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The Science of Happiness: How Our Brains Make Us Happy--And What We Can Do to Get Happierby Stefan Klein
Synopses & Reviews
Clinical psychologists have been dealing with miserable feelings since their discipline was established. In the last 30 years, neuroscientists have made major headway in the understanding of the sources of anger, depression, and fear. Today, whole industries profit from this knowledge—producing pills for every sort of pathological mood disturbance. But until recently, few neuroscientists focused on the subject of happiness. Now, in The Science of Happiness, leading German science journalist Stefan Klein ranges widely across the latest frontiers of neuroscience and neuropsychology to explain how happiness is fostered in our brains and what biological purpose it serves (and, importantly, how we can control our negative feelings and emotions). In addition, he explains the neurophysiology of our passions (the elementary rules of which are hardwired into our brains), the power of consciousness, and how we can use it. In a final section, Klein explores the conditions required to foster the "pursuit of happiness." A remarkable synthesis of a growing body of research that has not heretofore been brought together in one accessible book, The Science of Happiness will ultimately help each of us understand our own quest for happiness—and our fostering of it, as well.
"A leading German science journalist explores the nature of happiness through the latest research in brain science in this instructive study. Positive and negative feelings, he says, are generated by different mental systems; thus, people whose right frontal lobe dominates tend to be more pessimistic, while those with a stronger left lobe are predisposed to optimism and self-confidence. Despite genetic programming, the author says, the brain is 'malleable,' and anyone with a desire for happiness is able to perceive and experience more pleasurable emotions. Drawing on complex experiments with animals, he suggests specific strategies to overcome depression, including engaging in activities, especially physical activities or simple tasks that easily offer a sense of success; and writing down negative thoughts, then marshaling the evidence against them. Klein looks at the complex relationship between income and satisfaction and the importance of self-determination and social connections. The surest path to happiness, Klein is convinced, is to know oneself. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Psychologists and neuroscientists have been studying negative emotions for decades, but until recently few have focused on the subject of happiness. Now, in
About the Author
Stefan Klein, PhD, was science editor of Der Spiegel, one of Germanys leading newsmagazines, from 19961999, and a staff writer with Geo magazine from 19992000, and he has also written for all of Germanys leading newspapers and magazines. Now a freelance writer in Berlin, he is considered one of the most influential science writers in German-speaking Europe. In 1998 he won the Georg von Holtzbrink Prize for Scientific Journalism. He is also the author of The Diaries of the Creation. He lives in TK. Translator Stephen Lehmann is the humanities librarian at the University of Pennsylvania. He co-translated Nietzsche's Human, All too Human and is the co-author of Rudolf Serkin: A Life. He lives in Swarthmore, PA.
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