Daily Archives: June 5, 2010

Daniel Kahneman’s Talk About The Science of Happiness, and Money’s Effect (and Lack Thereof)

This is a very interesting talk about the nature of happiness by Daniel Kahneman, behavioral economist and Nobel Prize winner.

Some key points:

– People have two selves: (1) an Experiencing Self, i.e. YOU, as you are reading this, feeling the feelings you feel in real time; and (2) a Remembering Self, i.e. the self we are when we look backward or forward, and think about how satisfied we are about something we did or plan to do.

– Spending time with people we like is the biggest factor that causes happiness in our experiencing self.

– Money earned above $60,000 annually does not increase happiness, according to scientific studies.

– However, poverty definitely causes unhappiness, with a person becoming progressively unhappier the further he or she falls below the $60,000 annual income mark.

An example that comes to my mind that sums this up: BP’s CEO’s Remembering Self probably feels very satisfied (understandably so) with his life accomplishments and earnings. But his Experiencing Self, not feeling much support from other people right now, is probably not happy, notwithstanding his income being substantially higher than $60k.

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