top of page

Happiness: What Your Mom Didn't Tell You


Dan Gilbert




Our cultures give us a lot of advice about how to find happiness. Science, however, suggests that much of that advice just isn‘t right.


Every one I have ever met, wants to know the secret of happiness, I have yet to find an exception. This seems like to all of us a timeless question. But in fact, this question is brand new, because all of your ancestors knew what the secret of happiness was. For most of human history, life was in the words of Thomas Hobbes, solitary, poor, brutish, nasty and short. That's right, most of your ancestors had about 70% of their children die before they reached adulthood, food was scarce, health was poor, a day of work was long. 

And when you got up in the morning, your entire to do list was trying not to die today. Basically, if you survived till the evening, it was a big success. And everybody knew what the secret of happiness was. Happiness is a mythical state that a human being could attain, if only he or she had everything they wanted. And that, of course, doesn't happen to human beings on earth, maybe in heaven, but not to anyone here. Happiness is what we get, if only we could get what we wanted. Well, fast forward 200,000 years, and suddenly, that hypothesis is put to a test. Because we have three revolutions.

bottom of page