Given the flood of behavioral economics books on the markets in recent years, I didn't find this book all too worthwhile. It spends an extended period...moreGiven the flood of behavioral economics books on the markets in recent years, I didn't find this book all too worthwhile. It spends an extended period of time at the beginning justifying its methodology and general paradigm, but makes many preposterous arguments in doing so. For instance, the ludicrously outdated, logical positivist notion that science is measurement. Or that any concept of ethics that isn't Gilbert's hedonistic utilitarianism is somehow unsatisfactory.
When it actually gets to the psychology, the book is fine but indistinguishable from so many on the market. I prefer ones with an equal dosage of psychology, but uses its bulk to also communicate an idea better than Gilbert's strange methodological proclivities. Examples would be Taleb's Fooled by Randomness and Thaler and Sunstein's Nudge.
Gilbert's writing is extremely readable but also obnoxious. He uses the same literary devices over and over and isn't nearly as cute or clever as he thinks he is. Seemingly every page contains a list of items X, Y, and Z, where X and Y are expected but Z is something zany. An editor should have caught this.
The book also does not quite provide what it advertises. It doesn't so much tell people what makes them happy as it tells them how their expectations of what will make them happy are biased.