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The Sweet Spot
Suffering, Pleasure and the Key to a Good Lifeav Paul Bloom199
Revealing the surprising roots of lasting happiness, The Sweet Spot by pre-eminent psychologist Paul Bloom explains why suffering is an essential source of both pleasure and meaning in our lives. 'Paul Bloom can always be counted on to take your confident assumptions about humanity and turn them upside down' SUSAN CAIN, author of Quiet _____ A good life involves more than just pleasure. Suffering is essential too. It seems obvious that pleasure leads to happiness - and pain does the opposite. And yet we are irresistibly drawn to a host of experiences that truly hurt, from the exhilarating fear of horror movies or extreme sport, to the wrenching sadness of a song or novel, to the gruelling challenges of exercise, work, creativity and having a family. In The Sweet Spot, pre-eminent psychologist Paul Bloom explores the pleasures of suffering and explains why the activities that provide most satisfaction are often the ones that involve greatest sacrifice. He argues that embracing this truth is the key to a life well lived. Drawing on ground-breaking findings from psychology and brain science, he shows how the right kind of suffering sets the stage for enhanced pleasure, and how pain itself can serve a variety of valuable functions: to distract us from our anxieties or even express them, to help us transcend the self or project our identity, or as a gateway to the joys of mastery and flow. As Bloom argues, deep down we all aspire to lives of meaning and significance, and that means some amount of struggle, anxiety and loss. After all, if the things that mean most to us were easy, what would be the point? Endlessly fascinating and counter-intuitive, this deeply humane and enlightening enquiry is packed with unexpected insight into the human condition. _______ 'An exhilarating antidote to toxic positivity, this captivating book will challenge you to rethink your vision of a good life' ADAM GRANT, author of Think Again 'This delightful and wonderfully written book gets to the heart of one of the most important questions in modern thought, illustrating how complex and paradoxical human happiness really is' GREG LUKIANOFF, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind 'Paul Bloom is a phenomenal psychologist. His research is always thought-provoking, and his writing clear and eloquent' MARIA KONNIKOVA, author of The Biggest Bluff
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Paul Bloom can always be counted on to take your confident assumptions about humanity and turn them upside down. This time, his eloquent and erudite investigations ask - and answer - the perennial question of what makes life worth living -- Susan Cain, author of Quiet An exhilarating antidote to toxic positivity, this captivating book will challenge you to rethink your vision of a good life -- Adam Grant, author of Think Again Paul Bloom has a gift for spotting paradoxes in human nature and resolving them with deep, satisfying explanations. This lucid and fascinating book does it again -- Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works Clear, rightly sceptical, impossible to dislike -- Stuart Ritchie * Guardian * Paul Bloom is a phenomenal psychologist. His research is always thought-provoking, and his writing clear and eloquent -- Maria Konnikova, author of The Biggest Bluff This delightful and wonderfully written book gets to the heart of one of the most important questions in modern thought, illustrating how complex and paradoxical human happiness really is -- Greg Lukianoff, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind A fun, thought-provoking and insightful journey into the most curious parts of human pleasure -- Laurie Santos, host of The Happiness Lab podcast Provocative, fascinating and insightful - from one of the world's best writers and deepest thinkers about human behaviour -- Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness A profound meditation on happiness, family and meaning from one of the best writers we have about the human condition. A joy to read -- A. J. Jacobs, author of It's All Relative Forget your favourite motivational speaker for a moment and read this book. Paul Bloom gives you the real scoop on what it takes to live a good life, and it's not what you may think -- Scott Barry Kaufman, host of The Psychology Podcast Wonderfully humane, lucid and entertaining ... a brave and necessary tract for the times * Telegraph (on Against Empathy) * A great, provocative book ... that will legitimately change how you think about the world and your own sense of morality * New York Times (on Against Empathy) *
Paul Bloom is Professor of Psychology at University of Toronto and the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University. His research explores the psychology of morality, identity and pleasure. Bloom is the recipient of multiple awards and honours, including most recently the million-dollar Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize. He has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for the New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic and Guardian. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Just Babies, How Pleasure Works, Descartes' Baby and most recently Against Empathy.