a ‘hedonic treadmill’, where people have to keep running in order to keep up with the others but never advance. The only way to win is to stop playing the game. Rich societies such as Australia seem to be in the grip of a collective psychological disorder. We react with alarm and sympathy when we come across an anorexic who is convinced she is fat, whose view of reality is so obviously distorted. Yet, as a society surrounded by affluence, we indulge in the illusion that we are deprived.

CHAPTER 11 1 Lambesis Agency 2004, L Style Report, 9th edn, <http://www.lstylereport.com> [11 January 2005]. 209 INDEX Abbott, Tony, 133 advertising, 4, 28, 36–40, 41, 43, 55, 61, 101, 109, 120, 126,172, 187 and neuroscience, 41–2 fake memories in, 46 children and, 47, 50–51 of breakfast cereals, 48–50, 150–1 of cars, 10, 45 of junk food, 51 of margarine, 43 of tobacco, 51–2, 125 of vitamins, 94 restrictions on, 188 use of nagging, 53–4 affluenza, defined, 3, 7 alcohol, 115–17, 180 annual leave see holiday leave anorexia, 16 appliances, 22–3, 37, 38 attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, 55 Aussie battler, 3, 133–4, 136, 139, 151, 180, see also politics Australian Labor Party, 3, 137–9, 151, 191 bankruptcy, 72–3, 175 banks, 12, 75–6, 77–80 barbecues, 23–4 210 INDEX Blair, Tony, 191 botox, 37, 128 brands, 23, 34, 38–40, 41–33, 45, 53, 55, 56, 110, 187 brand loyalty, 39, 55, 189 brand disloyalty, 190 see also advertising; marketing Bray, Robert, 66 Buddhism, 17 caesareans, 34 Calvinism, 16, 17 cars, 10, 13, 45 4WDs, 44–5, 188 see also advertising celebrity, need for, 56–7 children, 21 advertising and, 47–57, 150 and clothes, 33–4 as fashion accessories, 33 behavioural problems of, 55 financial calculus of having, 34–5, 142–5, impact of materialism on, 149–50 sexualisation of, 57 tinys, 52–3 tweens, 55–7 see also downshifting choice, alleged benefits of, 40–1 clothes, 13, 45, 166 see also children Coalition Government, 136–9 see also Liberal Party community, 95, 119, 146, 148, 183 compulsive shopping, 15, 61 see also oniomania conscious consumption, 166, 186–90 conspicuous consumption, 8, 88, 96 cosmetic surgery, 10, 57, 127–9, see also botox cosmetics, 37 Costello, Peter, 35, 141 credit cards, 10–2, 19, 72–81, 102, 103 see also debt debt, 71 passim, 137, 179 attitudes to, 74, 75 Debtors Anonymous, 61, 80–1 foreign debt truck, 82 home equity loans, 79–80 marketing of, 71, 75–7 national debt, 81–4 211 AFFLUENZA deferred happiness syndrome, 89–2, 98, 169 deferrers, 175–6 see also deferred happiness syndrome democratisation of luxury, 26 depression, 16, 38, 93, 114 deprivation, 3, 66, 192, see also poverty, hardship disease-mongering, 120–7 doorbuster sales, 78 downshifters characteristics of, 154–6 motivations of, 156–7, 158 passim new lifestyle of, 165–7 regrets of, 173 downshifting, 17, 152, 153 passim, 180 children and, 156, 159, 160, 166–7 defined, 153 for dogs, 33 politics of, 175, 183–6 reactions to, 176–70 drugs, 114–16, 118 Easterlin, Richard, 6 Eckersley, Richard, 148 economic growth, 3, 4–5, 62–3, 114, 118, 136, 141, 159, 185, 190, 193 environment, 111, 112, 157, 179, 190, 193, 194 evangelical Christianity, 182–3 family size, 20–1 federal election 2004, 3, 136–8 female sexual dysfunction, 121–3 feminism, 27 flexible work hours see work hours Frank, Robert, 9 Frey, Bruno, 63 full employment, 192 gratifiers, 175 growth fetishism, viii, 18, 142, 193 Guevara, Che, 28 happiness, 58, 63–4, 113, 118, 127, 146, 152, 175–6 hardship imagined, 64 genuine, 66 212 INDEX Hayek, Friedrich, 186 health, 113, 156, 157, 164, 166, 179, 193 see also work hours hedonic treadmill, 6, 58, 184 holiday leave, 87, 88, 93 Hood, Robin, 190 houses, 13, 20, 60, 101 size of, 20, 21–2, 37 prices of, 20, 21–2, 134, 137, 179 Howard, John, 82, 138, 141, 142 Idell, Cheryl, 53 identity, 13–4, 45 imports, 73, 83–4 incomes, 4, 58–9, 112 Indigenous Australians, 113 intermittent husband syndrome, 91 karoshi, 92 Kasser, Tim, 14 Klein, Naomi, 38 Latham, Mark, 137, 138 Liberal Party, 136, 138, 139, 151 Luis Vuitton, 9, 28 luxury fever, 8–10, 12, 19, 135, 143, 178 luxury goods, 9–10, 13, 16, 19, 21, 26, 127, 170 Mandelson, Peter, 191 marketing, 13, 28, 37–8, 42, 45, 47, 53, 104, 110–1, 118, 120, 126, 179 see also advertising materialism, 14–5, 17, 47, 55, 89, 119, 154, 184 and values, 146–52 meningococcal disease, 120 middle class, 8–9, 59, 74, 136 middle-class welfare, 139-42, 180 Mill, John Stuart, 138, 186 money, 5, 7, 11, 16–7, 19, 58, 63, 67–8, 80, 97, 98–9, 103, 107, 112, 120, 139, 143–4, 148, 152, 159, 166, 171, 175–7, 178, 187 hunger for, 6, 17, 18, 137, 146, 180, 183–4 see also debt money coma, 80 Moynihan, Ray, 121, 123 213 AFFLUENZA needs, 4, 7, 29, 59–63, 65, 66, 100, 147, 148 neoliberalism, 7, 17, 36, 39–40, 79, 138 as new form of oppression, 186 of relationships, 182 of tax cuts, 136, 139 of the Aussie battler, 133–5, 151 of welfare, 139, 140, 141, 180 of wellbeing, 193–4 progressive, 181, 182 pornography, 151 post-materialism, 4, 155, 157, 184 poverty, 18, 181, 190–2 poverty line, 66–7 presenteeism, 94 privatisation, 40 psychology, role in marketing, 36–41, 46, 51, 53–4, 61 obesity, 118 obsolescence, 110 oniomania, 15–6 see also compulsive shopping Olsen twins, 57 O’Neill, Jessie, 7 ovens, 22–3 overconsumption, 7, 19 passim, 72, 96, 122, 178 overwork see work hours Pavlov, Ivan, 41, 47 plastic bag levy, 103 pets, 28–33 humanisation of, 30, 33 pharmaceutical companies, 120–1, 126 Pocock, Barbara, 98 politics, 60–1, 66, 119, 183 conservative, 144, 181, 190 of choice, 168, 172 relationships, 14, 81, 97, 179, 193, 194 relationship debts, 175 see also work hours retail therapy, 16, 100–1 retirement anxiety, 92, 173–4 right-hand ring, 27 Ritalin, 118 Roberts, Kevin, 39 saving, 71, 82 see also debt 214 INDEX Schor, Juliet, 48 sea change, 153, 155 see also downshifting self-storage industry, 25, 102 social anxiety disorder, 124–6 status, 170 Stutzer, Alois, 63 suffering rich, 63 sunglasses, 25–6 television, 9, 21, 22, 60, 183, 188 lifestyle programs, 37 sales, 24–5 Trapaga, Monica, 49–50 trickle down theory, 191 twin deficits theory, 83 values, 180–3 see also materialism Veblen, Thorstein, 8 Vidal, Gore, 6 voluntary simplicity, 154, 187 see also downshifting wasteful consumption, 100 passim, 179, 190, 194 and guilt, 106–8, 112 wealth, 81–2 whitegoods, 23 see also appliances wellbeing, 14, 40, 54, 58, 113, 115, 118, 142, 163, 190 wellbeing manifesto, 193, 217–24 work hours, 81, 91, 95–6, 158, 161, 163, 174, 179 and children, 90–1 excessive, 85–9, 158 impact on communities, 95–7 impact on health, 90–4, 122 impact on relationships, 85, 90, 91, 97–9, 122, 149 working class, 8–9 workophiles, 87 215 A political manifesto for wellbeing Preamble Australians are three times richer than their parents and grandparents were in the 1950s, but they are not happier.


Early Retirement Guide: 40 is the new 65 by Manish Thakur

"side hustle", Airbnb, diversified portfolio, financial independence, hedonic treadmill, index fund, Lyft, passive income, passive investing, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, time value of money, uber lyft, Vanguard fund, Zipcar

This is the core of financial independence: being able to do what makes us the happiest, regardless of the money involved. The problem being is that we are often terrible at figuring out what makes us truly happy. Many people think having a lofty status or nice things will makes us happy, but Thomas Gilovich, a Cornell psychologist, found that experiences far outrank material possessions in their ability to create lasting or even momentary happiness. The psychological phenomenon is called the "Hedonic Treadmill." It is the tendency for people to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness, whether or not a positive or negative event has happened. This is because as we make more money, our expectations and desires also increase. So, in the end, it doesn't make sense to spend decades of our lives trying to find the next car, house, or gadget that will make us happier. We should be focusing our lives around building fulfilling experiences and creating memories that keep their value and leave behind a worthy legacy when we're gone.


pages: 322 words: 77,341

I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester

asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black-Scholes formula, Blythe Masters, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, intangible asset, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Martin Wolf, money market fund, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, negative equity, new economy, Nick Leeson, Norman Mailer, Northern Rock, Own Your Own Home, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Great Moderation, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, value at risk

When the credit crunch first began—after the initial waves of panic and the moment when “this sucker could go down”—I thought that there might be a general reevaluation of where we all were. We wouldn’t notice and reflect just on the past decade of good times but on the whole question of what our societies had as their goals, where capitalism had brought us, and whether we wanted to keep working quite as hard as we had, in the direction of an always-receding vision of contentment. The “hedonic treadmill” is what this is called: as you have more and more, your idea of what it would take to be happy keeps receding just out of reach. It’s always the next pay raise, the next purchase, the next place you move to or go on holiday which will make you happy. The credit crunch could have been a moment to reflect on that. We in the West can do something that no people in history have done: we can show the world that we know when we have enough.

Germain Depository Institutions Act, 185 Gaussian copula function, 116–17, 157–60, 163 Geithner, Timothy, 188 Germany, 58, 222, 229 banks of, 36, 77, 83, 227 housing in, 40, 91–92, 94 Nazis and, 138–39, 180 Glass-Steagall Act, 64–65, 187–88, 199–200 Goldilocks economy, 107, 174 Goldman Sachs, 40, 77–78, 163, 190, 225 profitability of, 78, 227–28 Goodwin, Sir Fred, 76–77, 204, 206 government, see politics, politicians Great Depression, 21, 65, 99, 170, 186–87, 199–200 greater fool theory, 104 Great Moderation, 107, 174 Greenspan, Alan: derivatives and, 166, 183–84 house prices and, 165, 173–74, 176 interest rates and, 107–8, 165, 173–77 regulation and, 184, 188–89 risk and, 142–43, 164–66, 174, 184 Greenspan put, 174 gross domestic product (GDP), 80–81 of Earth, 2–4, 80 free-market capitalism and, 14–15 of U.K., 32, 214, 220 Haarde, Geir, 12 Haji-Ioannou, Stelios, 227 Haldane, Andrew, 36–37 Halifax, 38, 89 Hamanaka, Yasuo, 51 Harlot’s Ghost (Mailer), 172 health care, 13, 17, 198, 217, 222, 226–27 hedges, hedge funds, 164–66, 171 definition of, 54n–55n LTCM and, 54–56, 80, 142, 162, 164–65, 230–31 risk and, 49–50, 52, 58, 115, 155, 205 hedonic treadmill, 218 heuristics, 137–38 hindsight bias, 137 Hollinger, 59 Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, 99 Hong Kong, 7–8, 13–14 Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, 7, 53 Hoover, Herbert, 98–99 houses, housing, home ownership, 27–29, 40, 82–102, 109–32, 149, 157–60, 163–66, 187 balance sheets and, 27–28, 38 bubbles in, 5, 86–87, 89–90, 92, 101, 115, 159–60, 170, 173–74, 176–78, 216–17, 219, 223 foreclosures on, 83–85, 126–31 in Iceland, 10–11 inflation and, 88, 101, 179–80 in Ireland, 92, 110, 170–71 leverage and, 60–61, 83, 95, 97 liquidity and, 28–29, 90, 96–97 for low-income borrowers, 100, 113, 118, 121–23, 126–27, 130–31, 163 politics and, 87–89, 91, 96–101, 177–78 prices of, 5, 28–29, 37–38, 61, 71, 86–91, 101, 109–11, 113, 115, 125, 157, 160, 164–66, 173–76, 194, 208 and sense of dislocation, 95–97 in U.K., 38, 87–98, 110, 122, 177–78 in U.S., 37, 82–86, 95, 97–101, 109–10, 114–15, 122, 125–31, 157–58, 163 see also mortgages HSBC, HSBC Holding, 36, 53 Hume, David, 147 Hypo Real Estate, 40 IBM, 58, 65, 69 Iceland, Icelanders, 15 economic crisis in, 9–12, 23–24, 40, 170, 216, 223 pots and pans revolution in, 223 Iguchi, Toshihide, 51 illusion of validity, 140 incentives, 206–11, 224, 228 for bankers, 19, 37, 206–8 bond-rating agencies and, 209–11 incomes, 4, 13, 17, 66, 171, 203–4, 212, 221 balance sheets and, 26, 28, 30–31 banking and, 19–20, 37, 206–8, 218 housing and, 60, 90, 93–94, 100, 126, 130–32, 163 inflation and, 92, 179 India, 3–4 industrialization, 96–97 inequality, see equality, inequality inflation, 107, 144, 147, 220–21 asset price, 109–10 housing and, 88, 101, 179–80 incomes and, 92, 179 interest rates and, 102–3, 172–73, 178–80, 221 ING Group, 36 Innumeracy (Paulos), 8 insolvency, see solvency, insolvency interest, interest rates, 11, 24, 58–64 bonds and, 20, 61–63, 103, 107–10, 112, 144 and cost of money, 102–3 credit and, 172–73, 175, 209 derivatives and, 20, 47, 58, 63–64, 66, 69–70, 114, 121–22 government determination of, 102–3, 107–8, 172–80, 221 Greenspan and, 107–8, 165, 173–77 loans and, 59–60, 66, 74, 102, 108, 145, 172–73 mortgages and, 8, 58, 86, 89, 91–92, 95, 100, 102, 108, 110, 112–14, 122, 128, 145–46, 174, 176, 212 risk and, 69–71, 144–45, 165 International Monetary Fund (IMF), 15, 19, 186 International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), 79–80, 183 investing, investments, investors, 28, 58–63, 101–9, 171–72, 175–77, 181, 187, 213, 221 banks and, 25, 30, 43, 228 blue chip, 106 bonds and, 62–63, 102–3, 107–8, 111, 208–9 of China, 109, 176–77 derivatives and, 54–56, 58, 69–70, 73, 117, 120, 132, 153, 158, 172, 184 diversification of, 146–48 hedge funds and, 54n–55n housing and, 86–88, 97, 101 interest rates and, 102–3 regulation and, 225–26 risk and, 5, 68, 70, 88, 103, 144, 146–53, 158, 165, 184, 190 in stocks, 59, 73, 101–7, 111, 146–52, 158, 175, 192 values and, 60–61, 104, 198 investment trusts, 55n Ireland, 15, 169–71, 177 economic contraction in, 170–71, 222–23 housing in, 92, 110, 170–71 Jacobs, Jane, 82 Japan, Japanese, 18, 51–54, 77 banks of, 43, 51, 229 derivatives and, 51–52, 54 Johnson, Simon, 19–20, 185–86 Jorion, Philippe, 156–57, 162 J.P.


pages: 511 words: 132,682

Competition Overdose: How Free Market Mythology Transformed Us From Citizen Kings to Market Servants by Maurice E. Stucke, Ariel Ezrachi

affirmative action, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Bernie Sanders, Boeing 737 MAX, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, commoditize, corporate governance, Corrections Corporation of America, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, George Akerlof, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Chrome, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labor-force participation, late fees, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Lyft, mandatory minimum, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, mortgage debt, Network effects, out of africa, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price anchoring, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, ultimatum game, Vanguard fund, winner-take-all economy

Though bumper stickers are considered lowbrow in these settings and are therefore rare among such families, another kind of signifier is quite common: banners in the rear windows of their vehicles that proclaim their offspring’s progression through elite educational institutions beginning with prep school through to college and graduate school. It’s true that status competition can fuel a race to the bottom, as when a neighbor’s purchase of a Porsche Boxster prompts other neighbors to buy even more expensive cars, despite being unable to afford them. This has been called the “hedonic treadmill.” But are those school banners really about status? If status were driving students to apply to top-ranked colleges, the rejection rates in the 1950s and 1960s would have been higher. This would not have been a relatively recent phenomenon. Another explanation is fear. The victims in any race to the bottom must decide if it is better to play the game or to bear the costs of opting out. The competitive pressure to enter a top-ranked university may reflect our perceived vulnerability in today’s economy.

We no longer try to keep up with the Joneses next door. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram, and other ubiquitous forms of social media, we’re now engaged in a competition with smiling acquaintances around the globe who seem to make more money, work at dream jobs, own fancier cars, go on better vacations, live in nicer homes, and have kids who seem to attend more prestigious schools than our own. This competition keeps the hedonic treadmill humming, and the consumerist economy, too; but like the desire for power or fame, it results in a hunger that can never be satiated. Under this zero-sum competition, every time others acquire more, we seem to have less, so we feel the need to catch up. Even if we manage to ascend to ever higher rungs, there will always be someone better off and we’ll always be striving for the next rung. The dynamic is comparable to the habituation that occurs in drug and alcohol abuse, where once we adapt to a certain level of consumption, our satisfaction diminishes and we want more.

See Federal Trade Commission fuel shortage incidents on airlines, 56–58, 61 Fun Kid Racing app (Tiny Lab), 194–95, 199, 202–3 Gallup, 277 Gamemakers, 192–224 overview, xiii, 192, 195–96 addictive qualities built into apps, 196–203 advertisers bidding on targets, 208–9 attracting bidders, 207–9 benefits of their technology, 221 business models, 198, 220 children’s data gleaned for advertisers, 193–95 controlling what we see or don’t see, 218–22 creating an illusion of choice and control, 211–15 extracting our personal data, 203–7 Google and FB dominance, 208, 210, 213–15 identifying consumers’ weaknesses for advertisers, 199–201 lack of transparency, 209–10 media and traffic from Google and FB, 210 offering developers a helping hand, 198, 204 payment for free services, 216–18 privacy assurance and policies, 194, 206–7, 211, 212, 217–18 profit from auctions, 209–11 surveillance capitalism, 195 targeting consumers, 204–5 toxic competition, 192–93, 203, 206–7, 220–22, 223 tracking software, 204–7, 217, 222 See also Facebook; Google gaming disorder, 202 Gates, Dominic, 265 gazelles with trackers metaphor, 92–93 General Data Protection Regulation, Europe, 287 General Mills, 64 GEO Group, 167, 172, 173, 175, 176 German printing industry, 244 Germany’s antitrust authority and Facebook, 222 Glass-Steagall Act (1933), 127–28 global economic crisis, causes of, 130 Goldberg, Shmuli, 103–4 Goldman Sachs, 274–76 Google auction of user data to advertisers, 208–9 Fun Kid Racing app, 193–95, 199 initial creation of, 282–83 Location History feature, 212–13 time spent on, 196 YouTube, 196, 208–9, 210, 215 See also Gamemakers Google Books Ngram Viewer, 131, 131–32, 132 government’s role in promoting healthy competition, 260–72 failure of, leading to financial crisis of 2008, 261–64 preventing exploitation of human weaknesses, 267–69 providing a safety net, 269–72 regulation of the market, 260 regulatory guides for the competition machine, 264–67 See also policy makers greed-inspired competition, 235–36, 237, 240. See also zero-sum competition Greenspan, Alan, 128, 130, 261–63 Guardian, 209–10 Guttentag, Christoph, 16 Hall, James, 267 Hamilton College, 197 Hart, Oliver, 164 Harvard Business Review, 75, 276–77 Harvard University, 15, 17, 24, 26–27, 35–36, 112 health services, privatization of, 184–85 healthy competition. See noble competition hedonic treadmill, 28 Heller, Dean, 152 Heller, Joseph, 142 helmet rule, NHL, 4–5 Heng, Rachel, 245 higher education. See colleges and universities high-value customers, 87–91 Hininger, Damon T., 177 Hispanic students’ college acceptance levels, 24–25 Hitler, 190 homo economicus, 71, 73, 74, 76, 156 honesty in used car market, 63–64 horsemeat scandal, xii, 41–42, 45–47 hotel industry, 78–79 human nature abdicating responsibility for negative outcomes, 281–84 caring about others, 237–39, 244 conditional cooperation, 240–44 desire for choice, 94 ethical and moral leadership can shape our behavior, 284–87 See also cultural conditioning IAC (InterActiveCorp), 109–11, 111, 115–16 ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement), 169, 175–76 IDC (International Data Corporation), 221 immigrants and privatization of prisons, 169, 175–76 income gap and college admissions, 25 individual and collective interests, divergence of, 12–20, 39–40, 242–43, 263 industrial farming, 53, 287, 288 inefficiencies in UK’s NHS, 186 Informant!


pages: 315 words: 81,433

A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life by Tara Button

clean water, collaborative consumption, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, Downton Abbey, hedonic treadmill, Internet of things, Kickstarter, life extension, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, meta analysis, meta-analysis, period drama, Rana Plaza, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, thinkpad

In the Thirties, Christine Frederick, of Chapter 3 fame, encouraged manufacturers to turn luxuries into necessities, and our brain’s natural tendencies helped that process along. It took fifty years (between 1900 and 1950) for the cooking stove to go from being a luxury (with 10 per cent of the population having one) to a necessity (with 80 per cent). In comparison, microwaves took just ten years to do the same.1 Unless we’re careful, we may have mass roll-outs of products that within a year feel as much a necessity as a refrigerator would feel to us today. The hedonic treadmill where we get used to whatever luxuries come our way is speeding up, it seems, but there is a way to turn the treadmill back the way it came. * * * exercise TURNING NECESSITIES INTO LUXURIES To counter this, try turning necessities into luxuries. This week, when you use your everyday items, take a minute with each one, close your eyes and imagine life without it. How would you get by without: your phone your computer your fridge your TV your car your cooker your toaster/kettle/coffee maker your shower I added ‘shower’ to the list because this morning I stood under the jets of my shower imagining the water drying up and the shower disappearing.

•‘If yes, what’s the lowest rate of credit I can get access to?’ •‘Can I pay it off comfortably before the interest levels go up?’ •‘If I had an unforeseen tragedy and lost my income, could this purchase become a dangerous burden?’ MONEY AND LIFESTYLE The course of life never runs smooth, and while in the movies the trajectory tends to be towards wealth, this doesn’t always happen in reality. Fortunes can tumble, too, and part of the cruelty of the hedonic treadmill effect (the fact that we get used to our good fortune and then look to improve upon it) is that if our fortunes reverse and we have to go back to living more frugally, even if we were perfectly happy with that before, it seems like a disaster. Increasing our spending as soon as we get a pay rise and spending money we expect to have in the future can leave us exposed if our fortunes flounder.


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

In 1973 the economist Richard Easterlin identified a paradox that has since been named for him.3 Though in comparisons within a country richer people are happier, in comparisons across countries the richer ones appeared to be no happier than poorer ones. And in comparisons over time, people did not appear to get happier as their countries got richer. The Easterlin paradox was explained with two theories from psychology. According to the theory of the hedonic treadmill, people adapt to changes in their fortunes, like eyes adapting to light or darkness, and quickly return to a genetically determined baseline.4 According to the theory of social comparison (or reference groups, status anxiety, or relative deprivation, which we examined in chapter 9), people’s happiness is determined by how well they think they are doing relative to their compatriots, so as the country as a whole gets richer, no one feels happier—indeed, if their country becomes more unequal, then even if they get richer they may feel worse.5 If, in this sense, things never get better, one can wonder whether all that economic, medical, and technological so-called progress was worth it.

Absolute income, not relative income, is what matters most for happiness (a conclusion that’s consistent with the finding discussed in chapter 9 on the irrelevance of inequality to happiness).21 These are among a number of findings that weaken the old belief that happiness adapts to ambient conditions like the eye, returns to a set point, or remains stationary as people vainly stride on a hedonic treadmill. Though people often do rebound from setbacks and pocket their good fortune, their happiness takes a sustained hit from trials like unemployment or disability, and a sustained boost from gifts like a good marriage or immigrating to a happier country.22 And contrary to an earlier belief, winning the lottery does, over the long term, make people happier.23 Since we know that countries get richer over time (chapter 8), we can think of figure 18-1 as a freeze-frame in a movie showing humanity getting happier over time.

Irwin, “What Was the Greatest Era for Innovation? A Brief Guided Tour,” New York Times, May 13, 2016. 33. Accuracy of Wikipedia: Giles 2005; Greenstein & Zhu 2014; Kräenbring et al. 2014. CHAPTER 18: HAPPINESS 1. Transcribed and lightly edited from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8LaT5Iiwo4 and other Internet clips. 2. Mueller 1999, p. 14. 3. Easterlin 1973. 4. Hedonic treadmill: Brickman & Campbell 1971. 5. Social comparison theory: See chapter 9, note 11; Kelley & Evans 2016. 6. G. Monbiot, “Neoliberalism Is Creating Loneliness. That’s What’s Wrenching Society Apart,” The Guardian, Oct. 12, 2016. 7. Axial Age and origin of deepest questions: Goldstein 2013. Philosophy and history of happiness: Haidt 2006; Haybron 2013; McMahon 2006. Science of happiness: Gilbert 2006; Haidt 2006; Helliwell, Layard, & Sachs 2016; Layard 2005; Roser 2017. 8.


pages: 401 words: 112,784

Hard Times: The Divisive Toll of the Economic Slump by Tom Clark, Anthony Heath

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, British Empire, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, full employment, Gini coefficient, hedonic treadmill, hiring and firing, income inequality, interest rate swap, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, quantitative easing, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unconventional monetary instruments, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor

Looking across the population as a whole, the average satisfaction scores in this data lend support to a sanguine reading of the slump: the data tracks a little ripple of misery that arrived with the recession, but that very soon washes away.8 This fits with the so-called ‘setpoint theory’ of happiness, according to which expectations rise and fall automatically in line with the resources available. While the economy is booming, this tendency of the psyche to reset in line with rising affluence is known as the ‘hedonic treadmill’, since it demands that we acquire the extra stuff churned out by the economy simply to stand still in happiness terms.9 In general, that is a real bar to our enjoyment of the extra leisure that Keynes envisaged for future generations.10 In hard times, however, it could just be that the silver lining of this dark cloud shimmers through. Expectations adjust downward with income, and so, in no time at all – indeed, before the economy has even bottomed out – happiness starts bouncing back.

(i), (ii) Gallup polls (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Galton, Francis (i) GDP (gross domestic product) (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Geithner, Tim (i) gender divide (i) General Social Survey (GSS) (i), (ii), (iii) generational divide (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) Gen X (i), (ii), (iii) Gen Y (i) Germany employment protection (i), (ii) human unhappiness (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) inequality (i) social networks (i), (ii), (iii) social security (i), (ii) unemployment (i) girls, employment of (i) graduates (i), (ii), (iii) The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck) (i) Great Depression change in GDP (i), (ii) crime rates (i) death rates (i) Europe (i) and Great Recession (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) growth and national income (i) human unhappiness (i), (ii), (iii) hysteresis (i) lynchings (i) polarised public opinion (i), (ii) public policy (i) social mood (i) social networks (i), (ii), (iii) social security (i), (ii), (iii) Steinbeck on (i) unemployment (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) ‘Great Gatsby Curve’ (i) Great Hanshin earthquake (i) Great Recession change in GDP (i), (ii) economic gap (i) and Great Depression (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) growth and national income (i), (ii) human unhappiness (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) long shadow of class action (i) future generations (i) overview (i) unemployment (i) young people (i) low-grade jobs (i), (ii) polarised public opinion (i), (ii), (iii) post-recession agenda (i) Cameron conundrum (i) future policy (i) polarisation (i) public policy (i), (ii) social mood (i) social networks (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) social security (i) start of (i) unemployment (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) uneven impact (i) Greece (i), (ii), (iii) Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (i), (ii) Greenspan, Alan (i) Gregg, Paul (i) growth see economic growth Hacker, Jacob (i) Hansard (i) Hansard Society (i) happiness (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii) Happiness (Layard) (i) ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ song (i) hardship (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) Hatton, Timothy (i), (ii) health (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) healthcare (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) ‘hedonic treadmill’ (i) helping (informal volunteering) (i), (ii), (iii) Help to Buy (i) heritability of unemployment (i) Heritage Foundation (i), (ii) Hills, Sir John (i) Hispanic community (i), (ii) home ownership (i), (ii) Hoover, Herbert (i), (ii), (iii) household incomes (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) household leverage (i) housing costs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) home ownership (i), (ii) housing benefit (i) poverty (i) social housing (i) wealth reduction (i) human unhappiness (i) family life (i) overview (i) public policy (i) suicide (i) unemployment (i) well-being data (i) working population (i) hysteresis (i), (ii) identity (i), (ii) immigration (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) incapacity benefit (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) income (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) income distribution (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii) income support (i), (ii) inequality (i) causes (i) economic gap (i) income distribution (i), (ii) job insecurity (i) life satisfaction (i) polarised public opinion (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) post-recession agenda (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) poverty (i) public policy (i), (ii) social mobility (i), (ii), (iii) social security (i) unemployment (i) inflation (i), (ii), (iii) informal volunteering (helping) (i), (ii), (iii) insecurity austerity (i) class divide (i) human unhappiness (i), (ii), (iii) job insecurity (i) pay gap (i) polarised public opinion (i) post-recession agenda (i), (ii), (iii) social networks (i), (ii) unemployment (i) Institute for Employment Research (i) Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) intergenerational income (i) investment (i) Ipsos MORI (i), (ii) Ireland (i) isolation (i), (ii) Italy (i), (ii) Japan (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) Jarrow March (i) job insecurity see insecurity Jobseeker's Allowance (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) jobs growth (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Kahn, Lisa (i) Kan, Naoto (i) Kantar (i) Keynes, John Maynard (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) King, Mervyn (i) Kobe (i) Komarovsky, Mirra (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii), (ix), (x) Krueger, Alan (i), (ii) Krugman, Paul (i) Labour Force Survey (i) labour market (i), (ii) labour productivity (i), (ii), (iii) ladder of opportunity (i) Layard, Richard (i) Lehman Brothers (i), (ii) Leunig, Tim (i) Lewis, Michael (i), (ii) life expectancy (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) life satisfaction (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) Lilley, Peter (i) living standards (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) Li, Yaojun (i) loans (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) London (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) lone parents (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) long-term unemployment (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) low-grade jobs (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) Machin, Stephen (i) Macmillan, Harold (i) macroeconomic policy (i) male employment (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) male suicide (i) manufacturing (i), (ii), (iii) ‘marginalised’ workers (i) Marie Antoinette (i) Marienthal hardship (i), (ii), (iii) human unhappiness (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) neighbours informing on each other (i) social networks and groups (i) unemployment (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) marriage rates (i), (ii), (iii) medical bills (i) medical staff (i) mental health (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Mexico (i) middle class (i), (ii) migration (i) minimum wage (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) mobility (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) monetary policy (i), (ii) money-saving activities (i) money supply (i) money worries (i), (ii), (iii) mortality rates (i), (ii) motivation (i) National Child Development Survey (NCDS) (i), (ii) National Conference on Citizenship (i) National Government (i) National Housing Federation (i) national income (i), (ii), (iii) National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (i) necessities (i), (ii) NEETs (not in education, employment or training) (i) neighbourliness (i), (ii), (iii) neoliberalism (i) net worth (i) New Deal (i), (ii) New Labour (i), (ii) New Right (i), (ii) New York Times (i) New Zealand (i) Nixon, Richard (i) Northern Rock (i) North–South divide (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Obama, Barack (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii) Occupy (i) OECD see Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development old age (i), (ii), (iii) O'Loughlan, Joel (i), (ii) optimism (i), (ii), (iii) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii) Orwell, George (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) Osborne, George (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii) Packer, George (i) Pakistani community (i) parental income (i), (ii), (iii) parenting (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) parent–teacher associations (PTAs) (i), (ii), (iii) participation careers (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) part-time work (i), (ii) path dependency (i) pay squeeze (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii), (ix) Peck, Don (i) pensions (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v) People's Budget (1909) (i) Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (i) Pew Center (i), (ii), (iii) Philip, Prince (i) Philpott, Mick (i) The Pinch (Willetts) (i) polarised public opinion (i) desired level of inequality (i) divided communities (i) economic divide (i) genetic discrimination in healthcare (i) post-recession agenda (i) social security (i), (ii) solidarity (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) unemployment (i) policy see public policy postal deliveries (i) poverty absolute poverty (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi) debt (i) health (i) housing costs (i), (ii) income distribution (i) losing face (i), (ii) low-grade jobs (i), (ii) post-recession agenda (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) public policy (i), (ii) relative poverty (i), (ii) social security (i), (ii) UK (i), (ii), (iii) unemployment (i), (ii) uneven impact of recessions (i) US (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) working population (i), (ii) poverty pay (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) pregnancy (i), (ii) Prescott, John (i) Priestley, J.B.


pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hedonic treadmill, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

They never find their killer application. Those technologies which do cross the chasm are then adopted by the “early majority”, then the “late majority”, and finally by the “laggards”. But by the time the early majority is getting on board the hype is already ancient history, and people are already taking for granted the improvement to their lives. The hype cycle has run its course. The hedonic treadmill is a name for the fact that most people have a fairly constant level of happiness (hedonic level), and that when something significant in our life changes – for good or bad – we quickly adjust and return to our previous level. When we look ahead to an anticipated event we often believe that it will change our lives permanently, and that we will feel happier – or less happy – forever afterwards.


pages: 432 words: 124,635

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, City Beautiful movement, clean water, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, East Village, edge city, energy security, Enrique Peñalosa, experimental subject, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, license plate recognition, McMansion, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, starchitect, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, wage slave, white flight, World Values Survey, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Analysis from free-market think tanks such as the Cato Institute assures us that “high levels of economic freedom and high average incomes are among the strongest correlates of subjective well-being,” which is to say that being rich and free should make us happier. So why wasn’t the half-century surge in wealth accompanied by a surge in happiness? What was counteracting the effect of all that money? Some psychologists point to the phenomenon dubbed the “hedonic treadmill”: the natural human tendency to shift our expectations along with our changing fortunes. The treadmill theory suggests that the richer you get, the more you compare yourself to other rich people and the faster the wheel of desire spins beneath your feet, so that you end up feeling as though you haven’t made any progress. Others blame the growing income gap, and the realization by millions of middle-class Americans that they were falling farther behind the richest members of society, especially during the last two decades.

But the average American now spends more than fifty minutes commuting. Return commute times have shot past sixty-eight minutes in the New York megalopolis, seventy-four minutes in London, and a whopping eighty minutes in Toronto. Dozens of studies have now confirmed beyond doubt what Atlantans know from experience: the obvious solution to congestion—building more roads—simply produces more traffic, creating a hedonic treadmill of construction and frustration. Happy Feet One group of commuters reports enjoying themselves more than everyone else. Their route to happy mobility is simple. These are people who travel on their own steam like Robert Judge. They walk. They run. They ride bicycles. Despite the obvious effort involved, self-propelled commuters report feeling that their trips are easier than the trips of people who sit still for most of the journey.


pages: 176 words: 54,784

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

false memory syndrome, fear of failure, hedonic treadmill, iterative process, Parkinson's law, Rubik’s Cube

Whatever makes us happy today will no longer make us happy tomorrow, because our biology always needs something more. A fixation on happiness inevitably amounts to a never-ending pursuit of “something else”—a new house, a new relationship, another child, another pay raise. And despite all of our sweat and strain, we end up feeling eerily similar to how we started: inadequate. Psychologists sometimes refer to this concept as the “hedonic treadmill”: the idea that we’re always working hard to change our life situation, but we actually never feel very different. This is why our problems are recursive and unavoidable. The person you marry is the person you fight with. The house you buy is the house you repair. The dream job you take is the job you stress over. Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice—whatever makes us feel good will also inevitably make us feel bad.


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Moreover, surprisingly, American women have become less happy in recent decades despite getting richer. Of course, it is possible to be rich and unhappy, as many a celebrity gloriously reminds us. Of course, it is possible to get rich and find that you are unhappy not to be richer still, if only because the neighbour – or the people on television – are richer than you are. Economists call this the ‘hedonic treadmill’; the rest of us call it ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. And it is probably true that the rich do lots of unnecessary damage to the planet as they go on striving to get richer long after the point where it is having much effect on their happiness – they are after all endowed with instincts for ‘rivalrous competition’ descended from hunter-gatherers whose relative, not absolute, status determined their sexual rewards.

Abbasids 161, 178 Abelard, Peter 358 aborigines (Australian): division of labour 62, 63, 76; farming 127; technological regress 78–84; trade 90–91, 92 abortion, compulsory 203 Abu Hureyra 127 Acapulco 184 accounting systems 160, 168, 196 Accra 189 Acemoglu, Daron 321 Ache people 61 Acheulean tools 48–9, 50, 275, 373 Achuar people 87 acid rain 280, 281, 304–6, 329, 339 acidification of oceans 280, 340–41 Adams, Henry 289 Aden 177 Adenauer, Konrad 289 Aegean sea 168, 170–71 Afghanistan 14, 208–9, 315, 353 Africa: agriculture 145, 148, 154–5, 326; AIDS epidemic 14, 307–8, 316, 319, 320, 322; colonialism 319–20, 321–2; demographic transition 210, 316, 328; economic growth 315, 326–8, 332, 347; international aid 317–19, 322, 328; lawlessness 293, 320; life expectancy 14, 316, 422; per capita income 14, 315, 317, 320; poverty 314–17, 319–20, 322, 325–6, 327–8; prehistoric 52–5, 65–6, 83, 123, 350; property rights 320, 321, 323–5; trade 187–8, 320, 322–3, 325, 326, 327–8; see also individual countries African-Americans 108 agricultural employment: decline in 42–3; hardships of 13, 219–20, 285–6 agriculture: early development of 122–30, 135–9, 352, 387, 388; fertilisers, development of 135, 139–41, 142, 146, 147, 337; genetically modified (GM) crops 28, 32, 148, 151–6, 283, 358; hybrids, development of 141–2, 146, 153; and trade 123, 126, 127–33, 159, 163–4; and urbanisation 128, 158–9, 163–4, 215; see also farming; food supply Agta people 61–2 aid, international 28, 141, 154, 203, 317–19, 328 AIDS 8, 14, 307–8, 310, 316, 319, 320, 322, 331, 353 AIG (insurance corporation) 115 air conditioning 17 air pollution 304–5 air travel: costs of 24, 37, 252, 253; speed of 253 aircraft 257, 261, 264, 266 Akkadian empire 161, 164–5 Al-Ghazali 357 Al-Khwarizmi, Muhammad ibn Musa 115 Al-Qaeda 296 Albania 187 Alcoa (corporation) 24 Alexander the Great 169, 171 Alexander, Gary 295 Alexandria 171, 175, 270 Algeria 53, 246, 345 alphabet, invention of 166, 396 Alps 122, 178 altruism 93–4, 97 aluminium 24, 213, 237, 303 Alyawarre aborigines 63 Amalfi 178 Amazon (corporation) 21, 259, 261 Amazonia 76, 138, 145, 250–51 amber 71, 92 ambition 45–6, 351 Ames, Bruce 298–9 Amish people 211 ammonia 140, 146 Amsterdam 115–16, 169, 259, 368 Amsterdam Exchange Bank 251 Anabaptists 211 Anatolia 127, 128, 164, 165, 166, 167 Ancoats, Manchester 214 Andaman islands 66–7, 78 Andes 123, 140, 163 Andrew, Deroi Kwesi 189 Angkor Wat 330 Angola 316 animal welfare 104, 145–6 animals: conservation 324, 339; extinctions 17, 43, 64, 68, 69–70, 243, 293, 302, 338–9; humans’ differences from other 1, 2–4, 6, 56, 58, 64 Annan, Kofi 337 Antarctica 334 anti-corporatism 110–111, 114 anti-slavery 104, 105–6, 214 antibiotics 6, 258, 271, 307 antimony 213 ants 75–6, 87–8, 192 apartheid 108 apes 56–7, 59–60, 62, 65, 88; see also chimpanzees; orang-utans ‘apocaholics’ 295, 301 Appalachia 239 Apple (corporation) 260, 261, 268 Aquinas, St Thomas 102 Arabia 66, 159, 176, 179 Arabian Sea 174 Arabs 89, 175, 176–7, 180, 209, 357 Aral Sea 240 Arcadia Biosciences (company) 31–2 Archimedes 256 Arctic Ocean 125, 130, 185, 334, 338–9 Argentina 15, 186, 187 Arikamedu 174 Aristotle 115, 250 Arizona 152, 246, 345 Arkwright, Sir Richard 227 Armenians 89 Arnolfini, Giovanni 179 art: cave paintings 2, 68, 73, 76–7; and commerce 115–16; symbolism in 136; as unique human trait 4 Ashur, Assyria 165 Asimov, Isaac 354 Asoka the Great 172–3 aspirin 258 asset price inflation 24, 30 Assyrian empire 161, 165–6, 167 asteroid impacts, risk of 280, 333 astronomy 221, 270, 357 Athabasca tar sands, Canada 238 Athens 115, 170, 171 Atlantic Monthly 293 Atlantic Ocean 125, 170 Attica 171 Augustus, Roman emperor 174 Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony 184–5 Australia: climate 127, 241, 300, 334; prehistoric 66, 67, 69–70, 127; trade 187; see also aborigines (Australian); Tasmania Austria 132 Ausubel, Jesse 239, 346, 409 automobiles see cars axes: copper 123, 131, 132, 136, 271; stone 2, 5, 48–9, 50, 51, 71, 81, 90–91, 92, 118–19, 271 Babylon 21, 161, 166, 240, 254, 289 Bacon, Francis 255 bacteria: cross fertilisation 271; and pest control 151; resistance to antibiotics 6, 258, 271, 307; symbiosis 75 Baghdad 115, 177, 178, 357 Baines, Edward 227 Baird, John Logie 38 baking 124, 130 ‘balance of nature’, belief in 250–51 Balazs, Etienne 183 bald eagles 17, 299 Bali 66 Baltic Sea 71, 128–9, 180, 185 Bamako 326 bananas 92, 126, 149, 154, 392 Bangladesh 204, 210, 426 Banks, Sir Joseph 221 Barigaza (Bharuch) 174 barley 32, 124, 151 barrels 176 bartering vii, 56–60, 65, 84, 91–2, 163, 356 Basalla, George 272 Basra 177 battery farming 104, 145–6 BBC 295 beads 53, 70, 71, 73, 81, 93, 162 beef 186, 224, 308; see also cattle bees, killer 280 Beijing 17 Beinhocker, Eric 112 Bell, Alexander Graham 38 Bengal famine (1943) 141 benzene 257 Berlin 299 Berlin, Sir Isaiah 288 Bernard of Clairvaux, St 358 Berners-Lee, Sir Tim 38, 273 Berra, Yogi 354 Besant, Annie 208 Bhutan 25–6 Bible 138, 168, 396 bicycles 248–9, 263, 269–70 bin Laden, Osama 110 biofuels 149, 236, 238, 239, 240–43, 246, 300, 339, 343, 344, 346, 393 Bird, Isabella 197–8 birds: effects of pollution on 17, 299; killed by wind turbines 239, 409; nests 51; sexual differences 64; songbirds 55; see also individual species bireme galleys 167 Birmingham 223 birth control see contraception birth rates: declining 204–212; and food supply 192, 208–9; and industrialisation 202; measurement of 205, 403; population control policies 202–4, 208; pre-industrial societies 135, 137; and television 234; and wealth 200–201, 204, 205–6, 209, 211, 212; see also population growth Black Death 181, 195–6, 197, 380 Black Sea 71, 128, 129, 170, 176, 180 blogging 257 Blombos Cave, South Africa 53, 83 blood circulation, discovery of 258 Blunt, John 29 boat-building 167, 168, 177; see also canoes; ship-building Boers 321, 322 Bohemia 222 Bolivia 315, 324 Bolsheviks 324 Borlaug, Norman 142–3, 146 Borneo 339 Bosch, Carl 140, 412 Botswana 15, 316, 320–22, 326 Bottger, Johann Friedrich 184–5 Boudreaux, Don 21, 214 Boulton, Matthew 221, 256, 413–14 bows and arrows 43, 62, 70, 82, 137, 251, 274 Boxgrove hominids 48, 50 Boyer, Stanley 222, 405 Boyle, Robert 256 Bradlaugh, Charles 208 brain size 3–4, 48–9, 51, 55 Bramah, Joseph 221 Branc, Slovakia 136 Brand, Stewart 154, 189, 205 Brando, Marlon 110 brass 223 Brazil 38, 87, 123, 190, 240, 242, 315, 358 bread 38, 124, 140, 158, 224, 286, 392 bridges, suspension 283 Brin, Sergey 221, 405 Britain: affluence 12, 16, 224–5, 236, 296–7; birth rates 195, 200–201, 206, 208, 227; British exceptionalism 200–202, 221–2; climate change policy 330–31; consumer prices 24, 224–5, 227, 228; copyright system 267; enclosure acts 226, 323, 406; energy use 22, 231–2, 232–3, 342–3, 368, 430; ‘glorious revolution’ (1688) 223; income equality 18–19, 218; industrial revolution 201–2, 216–17, 220–32, 255–6, 258–9; life expectancy 15, 17–18; National Food Service 268; National Health Service 111, 261; parliamentary reform 107; per capita income 16, 218, 227, 285, 404–5; productivity 112; property rights 223, 226, 323–4; state benefits 16; tariffs 185–6, 186–7, 223; see also England; Scotland; Wales British Empire 161, 322 bronze 164, 168, 177 Brosnan, Sarah 59 Brown, Lester 147–8, 281–2, 300–301 Brown, Louise 306 Bruges 179 Brunel, Sir Marc 221 Buddhism 2, 172, 357 Buddle, John 412 Buffett, Warren 106, 268 Bulgaria 320 Burkina Faso 154 Burma 66, 67, 209, 335 Bush, George W. 161 Butler, Eamonn 105, 249 Byblos 167 Byzantium 176, 177, 179 cabbages 298 ‘Caesarism’ 289 Cairo 323 Calcutta 190, 315 Calico Act (1722) 226 Califano, Joseph 202–3 California: agriculture 150; Chumash people 62, 92–3; development of credit card 251, 254; Mojave Desert 69; Silicon Valley 221–2, 224, 257, 258, 259, 268 Cambodia 14, 315 camels 135, 176–7 camera pills 270–71 Cameroon 57 Campania 174, 175 Canaanites 166, 396 Canada 141, 169, 202, 238, 304, 305 Canal du Midi 251 cancer 14, 18, 293, 297–9, 302, 308, 329 Cannae, battle of 170 canning 186, 258 canoes 66, 67, 79, 82 capitalism 23–4, 101–4, 110, 115, 133, 214, 258–62, 291–2, 311; see also corporations; markets ‘Captain Swing’ 283 capuchin monkeys 96–7, 375 Caral, Peru 162–3 carbon dioxide emissions 340–47; absorption of 217; and agriculture 130, 337–8; and biofuels 242; costs of 331; and economic growth 315, 332; and fossil fuels 237, 315; and local sourcing of goods 41–2; taxes 346, 356 Cardwell’s Law 411 Caribbean see West Indies Carnegie, Andrew 23 Carney, Thomas 173 carnivorism 51, 60, 62, 68–9, 147, 156, 241, 376 carrots 153, 156 cars: biofuel for 240, 241; costs of 24, 252; efficiency of 252; future production 282, 355; hybrid 245; invention of 189, 270, 271; pollution from 17, 242; sport-utility vehicles 45 The Rational Optimist 424 Carson, Rachel 152, 297–8 Carter, Jimmy 238 Carthage 169, 170, 173 Cartwright, Edmund 221, 263 Castro, Fidel 187 Catalhoyuk 127 catallaxy 56, 355–9 Catholicism 105, 208, 306 cattle 122, 132, 145, 147, 148, 150, 197, 321, 336; see also beef Caucasus 237 cave paintings 2, 68, 73, 76–7 Cavendish, Henry 221 cement 283 central heating 16, 37 cereals 124–5, 125–6, 130–31, 143–4, 146–7, 158, 163; global harvests 121 Champlain, Samuel 138–9 charcoal 131, 216, 229, 230, 346 charitable giving 92, 105, 106, 295, 318–19, 356 Charles V: king of Spain 30–31; Holy Roman Emperor 184 Charles, Prince of Wales 291, 332 Chauvet Cave, France 2, 68, 73, 76–7 Chernobyl 283, 308, 345, 421 Chicago World Fair (1893) 346 chickens 122–3, 145–6, 147, 148, 408 chickpeas 125 Childe, Gordon 162 children: child labour 104, 188, 218, 220, 292; child molestation 104; childcare 2, 62–3; childhood diseases 310; mortality rates 14, 15, 16, 208–9, 284 Chile 187 chimpanzees 2, 3, 4, 6, 29, 59–60, 87, 88, 97 China: agriculture 123, 126, 148, 152, 220; birth rate 15, 200–201; coal supplies 229–30; Cultural Revolution 14, 201; diet 241; economic growth and industrialisation 17, 109, 180–81, 187, 201, 219, 220, 281–2, 300, 322, 324–5, 328, 358; economic and technological regression 180, 181–2, 193, 229–30, 255, 321, 357–8; energy use 245; income equality 19; innovations 181, 251; life expectancy 15; Longshan culture 397; Maoism 16, 187, 296, 311; Ming empire 117, 181–4, 260, 311; per capita income 15, 180; prehistoric 68, 123, 126; serfdom 181–2; Shang dynasty 166; Song dynasty 180–81; trade 172, 174–5, 177, 179, 183–4, 187, 225, 228 chlorine 296 cholera 40, 310 Chomsky, Noam 291 Christianity 172, 357, 358, 396; see also Catholicism; Church of England; monasteries Christmas 134 Chumash people 62, 92–3 Church of England 194 Churchill, Sir Winston 288 Cicero 173 Cilicia 173 Cisco Systems (corporation) 268 Cistercians 215 civil rights movement 108, 109 Clairvaux Abbey 215 Clark, Colin 146, 227 Clark, Gregory 193, 201, 401, 404 Clarke, Arthur C. 354 climate change 328–47, 426–30; costs of mitigation measures 330–32, 333, 338, 342–4; death rates associated with 335–7; and ecological dynamism 250, 329–30, 335, 339; and economic growth 315, 331–3, 341–3, 347; effects on ecosystems 338–41; and food supply 337–8; and fossil fuels 243, 314, 342, 346, 426; historic 194, 195, 329, 334, 426–7; pessimism about 280, 281, 314–15, 328–9; prehistoric 54, 65, 125, 127, 130, 160, 329, 334, 339, 340, 352; scepticism about 111, 329–30, 426; solutions to 8, 315, 345–7 Clinton, Bill 341 Clippinger, John 99 cloth trade 75, 159, 160, 165, 172, 177, 180, 194, 196, 225, 225–9, 232 clothes: Britain 224, 225, 227; early homo sapiens 71, 73; Inuits 64; metal age 122; Tasmanian natives 78 clothing prices 20, 34, 37, 40, 227, 228 ‘Club of Rome’ 302–3 coal: and economic take-off 201, 202, 213, 214, 216–17; and generation of electricity 233, 237, 239, 240, 304, 344; and industrialisation 229–33, 236, 407; prices 230, 232, 237; supplies 302–3 coal mining 132, 230–31, 237, 239, 257, 343 Coalbrookdale 407 Cobb, Kelly 35 Coca-Cola (corporation) 111, 263 coffee 298–9, 392 Cohen, Mark 135 Cold War 299 collective intelligence 5, 38–9, 46, 56, 83, 350–52, 355–6 Collier, Paul 315, 316–17 colonialism 160, 161, 187, 321–2; see also imperialism Colorado 324 Columbus, Christopher 91, 184 combine harvesters 158, 392 combined-cycle turbines 244, 410 commerce see trade Commoner, Barry 402 communism 106, 336 Compaq (corporation) 259 computer games 273, 292 computers 2, 3, 5, 211, 252, 260, 261, 263–4, 268, 282; computing power costs 24; information storage capacities 276; silicon chips 245, 263, 267–8; software 99, 257, 272–3, 304, 356; Y2K bug 280, 290, 341; see also internet Confucius 2, 181 Congo 14–15, 28, 307, 316 Congreve, Sir William 221 Connelly, Matthew 204 conservation, nature 324, 339; see also wilderness land, expansion of conservatism 109 Constantinople 175, 177 consumer spending, average 39–40 containerisation 113, 253, 386 continental drift 274 contraception 208, 210; coerced 203–4 Cook, Captain James 91 cooking 4, 29, 38, 50, 51, 52, 55, 60–61, 64, 163, 337 copper 122, 123, 131–2, 160, 162, 164, 165, 168, 213, 223, 302, 303 copyright 264, 266–7, 326 coral reefs 250, 339–40, 429–30 Cordoba 177 corn laws 185–6 Cornwall 132 corporations 110–116, 355; research and development budgets 260, 262, 269 Cosmides, Leda 57 Costa Rica 338 cotton 37, 108, 149, 151–2, 162, 163, 171, 172, 202, 225–9, 230, 407; calico 225–6, 232; spinning and weaving 184, 214, 217, 219–20, 227–8, 232, 256, 258, 263, 283 Coughlin, Father Charles 109 Craigslist (website) 273, 356 Crapper, Thomas 38 Crathis river 171 creationists 358 creative destruction 114, 356 credit cards 251, 254 credit crunch (2008) 8–10, 28–9, 31, 100, 102, 316, 355, 399, 411 Cree Indians 62 Crete 167, 169 Crichton, Michael 254 Crick, Francis 412 crime: cyber-crime 99–100, 357; falling rates 106, 201; false convictions 19–20; homicide 14, 20, 85, 88, 106, 118, 201; illegal drugs 106, 186; pessimism about 288, 293 Crimea 171 crocodiles, deaths by 40 Crompton, Samuel 227 Crookes, Sir William 140, 141 cruelty 104, 106, 138–9, 146 crusades 358 Cuba 187, 299 ‘curse of resources’ 31, 320 cyber-crime 99–100, 357 Cyprus 132, 148, 167, 168 Cyrus the Great 169 Dalkon Shield (contraceptive device) 203 Dalton, John 221 Damascus 127 Damerham, Wiltshire 194 Danube, River 128, 132 Darby, Abraham 407 Darfur 302, 353 Dark Ages 164, 175–6, 215 Darwin, Charles 77, 81, 91–2, 105, 116, 350, 415 Darwin, Erasmus 256 Darwinism 5 Davy, Sir Humphry 221, 412 Dawkins, Richard 5, 51 DDT (pesticide) 297–8, 299 de Geer, Louis 184 de Soto, Hernando 323, 324, 325 de Waal, Frans 88 Dean, James 110 decimal system 173, 178 deer 32–3, 122 deflation 24 Defoe, Daniel 224 deforestation, predictions of 304–5, 339 Delhi 189 Dell (corporation) 268 Dell, Michael 264 demographic transition 206–212, 316, 328, 402 Denmark 200, 344, 366; National Academy of Sciences 280 Dennett, Dan 350 dentistry 45 depression (psychological) 8, 156 depressions (economic) 3, 31, 32, 186–7, 192, 289; see also economic crashes deserts, expanding 28, 280 Detroit 315, 355 Dhaka 189 diabetes 156, 274, 306 Diamond, Jared 293–4, 380 diamonds 320, 322 Dickens, Charles 220 Diesel, Rudolf 146 Digital Equipment Corporation 260, 282 digital photography 114, 386 Dimawe, battle of (1852) 321 Diocletian, Roman emperor 175, 184 Diodorus 169 diprotodons 69 discount merchandising 112–14 division of labour: Adam Smith on vii, 80; and catallaxy 56; and fragmented government 172; in insects 75–6, 87–8; and population growth 211; by sex 61–5, 136, 376; and specialisation 7, 33, 38, 46, 61, 76–7, 175; among strangers and enemies 87–9; and trust 100; and urbanisation 164 DNA: forensic use 20; gene transfer 153 dogs 43, 56, 61, 84, 125 Doll, Richard 298 Dolphin, HMS 169 dolphins 3, 87 Domesday Book 215 Doriot, Georges 261 ‘dot-communism’ 356 Dover Castle 197 droughts: modern 241, 300, 334; prehistoric 54, 65, 334 drug crime 106, 186 DuPont (corporation) 31 dyes 167, 225, 257, 263 dynamos 217, 233–4, 271–2, 289 dysentery 157, 353 eagles 17, 239, 299, 409 East India Company 225, 226 Easter Island 380 Easterbrook, Greg 294, 300, 370 Easterlin, Richard 26 Easterly, William 318, 411 eBay (corporation) 21, 99, 100, 114, 115 Ebla, Syria 164 Ebola virus 307 economic booms 9, 29, 216 economic crashes 7–8, 9, 193; credit crunch (2008) 8–10, 28–9, 31, 100, 102, 316, 355, 399, 411; see also depressions (economic) ecosystems, dynamism of 250–51, 303, 410 Ecuador 87 Edinburgh Review 285 Edison, Thomas 234, 246, 272, 412 education: Africa 320; Japan 16; measuring value of 117; and population control 209, 210; universal access 106, 235; women and 209, 210 Edwards, Robert 306 Eemian interglacial period 52–3 Egypt: ancient 161, 166, 167, 170, 171, 192, 193, 197, 270, 334; Mamluk 182; modern 142, 154, 192, 301, 323; prehistoric 44, 45, 125, 126; Roman 174, 175, 178 Ehrenreich, Barbara 291 Ehrlich, Anne 203, 301–2 Ehrlich, Paul 143, 190, 203, 207, 301–2, 303 electric motors 271–2, 283 electricity 233–5, 236, 237, 245–6, 337, 343–4; costs 23; dynamos 217, 233–4, 271–2, 289 elephants 51, 54, 69, 303, 321 Eliot, T.S. 289 email 292 emigration 199–200, 202; see also migrations empathy 94–8 empires, trading 160–61; see also imperialism enclosure acts 226, 323, 406 endocrine disruptors 293 Engels, Friedrich 107–8, 136 England: agriculture 194–6, 215; infant mortality 284; law 118; life expectancy 13, 284; medieval population 194–7; per capita income 196; scientific revolution 255–7; trade 75, 89, 104, 106, 118, 169, 194; see also Britain Enron (corporation) 29, 111, 385 Erie, Lake 17 Erie Canal 139, 283 ethanol 240–42, 300 Ethiopia 14, 316, 319; prehistoric 52, 53, 129 eugenics 288, 329 Euphrates river 127, 158, 161, 167, 177 evolution, biological 5, 6, 7, 49–50, 55–6, 75, 271, 350 Ewald, Paul 309 exchange: etiquette and ritual of 133–4; and innovation 71–2, 76, 119, 167–8, 251, 269–74; and pre-industrial economies 133–4; and property rights 324–5; and rule of law 116, 117–18; and sexual division of labour 65; and specialisation 7, 10, 33, 35, 37–8, 46, 56, 58, 75, 90, 132–3, 350–52, 355, 358–9; and trust 98–100, 103, 104; as unique human trait 56–60; and virtue 100–104; see also bartering; markets; trade executions 104 extinctions 17, 43, 64, 68, 69–70, 243, 293, 302, 338–9 Exxon (corporation) 111, 115 eye colour 129 Ezekiel 167, 168 Facebook (website) 262, 268, 356 factories 160, 214, 218, 219–20, 221, 223, 256, 258–9, 284–5 falcons 299 family formation 195, 209–210, 211, 227 famines: modern 141, 143, 154, 199, 203, 302; pessimism about 280, 281, 284, 290, 300–302, 314; pre-industrial 45, 139, 195, 197 Faraday, Michael 271–2 Fargione, Joseph 242 farming: battery 104, 145–6; free-range 146, 308; intensive 143–9; organic 147, 149–52, 393; slash-and-burn 87, 129, 130; subsidies 188, 328; subsistence 87, 138, 175–6, 189, 192, 199–200; see also agriculture; food supply fascism 289 Fauchart, Emmanuelle 264 fax machines 252 Feering, Essex 195 Fehr, Ernst 94–6 female emancipation 107, 108–9, 209 feminism 109 Ferguson, Adam 1 Ferguson, Niall 85 Fermat’s Last Theorem 275 fermenting 130, 241 Ferranti, Sebastian de 234 Fertile Crescent 126, 251 fertilisation, in-vitro 306 fertilisers 32, 129, 135, 139–41, 142, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149–50, 152, 155, 200, 337 Fibonacci 178 figs 125, 129 filariasis 310 Finland 15, 35, 261 fire, invention of 4, 50, 51, 52, 60, 274 First World War 289, 309 fish, sex-change 280, 293 fish farming 148, 155 fishing 62, 63–4, 71, 78–9, 81–2, 125, 127, 129, 136, 159, 162, 163, 327 Fishman, Charles 113 Flanders 179, 181, 194 flight, powered 257, 261, 264, 266 Flinders Island 81, 84 floods 128, 250, 329, 331, 334, 335, 426 Florence 89, 103, 115, 178 flowers, cut 42, 327, 328 flu, pandemic 28, 145–6, 308–310 Flynn, James 19 Fontaine, Hippolyte 233–4 food aid 28, 141, 154, 203 food miles 41–2, 353, 392; see also local sourcing food preservation 139, 145, 258 food prices 20, 22, 23, 34, 39, 40, 42, 240, 241, 300 food processing 29–30, 60–61, 145; see also baking; cooking food retailing 36, 112, 148, 268; see also supermarkets food sharing 56, 59–60, 64 food supply: and biofuels 240–41, 243, 300; and climate change 337–8; and industrialisation 139, 201–2; pessimism about 280, 281, 284, 290, 300–302; and population growth 139, 141, 143–4, 146–7, 192, 206, 208–9, 300–302 Ford, Ford Maddox 188 Ford, Henry 24, 114, 189, 271 Forester, Jay 303 forests, fears of depletion 304–5, 339 fossil fuels: and ecology 237, 240, 304, 315, 342–3, 345–6; fertilisers 143, 150, 155, 237; and industrialisation 214, 216–17, 229–33, 352; and labour saving 236–7; and productivity 244–5; supplies 216–17, 229–30, 237–8, 245, 302–3; see also charcoal; coal; gas, natural; oil; peat Fourier analysis 283 FOXP2 (gene) 55, 375 fragmentation, political 170–73, 180–81, 184, 185 France: capital markets 259; famine 197; infant mortality 16; population growth 206, 208; revolution 324; trade 184, 186, 222 Franco, Francisco 186 Frank, Robert 95–6 Franken, Al 291 Franklin, Benjamin 107, 256 Franks 176 Fray Bentos 186 free choice 27–8, 107–110, 291–2 free-range farming 146, 308 French Revolution 324 Friedel, Robert 224 Friedman, Milton 111 Friend, Sir Richard 257 Friends of the Earth 154, 155 Fry, Art 261 Fuji (corporation) 114, 386 Fujian, China 89, 183 fur trade 169, 180 futurology 354–5 Gadir (Cadiz) 168–9, 170 Gaelic language 129 Galbraith, J.K. 16 Galdikas, Birute 60 Galilee, Sea of 124 Galileo 115 Gandhi, Indira 203, 204 Gandhi, Sanjay 203–4 Ganges, River 147, 172 gas, natural 235, 236, 237, 240, 302, 303, 337 Gates, Bill 106, 264, 268 GDP per capita (world), increases in 11, 349 Genentech (corporation) 259, 405 General Electric Company 261, 264 General Motors (corporation) 115 generosity 86–7, 94–5 genetic research 54, 151, 265, 306–7, 310, 356, 358 genetically modified (GM) crops 28, 32, 148, 151–6, 283, 358 Genghis Khan 182 Genoa 89, 169, 178, 180 genome sequencing 265 geothermal power 246, 344 Germany: Great Depression (1930s) 31; industrialisation 202; infant mortality 16; Nazism 109, 289; population growth 202; predicted deforestation 304, 305; prehistoric 70, 138; trade 179–80, 187; see also West Germany Ghana 187, 189, 316, 326 Gibraltar, Strait of 180 gift giving 87, 92, 133, 134 Gilbert, Daniel 4 Gilgamesh, King 159 Ginsberg, Allen 110 Gintis, Herb 86 Gladstone, William 237 Glaeser, Edward 190 Glasgow 315 glass 166, 174–5, 177, 259 glass fibre 303 Global Humanitarian Forum 337 global warming see climate change globalisation 290, 358 ‘glorious revolution’ (1688) 223 GM (genetically modified) crops 28, 148, 151–6, 283, 358 goats 122, 126, 144, 145, 197, 320 Goethe, Johann von 104 Goklany, Indur 143–4, 341, 426 gold 165, 177, 303 golden eagles 239, 409 golden toads 338 Goldsmith, Edward 291 Google (corporation) 21, 100, 114, 259, 260, 268, 355 Gore, Al 233, 291 Goths 175 Gott, Richard 294 Gramme, Zénobe Théophile 233–4 Grantham, George 401 gravity, discovery of 258 Gray, John 285, 291 Great Barrier Reef 250 Greece: ancient 115, 128, 161, 170–71, 173–4; modern 186 greenhouse gases 152, 155, 242, 329; see also carbon dioxide emissions Greenland: ice cap 125, 130, 313, 334, 339, 426; Inuits 61; Norse 380 Greenpeace 154, 155, 281, 385 Grottes des Pigeons, Morocco 53 Groves, Leslie 412 Growth is Good for the Poor (World Bank study) 317 guano 139–40, 302 Guatemala 209 Gujarat 162, 174 Gujaratis 89 Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden 184 Gutenberg, Johann 184, 253 Guth, Werner 86 habeas corpus 358 Haber, Fritz 140, 412 Hadza people 61, 63, 87 Haiti 14, 301, 315 Halaf people 130 Hall, Charles Martin 24 Halley, Edmond 256 HANPP (human appropriation of net primary productivity) number 144–5 Hanseatic merchants 89, 179–80, 196 Hansen, James 426 hanta virus 307 happiness 25–8, 191 Harappa, Indus valley 161–2 Hardin, Garrett 203 harems 136 Hargreaves, James 227, 256 Harlem, Holland 215–16 Harper’s Weekly 23 Harvey, William 256 hay 214–15, 216, 239, 408–9 Hayek, Friedrich 5, 19, 38, 56, 250, 280, 355 heart disease 18, 156, 295 ‘hedonic treadmill’ 27 height, average human 16, 18 Heller, Michael 265–6 Hellespont 128, 170 Henrich, Joe 77, 377 Henry II, King of England 118 Henry, Joseph 271, 272 Henry, William 221 Heraclitus 251 herbicides 145, 152, 153–4 herding 130–31 Hero of Alexandria 270 Herschel, Sir William 221 Hesiod 292 Hippel, Eric von 273 hippies 26, 110, 175 Hiroshima 283 Hitler, Adolf 16, 184, 296 Hittites 166, 167 HIV/AIDS 8, 14, 307–8, 310, 316, 319, 320, 322, 331, 353 Hiwi people 61 Hobbes, Thomas 96 Hock, Dee 254 Hohle Fels, Germany 70 Holdren, John 203, 207, 311 Holland: agriculture 153; golden age 185, 201, 215–16, 223; horticulture 42; industrialisation 215–16, 226; innovations 264; trade 31, 89, 104, 106, 185, 223, 328 Holy Roman Empire 178, 265–6 Homer 2, 102, 168 Homestead Act (1862) 323 homicide 14, 20, 85, 88, 106, 118, 201 Homo erectus 49, 68, 71, 373 Homo heidelbergensis 49, 50–52, 373 Homo sapiens, emergence of 52–3 Hong Kong 31, 83, 158, 169, 187, 219, 328 Hongwu, Chinese emperor 183 Hood, Leroy 222, 405 Hooke, Robert 256 horses 48, 68, 69, 129, 140, 197, 215, 282, 408–9; shoes and harnesses 176, 215 housing costs 20, 25, 34, 39–40, 234, 368 Hoxha, Enver 187 Hrdy, Sarah 88 Huber, Peter 244, 344 Hueper, Wilhelm 297 Huguenots 184 Huia (birds) 64 human sacrifice 104 Hume, David 96, 103, 104, 170 humour 2 Hunan 177 Hungary 222 Huns 175 hunter-gatherers: consumption and production patterns 29–30, 123; division of labour 61–5, 76, 136; famines 45, 139; limitations of band size 77; modern societies 66–7, 76, 77–8, 80, 87, 135–6, 136–7; nomadism 130; nostalgia for life of 43–5, 135, 137; permanent settlements 128; processing of food 29, 38, 61; technological regress 78–84; trade 72, 77–8, 81, 92–3, 123, 136–7; violence and warfare 27, 44–5, 136, 137 hunting 61–4, 68–70, 125–6, 130, 339 Huron Indians 138–9 hurricanes 329, 335, 337 Hurst, Blake 152 Hutterites 211 Huxley, Aldous 289, 354 hydroelectric power 236, 239, 343, 344, 409 hyenas 43, 50, 54 IBM (corporation) 260, 261, 282 Ibn Khaldun 182 ice ages 52, 127, 329, 335, 340, 388 ice caps 125, 130, 313, 314, 334, 338–9, 426 Iceland 324 Ichaboe island 140 ‘idea-agora’ 262 imitation 4, 5, 6, 50, 77, 80 imperialism 104, 162, 164, 166, 172, 182, 319–20, 357; see also colonialism in-vitro fertilisation 306 income, per capita: and economic freedom 117; equality 18–19, 218–19; increases in 14, 15, 16–17, 218–19, 285, 331–2 India: agriculture 126, 129, 141, 142–3, 147, 151–2, 156, 301; British rule 160; caste system 173; economic growth 187, 358; energy use 245; income equality 19; infant mortality 16; innovations 172–3, 251; Mauryan empire 172–3, 201, 357; mobile phone use 327; population growth 202, 203–4; prehistoric 66, 126, 129; trade 174–5, 175, 179, 186–7, 225, 228, 232; urbanisation 189 Indian Ocean 174, 175 Indonesia 66, 87, 89, 177 Indus river 167 Indus valley civilisation 161–2, 164 industrialisation: and capital investment 258–9; and end of slavery 197, 214; and food production 139, 201–2; and fossil fuels 214, 216–17, 229–33, 352; and innovation 38, 220–24, 227–8; and living standards 217–20, 226–7, 258; pessimistic views of 42, 102–3, 217–18, 284–5; and productivity 227–8, 230–31, 232, 235–6, 244–5; and science 255–8; and trade 224–6; and urbanisation 188, 226–7 infant mortality 14, 15, 16, 208–9, 284 inflation 24, 30, 169, 289 influenza see flu, pandemic Ingleheart, Ronald 27 innovation: and capital investment 258–62, 269; and exchange 71–2, 76, 119, 167–8, 251, 269–74; and government spending programmes 267–9; increasing returns of 248–55, 274–7, 346, 354, 358–9; and industrialisation 38, 220–24, 227–8; and intellectual property 262–7, 269; limitlessness 374–7; and population growth 252; and productivity 227–8; and science 255–8, 412; and specialisation 56, 71–2, 73–4, 76–7, 119, 251; and trade 168, 171 insect-resistant crops 154–5 insecticides 151–2 insects 75–6, 87–8 insulin 156, 274 Intel (corporation) 263, 268 intellectual property 262–7; see also copyright; patents intensive farming 143–9 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 330, 331, 332, 333–4, 338, 342, 347, 425, 426, 427, 428 internal combustion engine 140, 146, 244 International Planned Parenthood Foundation 203 internet: access to 253, 268; blogging 257; and charitable giving 318–19, 356; cyber-crime 99–100, 357; development of 263, 268, 270, 356; email 292; free exchange 105, 272–3, 356; packet switching 263; problem-solving applications 261–2; search engines 245, 256, 267; shopping 37, 99, 107, 261; social networking websites 262, 268, 356; speed of 252, 253; trust among users 99–100, 356; World Wide Web 273, 356 Inuits 44, 61, 64, 126 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 330, 331, 332, 333–4, 338, 342, 347, 349, 425, 426, 427, 428 IQ levels 19 Iran 162 Iraq 31, 158, 161 Ireland 24, 129, 199, 227 iron 166, 167, 169, 181, 184, 223, 229, 230, 302, 407 irradiated food 150–51 irrigation 136, 147–8, 159, 161, 163, 198, 242, 281 Isaac, Glyn 64 Isaiah 102, 168 Islam 176, 357, 358 Israel 53, 69, 124, 148 Israelites 168 Italy: birth rate 208; city states 178–9, 181, 196; fascism 289; Greek settlements 170–71, 173–4; infant mortality 15; innovations 196, 251; mercantilism 89, 103, 178–9, 180, 196; prehistoric 69 ivory 70, 71, 73, 167 Jacob, François 7 Jacobs, Jane 128 Jamaica 149 James II, King 223 Japan: agriculture 197–8; birth rates 212; dictatorship 109; economic development 103, 322, 332; economic and technological regression 193, 197–9, 202; education 16; happiness 27; industrialisation 219; life expectancy 17, 31; trade 31, 183, 184, 187, 197 Jarawa tribe 67 Java 187 jealousy 2, 351 Jebel Sahaba cemeteries, Egypt 44, 45 Jefferson, Thomas 247, 249, 269 Jenner, Edward 221 Jensen, Robert 327 Jericho 127, 138 Jevons, Stanley 213, 237, 245 Jews 89, 108, 177–8, 184 Jigme Singye Wangchuck, King of Bhutan 25–6 Jobs, Steve 221, 264, 405 John, King of England 118 Johnson, Lyndon 202–3 Jones, Rhys 79 Jordan 148, 167 Jordan river 127 Joyce, James 289 justice 19–20, 116, 320, 358 Kalahari desert 44, 61, 76 Kalkadoon aborigines 91 Kanesh, Anatolia 165 Kangaroo Island 81 kangaroos 62, 63, 69–70, 84, 127 Kant, Immanuel 96 Kaplan, Robert 293 Kay, John 184, 227 Kazakhstan 206 Kealey, Terence 172, 255, 411 Kelly, Kevin 356 Kelvin, William Thomson, 1st Baron 412 Kenya 42, 87, 155, 209, 316, 326, 336, 353 Kerala 327 Kerouac, Jack 110 Khoisan people 54, 61, 62, 67, 116, 321 Kim Il Sung 187 King, Gregory 218 Kingdon, Jonathan 67 Kinneret, Lake 124 Klasies River 83 Klein, Naomi 291 Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (venture capitalists) 259 knowledge, increasing returns of 248–50, 274–7 Kodak (corporation) 114, 386 Kohler, Hans-Peter 212 Korea 184, 197, 300; see also North Korea; South Korea Kuhn, Steven 64, 69 kula (exchange system) 134 !


pages: 678 words: 148,827

Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization by Scott Barry Kaufman

Albert Einstein, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, fear of failure, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, impulse control, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Rosa Parks, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

58 Also, there are plenty of examples of people who choose an “environmentally friendly” or “voluntarily simplistic” lifestyle, who also score high in life satisfaction despite their low income.59 In fact, research shows that, beyond a certain point, having more money can even be detrimental to growth and happiness. For one thing, more money tends to increase the materialistic drive, and materialism has been linked to decreases in happiness over time.60 We adapt quickly to the rewarding feeling of getting more money—what’s often referred to as the “hedonic treadmill”—leading to the constant feeling that no amount of money will ever be enough. As one team of researchers put it, “The cycle [of] . . . thrilling purchase, excitement fade, and subsequent desire for new material possessions . . . lends itself to materialism and decreased well-being.”61 More money also gives us more choices, and research shows that not only can more choices be overwhelming and stressful—“the paradox of choice”—but those who earn more than $100,000 a year spend more of their time engaging in unenjoyable activities (e.g., grocery shopping, commuting) and less time engaging in leisure than those earning less than $20,000 a year.62 More money also tends to make people less egalitarian and less empathetic toward strangers.63 Households that earn more than $100,000 a year donate a smaller percentage of their income to charity than those earning less than $25,000 a year.64 Even participating in an experience that makes you feel that you occupy a higher relative social class makes you less likely to give to charities than if you feel you are from a lower social class.

“evil,” 240–41 gossip, 43, 96–97 “gradient of autonomy,” 165 grandiose narcissism, 64, 71–76, 77, 78, 80, 122 Grant, Adam, 33, 166 Graves, Clare, 226 greed, 4, 131, 244 Greenberg, Jeff, 59 Griffiths, Roland, 209 grit and equanimity, 89, 171, 172–75, 178, 183 Grogan, Jessica, 185 Gross National Happiness, 237 group cohesion, 39–40, 44 growth, xviii, xix, xx, xxi, xxiv, xxv, xxvi, xxvii, xxviii, xxx–xxxi, xxxii, xxxiii–xxxiv, xxxv, xxxix, 29, 69–71, 72, 81, 81–185, 238 growth challenges, 279–309 growth-driven life motivations, 79, 80 growth-mindedness, 135 growth purchases vs. material purchases, 49–50 Haidt, Jonathan, 92, 201, 204, 206 “hangry” (from “hungry” and “angry”), 12 happiness, xx, xxi, xxv, xxvi, xxxiv, xxxvii growth, 84, 93, 100, 131, 132, 146–47, 153–54, 155–56, 170 healthy transcendence, 197, 208, 213, 214, 219, 223, 229, 237 security, 11, 26, 41, 43, 48–50, 51, 70, 79 Harari, Yuval, 213 Harlow, Harry, 35, 36, 54, 55 harmonious passion, 145, 171, 175–76 Hatt, Beth, 32 Hayes, Steven, 70 “health-fostering” victory, 215 health insurance, Americans’, 7 “healthy childishness,” 225 healthy transcendence, xxxi, 187–244 See also transcendence Heaphy, Emily, 42 heart disease and loneliness, 45 Heavy Head, Martin, 4 “hedonic treadmill,” 49 hedonism, 100, 229–30 Heitzman, A. Lynn, 240, 241, 243 “helicopter parenting,” 92 Herman Miller, 158 Herzog, Werner, 154 hierarchy of needs, xiii, xiv, xvi, xvii, xxi, xxiii–xxxix, xxxv, 7, 44, 148, 163, 167, 175, 185, 191, 219 “higher needs,” xv, xxviii high-quality connections, 42–45, 52 hippocampus, 25, 26–27 Hirsh, Jacob, 10 Hitler, Adolf, 167, 168 Hoffman, Edward, 150, 194 holistic perceiving, 222 Honnold, Alex (“No Big Deal”), 97–98, 99, 101 hope, 28, 30–34, 126, 129, 171, 177–78, 179, 228, 229, 237 Hope Scale, 178 Horney, Karen, xviii, xxiv, 83, 136 horticulturists (teachers, therapists, parents), xxiii hubristic pride, 79 human existence.


pages: 262 words: 78,781

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Braxton Irvine

Columbine, fear of failure, hedonic treadmill, Lao Tzu

Rather than feeling satisfied, we feel a bit bored, and in response to this boredom, we go on to form new, even grander desires. The psychologists Shane Frederick and George Loewenstein have studied this phenomenon and given it a name: hedonic adaptation. To illustrate the adaptation process, they point to studies of lottery winners. Winning a lottery typically allows someone to live the life of his dreams. It turns out, though, that after an initial period of exhilaration, lottery winners end up about as happy as they previously were.4 They start taking their new Ferrari and mansion for granted, the way they previously took their rusted-out pickup and cramped apartment for granted. Another, less dramatic form of hedonic adaptation takes place when we make consumer purchases. Initially, we delight in the wide-screen television or fine leather handbag we bought. After a time, though, we come to despise them and find ourselves longing for an even wider-screen television or an even more extravagant handbag.

After a time, though, we come to despise them and find ourselves longing for an even wider-screen television or an even more extravagant handbag. Likewise, we experience hedonic adaptation in our career. We might once have dreamed of getting a certain job. We might consequently have worked hard in college and maybe graduate school as well to get on the proper career path, and on that path, we might have spent years making slow but steady progress toward our career goal. On finally landing the job of our dreams, we will be delighted, but before long we are likely to grow dissatisfied. We will grumble about our pay, our coworkers, and the failure of our boss to recognize our talents. We also experience hedonic adaptation in our relationships. We meet the man or woman of our dreams, and after a tumul-tuous courtship succeed in marrying this person.

And if he is atop his Stoic game, he might go on to comment about what an astonishing thing glass vessels are: They are cheap and fairly durable, impart no taste to what we put in them, and—miracle of miracles!—allow us to see what they contain. This might sound a bit silly, but to someone who has not lost his capacity for joy, the world is a wonderful place. To such a person, glasses are amazing; to everyone else, a glass is just a glass, and it is half empty to boot. Hedonic adaptation has the power to extinguish our enjoyment of the world. Because of adaptation, we take our life and what we have for granted rather than delighting in them. Negative visualization, though, is a powerful antidote to hedonic adaptation. By consciously thinking about the loss of what we have, we can regain our appreciation of it, and with this regained appreciation we can revitalize our capacity for joy. One reason children are capable of joy is because they take almost nothing for granted. To them, the world is wonderfully new and surprising.


pages: 411 words: 80,925

What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers

Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bike sharing scheme, Buckminster Fuller, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, George Akerlof, global village, hedonic treadmill, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, information retrieval, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, out of africa, Parkinson's law, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Simon Kuznets, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, South of Market, San Francisco, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, web of trust, women in the workforce, Zipcar

And it is only getting worse, as indicated by the massive increase in depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, and obesity since the eighties.42 As political scientist Robert Lane comments in The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies, “The appetite of our present materialism depends upon stirring up our wants—but not satisfying them.”43 Economists describe this emotional phenomenon as the “hedonic treadmill.” We work hard to acquire more stuff but feel unfulfilled because there is always something better, bigger, and faster than in the present. The distance between what we have and what we want, the “margin of discontent,”44 widens as the number of things we own increases. In other words, the more we have, the more we want.45 We are taught to dream and desire new things from an early age, as we are frequently asked, “What do you want for Christmas?”


pages: 296 words: 82,501

Stuffocation by James Wallman

3D printing, Airbnb, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Black Swan, BRICs, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collaborative consumption, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Fall of the Berlin Wall, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, high net worth, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Hargreaves, Joseph Schumpeter, Kitchen Debate, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, McMansion, means of production, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, Paul Samuelson, post-industrial society, post-materialism, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, World Values Survey, Zipcar

And when the goods we buy fail to match up to those deep desires, instead of giving up on material goods, we just keep banging our heads against the wall and buying more. Mass-produced goods, which are the natural product of the system, are the worst of all. They are so stripped of meaning and novelty that they have little chance of genuinely exciting or inspiring us. “The monotony of mass production is fully matched,” Scitovsky wrote, “by the monotony of its product.” So we become quickly bored with the goods we have – sociologists call this hedonic adaptation – and in the search for novelty, move on to the next thing, and begin the process again. Even where material goods are helpful, by helping us signify status, they create more problems than they solve. Because in today’s meritocratic society, having goods signifies success and, equally, not having goods says failure. As a result, we are not only smugly or painfully aware of who is above or below us in the pecking order, we also know we can clamber up or slip down the rankings at any moment.

Even when experiences go badly wrong, our rose-tinted reinterpretations give them a positive spin. That camping holiday when all it did was rain, the bus trip when someone in the seat behind you threw up all the whole journey, the time you got laid off – somehow, those things, so awful at the time, never seem quite so horrific in the re-telling, do they? Material possessions are not as good as experiences because they are more likely to suffer from something psychologists call “hedonic adaptation”. Think of a new game or toy or mobile phone. You are, to begin with when you walk out of the shop, or just after the delivery man has been, very excited to have your shiny new thing. You play with it constantly, press buttons, learn how to use it, show it to friends. But as the days, weeks and months pass you get used to it, until, eventually, you do not even notice it anymore. You adapt to having it and, as you do, you get less and less pleasure from it.

Because if it is harder to say which experience is better or worse, it is less likely that you will regret your choice, or think that yours is less good and suffer the indignity of lower status. This, psychologists have found, makes it easier to be happy with what you chose and, therefore, more likely to be happy. As well as being more prone to positive reinterpretation, less likely to be dulled by hedonic adaptation, and harder to compare, experiences are also better because we are more likely to view them as contributing to, and part of, our identities. That is, we are more likely to think of them as part of what makes us who we are. Think of the last time you went to a fancy-dress party or climbed to the top of a hill or went to a sporting event. Hasn’t each one contributed to who you are in some way?


pages: 179 words: 59,704

Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living by Elizabeth Willard Thames

"side hustle", Airbnb, asset allocation, barriers to entry, basic income, buy and hold, carbon footprint, delayed gratification, dumpster diving, East Village, financial independence, hedonic treadmill, IKEA effect, index fund, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, McMansion, mortgage debt, passive income, payday loans, risk tolerance, Stanford marshmallow experiment, universal basic income, working poor

We’d drifted through these two years as mindless consumers, convincing ourselves that we needed, nay deserved, new iPhones and wall art. In the aftermath of closing on our house, we’d gone out to eat maybe once a week. But then we started to think, If it’s nice to eat out once a week, wouldn’t it be even nicer to get takeout another night, and nicer still to get lattes and scones every Saturday afternoon? What I didn’t know at the time is that Nate and I were victims of the hedonic adaptation that plagues our consumption-focused society. Hedonic adaptation is the concept that we calibrate ourselves to whatever we repeatedly do. If we constantly reward or treat ourselves (with restaurants and scones), we deaden our ability to derive true pleasure from those rewards. Then we require larger and more frequent rewards. It’s also a question of habit. We can acclimate ourselves to just about any level of expenditure or pleasure.

Like an addict, we start turning to money to solve more and more of our problems and to farm out more and more of our dissatisfaction with the life we’ve created and which we now must pay for. We become desensitized to pleasure and lose our capacity to experience joy from things we’d previously considered luxurious, such as a single restaurant meal a month. Nate and I realized we needed to disrupt this cycle of hedonic adaptation and recalibrate what brought us joy. Looking at every dollar we spent in a regular old month—not even a month when something noteworthy, like a friend’s wedding, happened—I felt like I do in the spring when I put on my bathing suit for the first time: exposed and larger than I had hoped. I was angry at myself. How had I let this lifestyle inflation happen? I’d considered myself a consummate frugalist.


pages: 913 words: 265,787

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, double helix, experimental subject, feminist movement, four colour theorem, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, Henri Poincaré, income per capita, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lake wobegon effect, lateral thinking, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Necker cube, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, random walk, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sexual politics, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, urban decay, Yogi Berra

There are many ways to become infinitely worse off (from an infection, starvation, getting eaten, a fall, ad infinitum) and not many ways to become vastly better off. That makes prospective losses more worthy of attention than gains; there are more things that make us unhappy than things that make us happy. Donald Campbell, an early evolutionary psychologist who studied the psychology of pleasure, described humans as being on a “hedonic treadmill,” where gains in well-being leave us no happier in the long run. Indeed, the study of happiness often sounds like a sermon for traditional values. The numbers show that it is not the rich, privileged, robust, or good-looking who are happy; it is those who have spouses, friends, religion, and challenging, meaningful work. The findings can be overstated, because they apply to averages, not individuals, and because cause and effect are hard to tease apart: being married might make you happy, but being happy might help you get and stay married.

., 1996. 378 Disgust: Rozin & Fallon, 1987; Rozin, 1996. 379 Eating insects: Harris, 1985, p. 159. 380 Grossing out the Yanomamo: Chagnon, 1992. 381 Learning what is good to eat: Cashdan, 1994. 381 Mom and Dad as food tasters: Cashdan, 1994. 383 Contamination by contact: Tooby & Cosmides, personal communication. 383 Animalitos and optimal foraging: Harris, 1985. 384 Ecology and food taboos: Harris, 1985. 386 Phobophobia: Coined by Richard Lederer. 386 Fears and phobias: Brown, 1991; Marks & Nesse, 1994; Nesse & Williams, 1994; Rachman, 1978; Seligman, 1971; Marks, 1987; Davey, 1995. 387 Lion phobia in Chicago: Maurer, 1965. 388 Relative rarity of screaming meemies: Rachman, 1978; Myers & Diener, 1995. 388 Monkeys learning snake phobias: Mineka & Cook, 1993. 389 Conquering fear: Rachman, 1978. 390 Happiness and social comparisons: Kahneman & Tversky, 1984; Brown, 1985. Violence and inequality: Daly & Wilson, 1988, p. 288. 391 Who is happy?: Myers & Diener, 1995. Heritability of happiness baseline: Lykken & Tellegen, 1996. 392 Gains versus losses: Kahneman & Tversky, 1984; Ketelaar, 1995, 1997. 393 Hedonic treadmill: Brickman & Campbell, 1971; Campbell, 1975. 394 Murray and Esther: From Arthur Naiman’s Every Gay’s Guide to Yiddish. 395 Crime and discounting the future: Wilson & Herrnstein, 1985; Daly & Wilson, 1994; Rogers, 1994. 395 Myopic discounting: Kirby & Herrnstein, 1995. 395 Self-control and rational consumers: Schelling, 1984, p. 59 396 Two selves: Schelling, 1984, p. 58. 397 The selfish replicator: Williams, 1966, 1992; Dawkins, 1976/1989, 1982; Dennett, 1995; Sterelny & Kitcher, 1988; Maynard Smith, 1982; Trivers, 1981, 1985; Cosmides & Tooby, 1981; Cronin, 1992. 397 Selection of replicators, groups, and branches: Gould, 1980b; Wilson & Sober, 1994; Dennett, 1995; Williams, 1992; Dawkins, 1976/1989, 1982. 400 Kin selection: Williams & Williams, 1957; Hamilton, 1963, 1964; Maynard Smith, 1964; Dawkins, 1976/1989; Trivers, 1985. 402 Reciprocal altruism: Williams, 1966; Trivers, 1971, 1985; Dawkins, 1976/1989; Cosmides & Tooby, 1992; Brown, 1985, p. 93. 404 Reciprocal altruism and the emotions: Trivers, 1971, 1985; Alexander, 1987a; Axelrod, 1984; Wright, 1994a.


pages: 468 words: 123,823

A People's History of Poverty in America by Stephen Pimpare

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, British Empire, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dumpster diving, East Village, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, hedonic treadmill, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, payday loans, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, union organizing, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration

In the mill village, where everyone lived this way, I had never thought anything about it. I didn’t even know we were poor. But when we moved, I felt surrounded by people who seemed incredibly wealthy and who made me feel terribly inferior because of the clothes I wore, the way I talked, and the food I ate.26 Moreover, living standards may be subject to what Richard Layard calls the “hedonic treadmill.” As he puts it, it’s “like alcohol or drugs. Once you have a certain new experience, you need to keep on having more of it if you want to sustain your happiness.”27 People adapt and adjust to their surroundings and to their living standards, and we know that people feel a loss more acutely than an equivalent gain.28 As Amartya Sen observes, “in a generally opulent country, more income is needed to buy enough commodities to achieve the same social functioning.”29 This is why many seek definitions of poverty that move beyond mere brute calculations of money income.30 One relative measure, and the one often used in international comparisons of poverty, is half the median income.


pages: 287 words: 81,014

The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane

airport security, cognitive dissonance, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, hedonic treadmill, Lao Tzu, Nelson Mandela, Parkinson's law, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, social intelligence, Steve Jobs

If you can access gratitude, an instant change will sweep through your body language from head to toe: your face will soften, your whole body will relax. Your body language will emanate both warmth and a particular grounded confidence that people will find very appealing. But few of us can simply decide to get into a state of gratitude. In fact, for most people, gratitude doesn’t come easy. Human beings are instinctively wired for hedonic adaptation: the tendency to take our blessings for granted.5 Telling yourself that you should be grateful is often counterproductive, as it only brings up guilt. Clients complain that when someone tells them “You should be grateful,” it only makes them feel worse: either resentful or guilty for not being grateful. One way to invoke a sense of gratitude is to focus on little things that are physically present.

., 101, 110, 203, 216 business, 100 business success, handling uncertainty and, 34 California, University of, at Berkeley, 11 calls, 96–97 calm, 172 candles, 174 Capone, Al, 169 Carnegie, Dale, 135, 168 Ceci, Stephen, 139 CEOs, 6, 116–17, 218 Chariots of Fire, 71 charisma: as applied science, 6 authority, 98, 104–7, 109–10, 112, 119, 167, 231 as believed innate, 2, 4 benefits of, 2–3 choosing right style of, 98–114, 166 conscious practice of, 11, 12, 14, 15, 34–35, 46, 50–51, 56, 57, 62–63, 64–65, 69–70, 77–79, 81, 83, 87, 88–89, 91–92, 96, 108, 119, 121–22, 140, 141, 152, 155, 159–60, 199, 217, 235–43 creating mental states of, 67–97 in a crisis, 201–5, 234 as critical in business, 3 downsides of, 206–21 experimenting with, 111, 113, 114 fluctuations in level of, 4 focus, 98–101, 103, 107, 109, 110, 112, 166–67, 181, 214, 231 kindness, 98, 102–4, 107, 109, 110, 112, 133, 158, 171, 175, 214, 231 learning of, 2, 4, 22 myths of, 9–12, 229 obstacles to, 27–42, 43–66, 67, 230 as originating in mind, 21–23 putting work into, 6 studies of, 5, 9, 10, 51 styles of, 98–114, 231 visionary, 98, 101–2, 103, 107, 108, 109, 110, 112, 136, 167, 231 warming up for, 93–97, 103, 172 chin, 162, 182 chromatic effects, 191 Chrysler, 137 Churchill, Winston, 10, 50, 112, 201 Clinton, Bill, 2, 6, 80, 109, 134–35, 208–9, 216–17 clothing, 19, 30, 42, 47, 102, 106, 118–19, 127, 159, 230, 233–34 authority status and, 105 cognitive reappraisal, 52–54 cognitive science, 11 Columbia University, 91 comedians, 193 comfort, 152 comfort zones, 64–65, 114, 151, 224 comparison, 37 compassion, 79–82, 83–84, 97, 103, 150, 176, 231, 239 self-, 84–90, 103, 181, 239 compliments, 134–36 confidence, 32, 39–41, 43, 60, 67, 69, 70, 92, 97, 142, 161, 172 authority confidence and, 104–7 kindness charisma and, 102–4 self-, 84, 85–86, 94–95 conscious mirroring, 146–50 consultants, 100 continuous partial attention, 16 conversations, 7, 123–26, 127, 232 exiting, 125–26, 127, 179–80 hostile, 100 cortisol, 38 creativity, 107 critical thinking, 106 criticism, 165, 175–80, 186 self-, 38–39, 40, 42, 50, 86–87, 90 Dalai Lama, 5, 19, 87, 88, 98, 103, 104, 112 Darius, 147–49 Darwin, Charles, 74 Deckers Outdoors, 83 dedramatize, 46, 59, 66, 198, 202 defensiveness, 177 Deloitte, 83 delving into sensations, 61, 62–64, 100, 129 DeNiro, Robert, 68 depersonalization, 176–77, 233 depression, 86, 90 desperation, 75 destigmatizing, 43–46, 47, 51, 58, 59, 65, 66, 198, 202, 236 Deutsche Bank, 124–25 Diana, Princess of Wales, 112 difficult people, 7, 165–72 discomfort, 47, 60–61, 66 delving into, 61, 62–64 destigmatizing, 43–46, 47, 51, 58, 59, 65, 66, 198, 202, 236 mental, 31–41, 43, 44, 65 physical, 28–31, 42, 43, 44, 59, 65, 66 practice with, 62–63, 64–65 Disraeli, Benjamin, 9, 20, 124, 133 dissatisfaction, 37, 40, 42 distractions, 15–16 dramatic pauses, 196–97 Drucker, Peter, 220 Edison, Thomas, 74 Egypt, 120 Ekman, Paul, 111n e-mails, 73, 97, 183, 185, 186 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 74 emotional contagion, 145–46, 164 emotions, 91, 144, 163, 211 empathy, 82, 145, 160, 170, 171, 176, 233 while delivering criticism, 175–76 facial expressions and, 174 energy, 92 engineers, 24 entertainment, 138, 142 enthusiasm, 139, 156, 185 envy, 207–11 equanimity, 201–2, 234 executive presence, 5 executives, 23 external skills, 23 extroverts, 108 eye contact, 111, 122, 153–56, 162, 164 “Eye of the Tiger” (song), 71 eyes, 28–29, 30, 31, 42 facial expressions, 14, 21–22, 38–39, 47, 91, 97, 111, 130–31 apologies and, 181 criticisms and, 179, 182 delayed, 184 empathy and, 174 Fauré, Gabriel, 196 fear, 40–41 feedback, 106, 107 Fehmi, Les, 154 Feuer, Michael, 184 fidgeting, 106, 149, 160, 161, 173 fight or flight, 5, 38, 41, 52, 117, 144, 159, 197 firelight, 174 fireside chats, 194 first impressions, 115–27, 149, 232 “firsts,” 177 Fisher, Helen, 153 “Flying” (song), 71 focus, 183–84, 191 focus charisma, 98–101, 103, 107, 109, 110, 112, 166–67, 181, 214, 231 Franklin, Benjamin, 167–68, 178 French Revolution, 201 frustration, 130 functional MRI scans, 80 funerals, imagining, 78–79, 83 Galbraith, John Kenneth, 115, 169 Gandhi, Mohandas, 112, 201 Gates, Bill, 19, 99, 112 Germer, Christopher, 87, 90 gestures, 139 Gilbert, Daniel, 16 Gilbert, Paul, 82 Gladstone, William, 9, 20 glucose, 29 goals, 107, 110, 113 Goldsmith, Marshall, 215, 220 Goleman, Daniel, 146 good feelings, 138, 142 goodwill, 79–82, 97, 103, 111, 114, 199, 231 criticism and, 182–83, 186 practice of, 81, 83 Google, 119, 135 gorilla exercise, 158, 159, 164, 193, 242 graffiti metaphor, 49, 50, 66 gratitude, 75–79, 97, 103, 231, 238 practice of, 77–79 gravitas, 92 Gross, James, 22n Gruenfeld, Deborah, 158, 159 Gulf War, 203 handshakes, 119–23, 127, 240 Hanson, Rick, 82 happiness, 53n, 81 Haque, Omar Sultan, 201 Harvard Business Review, 144, 146 Harvard Medical School, 55 Harvard University, 73, 91, 116–17 Hayes, Stephen, 49, 51 hedonic adaptation, 76 Hill, Napoleon, 74 Hitler, Adolf, 220 House, Robert, 3, 203 Howard, John Newton, 71 How to Win Friends and Influence People (Carnegie), 168 hugs, 73, 198 human resources, 116–17 hunter-gatherers, 117 Iacocca, Lee, 137 IBM, 99–100, 119 imaginary situations, 24–25, 26, 44, 55 compassion and, 83 funeral, 78–79, 83 immune system, 86 impact, 210 impatience, 63 impostor syndrome, 39–40, 41 income, 2 inferiority, 90 information, 138, 142 insecurity, 160 inspiring, 102 internal critic, 86 interrupting, 129, 130, 182 interviews, 38, 96–97, 113, 116–17, 119, 130, 159 intonation, 10, 106, 139–40, 141, 142, 194–95, 233, 241 introverts, 10, 98, 108 Iowa, University of, 119–20 iPhones, 189 iPod Nano, 136 irritants, 192 irritation, 155 Izuma, Keise, 168 JALIR sequence, 210–11 Joan of Arc, 101, 112 Jobs, Steve, 2, 101, 108, 112, 146, 189–90 increasing charisma of, 4–5 presentations rehearsed by, 192 Jones, Franklin, 175 Jones, Jim, 102 Jordan, Michael, 104, 216 Jungle Book, The (Kipling), 118 justification, 209 Keeler, Jack, 99–100 Kelleher, Herb, 146 Kennedy, John F., 129 Kerry, John, 107–8 Khurana, Rakesh, 215 kindness charisma, 98, 102–4, 107, 109, 110, 112, 133, 158, 171, 175, 214, 231 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 101, 112 Kipling, Rudyard, 118 Kosslyn, Stephen, 68 Krauss, Stephen, 70 Langer, Ellen, 25 language, 20, 136, 144, 186 Lao Tzu, 24 “lasts,” 177 leadership, 2, 3 compassion needed for, 83 Leahy, Robert, 32 lectures, 139–40 left frontal lobes, 88 life, enjoying, 17–18 limbic resonance, 146 Lincoln, Abraham, 74, 136 listening, 14, 17, 26, 100, 128–31, 142, 184, 231, 232, 241 Little Prince, The (Saint-Exupéry), 185 logic, 144, 163 lovable book, 90 love at first sight, 153 Lowndes, Leil, 185 Lurie, Bob, 40 Madonna, 98 Mao Zedong, 112, 220 marketing, 169 Martinez, Angel, 83 meditation, 12, 15, 16, 18, 45 meetings, 72–73, 96–97 memory cards, 189–90 mental discomfort, 31–41, 43, 44, 65 metaphors, 189, 190, 233 Method acting, 12, 68 Metta, 87–90, 239–40 Michelangelo, 27 microexpressions, 22, 182 mindfulness discipline, 15, 45 Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, The (Germer), 87 mindset shift, 15–16, 224 mind wandering, 16 mirror, 155 mirror neurons, 145 Miss Piggy, 92–93 MIT, 73 MIT Media Lab, 20, 126, 140 moms, 3 Monitor Group, 40 Monroe, Marilyn, 1, 4 Multiple Sclerosis Association, 203 Muppet Show, The, 92–93 music, 70–71, 95, 96, 174 Musk, Elon, 98–99 Mussolini, Benito, 104, 220 Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 74, 201, 204 narcissism, 85 neediness, 75 Neff, Kristin, 86 negative associations, 131–34, 142 negativity, 37, 38–39, 40, 42, 46 neutralizing, 47–51, 58, 59, 65, 66, 202, 236 suppressing, 52 negativity bias, 48–49 negotiations, 100, 130 NeuroLeadership Institute, 38 neuronal connections, 68 neuroscience, 11 Newman, Paul, 68 New Scholars, 147–49 New York Times, 188 Ney, Marshal, 204 Nicklaus, Jack, 67 nocebo effect, 25–26 nodding, 10, 106, 149, 160, 161, 162, 164 numbers, 189–90 Obama, Barack, 109 Ochsner, Kevin, 22n OfficeMax, 184 Onassis, Aristotle, 153–54 open-ended questions, 123 Oracle, 119 oscillators, 146 outgoing personalities, 10 owning the stage, 193–94 oxytocin, 73, 170, 198 Paramount Equity, 109, 215 Parkinson’s Law, 55 patience, 100, 103 pauses, 10, 106, 130–31, 141, 234 pausing, 129 in presentations, 196–97 Pavlov, Ivan, 132 PayPal, 98 Penn, Sean, 68 performance, 53, 58 performance review, 174 Perot, Ross, 216 Persia, 132 personality, 10, 107–10, 113 personal magnetism, 6 personal space, 150–53 Peter Pan, 71 phenylethylamine (PEA), 153 phones, 183–85, 186 physical discomfort, 28–31, 42, 43, 59, 65, 66 physicians, 3 pictures, 136–39, 142 pitch, 140 placebo effect, 25, 26, 36, 55, 74 Play-Doh, 173–74 posture, 21, 91, 97, 147, 149, 150, 156–63, 164 authority charisma and, 106 in presentations, 198 Powell, Colin, 5, 104, 112 power, 5, 6, 13, 18–20, 21, 26, 27, 31, 67, 94, 100, 130, 139, 142, 162, 191, 224, 229–30, 231, 234 praise, 207–11 presence, 5–6, 12, 13–18, 26, 27, 31, 63, 129, 142, 154, 224, 229–30, 235 anxiety and, 32 appearance of, 191 body language and, 21 focus charisma and, 100, 231 techniques for, 15 presentations, 7, 72, 187–200, 215, 232, 233–34 charismatic message in, 188–90 colors at, 191 mid-course corrections, 197–99 Q&As at, 190 rehearsals of, 192–93 supporting points in, 189 warmth in, 194–95 Rao, Srikumar, 53n rationalization, 170–71, 186 reality: mind’s view of, 47–49, 50 rewriting, 51, 52–58, 59–60, 65, 66, 202, 236–37 reassurance, 161, 162, 164 resentment, 57, 58, 75, 130, 207–11 resilience, 64–65 responsibility, 210 responsibility transfer, 34–37, 42, 45, 60, 100, 202, 235–36 Rice, Condoleezza, 5 Riggio, Ronald, 143–44 Rock, David, 38 Rocky III, 71 role-playing, 96 romance, 2, 174 Rome, 120 Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 136, 194 Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de, 185 sarcasm, 56 satisfaction, 58, 237 Schiro, Tom, 83 Schnabel, Arthur, 130 seating choices, 152–53, 242 Seinfeld, Jerry, 192, 193 self-acceptance, 85 self-compassion, 84–90, 103, 181, 239 self-confidence, 84, 85–86, 94–95 self-consciousness, 199 self-criticism, 38–39, 40, 42, 50, 86–87, 90 self-doubt, 39–41, 42, 43 self-esteem, 84–85, 94–95 self-evaluation, 85 self-warmth, 84 separation distress, 154 shame, 45–46, 50, 90 Sicilienne, The, 196 Sinatra, Frank, 198, 216 situations, 107, 110–13 smiling, 24, 141–42, 184 social comparison, 85 Social Intelligence, 146 social situations, 3 social skills, 23 social smile, 22 soft focus, 155 sounds, 15, 235 Southwest Airlines, 146 space, 158–59 speaking, 131–39, 142, 241 see also presentations Stalin, Joseph, 104, 220 Stanford Business School, 40 Stanford University, 157, 159 statistics, 189–90 status, 134, 160, 232 authority charisma and, 104–7, 231 stories, 189, 190, 233 Streep, Meryl, 68 stress, 2, 38, 41, 52, 53, 154–55 visualization and, 71 stress hormones, 38, 52, 170 stress system, 170, 174, 202 students, 3 suicide, 73 sympathy, 82 Tan, Chade-Meng, 45–46 teachers, 116 technical skills, 23 tempo, 140, 141, 142 tension, 59–60, 61 Teresa, Mother, 88, 112 Tesla Motors, 98–99 Texas, University of, 116 Thatcher, Margaret, 112 Thich Nhat Hanh, 44 threat response, 38 tone, 140 apologies and, 181 criticism and, 179 Tonight Show, The, 192 Top Gun, 71 traffic, 56 true smile, 24 trust, 2, 152 uncertainty, 32–37, 42, 101, 167 Uslan, Michael, 40 Vangelis, 71 vision, 203–5, 231, 234 visionary, 210 visionary charisma, 98, 101–2, 103, 107, 108, 109, 110, 112, 136, 167, 231 visualization, 67–74, 96, 231, 238 body language and, 68, 69, 73, 97 of funeral, 78–79, 83 of goodwill, 81 of historical counselors, 74 of invisible angel wings, 81, 158, 171, 174, 194 kindness charisma and, 103 before meetings, 72–73 of Metta, 88–89 for phone calls and e-mails, 183 practice for, 69 before presentations, 72 voice, 21, 139–42, 182 volume, 140–41, 193–94 vulnerability, 216–18, 221, 243 Walmart, 198 Walton, Sam, 198, 216 warming up, 93–97, 103, 172 warmth, 5, 6, 13, 18–20, 26, 27, 67, 74, 81, 92, 94, 97, 101, 106, 109, 123, 130, 139, 142, 150, 155, 156, 158, 161, 162, 163, 164, 172, 176, 182, 224, 229–30, 231, 232 anxiety and, 32 body language and, 21, 234 criticism and, 179 focus charisma and, 100 handshakes and, 121 kindness charisma and, 102–4, 231 on phone, 185 in presentations, 191, 194–95, 197 self-, 84 vocal, 141–42 Weiss, Alan, 144 white knights, 120 Williams, Redford, 170 willpower, 94 Winfrey, Oprah, 75, 108, 109, 110–11 Wise Brain Bulletin, 73 Wiseman Institute, 80 worst-case scenario, 50, 51 writing, 54, 56, 57


pages: 512 words: 165,704

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, call centre, cellular automata, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, congestion charging, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, DARPA: Urban Challenge, endowment effect, extreme commuting, fundamental attribution error, Google Earth, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, Induced demand, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, megacity, Milgram experiment, Nash equilibrium, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, statistical model, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, traffic fines, ultimatum game, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, vol. 39, nos. 2–3 (2005), pp. 183–203. rational perspective: Alois Stutzer and Bruno S. Frey, “Stress That Doesn’t Pay Off: The Commuting Paradox” (September 2004), IZA Discussion Paper No. 1278, Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 151. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=408220. grown the most: Robert H. Frank, Falling Behind (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2007), p. 82. “hedonic adaptation”: See S. Frederick and G. Loewenstein, “Hedonic Adaptation,” in Scientific Perspectives on Enjoyment, Suffering, and Well-Being, ed. D. Kahneman, E. Diener, and N. Schwartz (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999), pp. 303–29. more prone it is to variability: Nancy McGuckin and Nandu Srinivasan, “The Journey-to-Work in the Context of Daily Travel,” paper presented at the Transportation Research Board meeting, 2005. Washington, D.C.

This, however, is where things start to go wrong, according to many psychologists. A commuter who lives in the older suburb of Eagle Glen decides he wants to move to a new, bigger house in Fledgling Ridge. Getting the bigger house requires adding twenty minutes to his commute. This seems worth it because the bigger house provides such a boost to his quality of life. But gradually, that rosy glow fades. He quickly undergoes what psychologists call “hedonic adaptation.” Suddenly, the newer, bigger house just seems normal. Everyone else has the same newer, bigger house. Meanwhile, the commuter has lost time (more of which cannot be made, unlike money). This means less time to do the things that are shown to actually bring happiness. He’s locked into a longer commute, and studies show that the longer a commute is, the more prone it is to variability—to be longer or shorter than you expect.


pages: 325 words: 97,162

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life. by Robin Sharma

Albert Einstein, dematerialisation, epigenetics, Grace Hopper, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, index card, invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, large denomination, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Rosa Parks, telemarketer, white picket fence

He blew some dirt off the letter that corresponded with this magic charm and held it up for his students to see. Here’s how it read: The Billionaire’s Maxim #8 Continue Raising Your Life Standards Toward Absolute World-Class. Hedonic adaptation describes the psychological circumstance where human beings adapt to environmental and life changes. You receive the pay raise you’ve wanted for years, and you’re overjoyed for a day. Then, this new income level becomes your new normal. The joy you felt fades. Or, you move into a noisy apartment close to train tracks, yet over time you stop hearing the trains. Or maybe the dream car you just purchased staggers you with excitement until, after a few weeks, it becomes just another part of the scenery. These are examples of hedonic adaptation in operation. And the phenomenon unfolds for each of us, inside all our lives. One antidote to this human way of existing is to constantly increase your personal standards and raise the quality of your life.


Tyler Cowen - Stubborn Attachments A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals by Meg Patrick

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, Fall of the Berlin Wall, framing effect, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, Peter Singer: altruism, rent-seeking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, zero-sum game

“Measuring Intergenerational Time Preference: Are Future Lives Valued Less?” The Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 2003, 26, 1, 39-53. Frederick, Shane, “Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2005, 19, 4, 25-42. Frederick, Shane. “Valuing Future Life and Future Lives: A Framework for Understanding Discounting.” Journal of Economic Psychology, 2006, 27, 667-680. Frederick, Shane, and George Loewenstein. 1999. “Hedonic Adaptation.” In Daniel Kahneman, Ed Deiner, and Norbert Schwarz (eds.) Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology (302-329). New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Frederick, Shane, George Lewenstein, and Ted O’Donoghue. 2002. “Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review.” Journal of Economic Literature 40(2): 351-401. Freeman, Samuel. "Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism is Not a Liberal View."


pages: 505 words: 127,542

If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan

Broken windows theory, business process, cognitive dissonance, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fundamental attribution error, hedonic treadmill, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Phillip Zimbardo, placebo effect, science of happiness, Skype, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

to experience the same psychological boost: Some of my own work has shown that people adapt to things quickly and need a new boost in the happiness- (or pleasure-) providing stimulus to experience the same level of happiness (or pleasure) again; see R. Raghunathan and J. R. Irwin, “Walking the Hedonic Product Treadmill: Default Contrast and Mood-Based Assimilation in Judgments of Predicted Happiness with a Target Product,” Journal of Consumer Research 28(3) (2001): 355–68. For a review of this topic (known as “hedonic adaptation”) see S. Frederick and G. Loewenstein, “Hedonic Adaptation,” in D. Kahneman, E. Diener, and N. Schwarz (eds.), Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999). lottery winners are no happier than nonwinners: An early paper to document this phenomenon has, as you may know, become a classic. P. Brickman, D. Coates, and R. Janoff-Bulman, “Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?


pages: 879 words: 233,093

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hedonic treadmill, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, off grid, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, scientific worldview, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social intelligence, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey

We continually adjust to each new income level, and what were formerly considered luxuries quickly become necessities. Layard sums up the happiness syndrome. He writes:So living standards are to some extent like alcohol or drugs. Once you have a certain new experience, you need to keep on having more of it if you want to sustain your happiness. You are in fact on a kind of treadmill, a “hedonic” treadmill, where you have to keep running in order that your happiness stand still. 66 The happiness syndrome locks people into a race to despair. There is no way to get ahead of the game and find true happiness. The solution, of course, is clear, but it fl ies in the face of the Enlightenment idea that continuous acquisition of wealth increases one’s sense of autonomy and freedom, provides pleasure, and makes a person more happy.


pages: 211 words: 69,380

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman

experimental subject, fear of failure, hedonic treadmill, Kibera, Lao Tzu, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, science of happiness, selection bias, Steve Jobs, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, traveling salesman, World Values Survey

Which brings us to an important milestone on the negative path to happiness – a psychological tactic that William Irvine argues is ‘the single most valuable technique in the Stoics’ toolkit’. He calls it ‘negative visualisation’. The Stoics themselves, rather more pungently, called it ‘the premeditation of evils’. The first benefit of dwelling on how bad things might get is a straightforward one. Psychologists have long agreed that one of the greatest enemies of human happiness is ‘hedonic adaptation’ – the predictable and frustrating way in which any new source of pleasure we obtain, whether it’s as minor as a new piece of electronic gadgetry or as major as a marriage, swiftly gets relegated to the backdrop of our lives. We grow accustomed to it, and so it ceases to deliver so much joy. It follows, then, that regularly reminding yourself that you might lose any of the things you currently enjoy – indeed, that you will definitely lose them all, in the end, when death catches up with you – would reverse the adaptation effect.


pages: 302 words: 87,776

Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter by Dr. Dan Ariely, Jeff Kreisler

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, bitcoin, Burning Man, collateralized debt obligation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, endowment effect, experimental economics, hedonic treadmill, IKEA effect, invisible hand, loss aversion, mental accounting, mobile money, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Thaler, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, the payments system, Uber for X, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

Baba Shiv (Stanford), Ziv Carmon (INSEAD), and Dan Ariely (MIT), “Placebo Effects of Marketing Actions: Consumers May Get What They Pay For,” Journal of Marketing Research 42, no. 4 (2005): 383–393. 12. Marco Bertini (London Business School), Elie Ofek (Harvard Business School), and Dan Ariely (Duke), “The Impact of Add-On Features on Consumer Product Evaluations,” Journal of Consumer Research 36 (2009): 17–28. 13. Jordi Quoidbach (Harvard) and Elizabeth W. Dunn (University of British Columbia), “Give It Up: A Strategy for Combating Hedonic Adaptation,” Social Psychological and Personality Science 4, no. 5 (2013): 563–568. 14. Leonard Lee (Columbia University), Shane Frederick (MIT), and Dan Ariely (MIT), “Try It, You’ll Like It,” Psychological Science 17, no. 12 (2006): 1054–1058. CHAPTER 12: WE LOSE CONTROL 1. Polyana da Costa, “Survey: 36 Percent Not Saving for Retirement,” Bankrate, 2014, http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/survey-36-percent-not-saving-for-retirement.aspx. 2.


pages: 297 words: 96,509

Time Paradox by Philip G. Zimbardo, John Boyd

Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, twin studies

Zanna, vol. 35 (New York: Elsevier, 2003). 13. D. L. Sackett and G. W. Torrance, “The Utility of Different Health States as Perceived by the General Public,” Journal of Chronic Disease 31: 697–704 (1978); P. Dolan and D. Kahneman, “Interpretations of Utility and Their Implications for the Valuation of Health” (unpublished manuscript, Princeton University, 2005); and J. Riis et al., “Ignorance of Hedonic Adaptation to Hemo-Dialysis: A Study Using Ecological Momentary Assessment,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 134: 3–9 (2005). 14. P. Menzela et al., “The Role of Adaptation to Disability and Disease in Health State Valuation: A Preliminary Normative Analysis,” Social Science & Medicine 55: 2149–58 (2002). 15. P. Dolan, “Modelling Valuations for EuroQol Health States,” Medical Care 11: 1095–1108 (1997). 16.


pages: 339 words: 105,938

The Skeptical Economist: Revealing the Ethics Inside Economics by Jonathan Aldred

airport security, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, clean water, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Diane Coyle, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, framing effect, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, new economy, Pareto efficiency, pension reform, positional goods, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, school choice, spectrum auction, Thomas Bayes, trade liberalization, ultimatum game

Posner (eds) Chicago, Chicago University Press Frank, R. (2004) ‘How not to buy happiness.’ Daedalus Spring: 69-79 Frank, R., T. Gilovich and D. Regan (1993) ‘Does studying economics inhibit cooperation?’ Journal ofEconomic Perspectives 7(2): 159-171 Frank, R., T. Gilovich and D. Regan (1996) ‘Do economists make bad citizens?’ Journal of Economic Perspectives 10(1): 187-192 Frederick, S. and G. Loewenstein (1999) ‘Hedonic adaptation’ in Well-Being: The Foundations ofHedonic Psychology. D. Kahneman, E. Diener and N. Schwarz (eds) New York, Russell Sage Frederick, S., G. Loewenstein and T. O’Donoghue (2002) ‘Time discounting and time preference.’ Journal ofEconomic Literature 40: 351-401 Frey, B. (1997) ‘A constitution for knaves crowds out civic virtues.’ Economic Journal 107: 1043-1053 Frey, B. and M. Benz (2004) ‘From imperialism to inspiration: A survey of economics and psychology’ in The Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy.


pages: 387 words: 120,155

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference by David Halpern

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, collaborative consumption, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, different worldview, endowment effect, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, IKEA effect, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, libertarian paternalism, light touch regulation, longitudinal study, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nudge unit, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, presumed consent, QR code, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, the built environment, theory of mind, traffic fines, twin studies, World Values Survey

In the words of a wonderful paper by Elizabeth Dunn and others, ‘If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right’.12 For example, it appears that you should buy your kids experiences, rather than things, if you want to make them and yourself happier. Figure 35. Average life satisfaction versus GDP by country. The size of the points indicates population size. (Based on original plot by Angus Deaton using Gallup data.) Importantly, people often habituate to many material goods and circumstances, a process known as hedonic adaptation. When you first get your new car, it is a real source of pleasure, but after six months of sitting in traffic just like in your old car, that early buzz has substantially faded away. Such adaptation was famously argued by Richard Easterlin to be the leading contender for why Americans’ happiness had failed to increase since the 1950s despite steady increases in GDP, coining the term the Easterlin paradox.


The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Donald Trump, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Georg Cantor, hedonic treadmill, Henri Poincaré, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, music of the spheres, Necker cube, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Schrödinger's Cat, social intelligence, social web, source of truth, stem cell, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind

Yet a repeated finding is that levels of happiness among the Japanese have not changed at all, and the latest data, before the current global economic crisis, showed a slight downturn.9 More recent evidence in Europe displays the same effect. The so-called Euro-Barometer surveys of satisfaction with life, covering fifteen European countries during the decade to 2000, shows four clusters, in each of which the consensus trend is horizontal or slightly negative.10 The hedonic treadmill makes sure of that: modern consumers everywhere are in a ‘permanent state of unfulfilled desire’.11 As usual Sam Johnson got there about a couple of centuries before the research: ‘Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment.’12 Geoffrey Miller, a psychologist who has specialised in research into happiness, has found that a person’s age, sex, race, income, geographic location, nationality, and education level have only trivial correlations with happiness, typically explaining less than 2% of the variance.