I was listening to several NPR podcasts over the weekend while doing housework, and heard a couple of interviews with an author and researcher who wrote a book called "Shiny objects". The book talks about trying to use consumption as a way to acquire happiness. I thought it might be an interesting read for those who are interested in the science of happiness, and also a nice distraction for the YLFabers who are doing SYC this year. I reserved it at my library and hope to read it soon.
As a somewhat creepy coincidental observation, I noticed that Zappos shipping box sitting in my recycling bin has a label that says in big bold letters "Packed with happiness".
From "The book lady's blog": "The Beatles may have sold us on the notion that money can’t buy us love, but what about happiness? In Shiny Objects, veteran marketer and professor of consumer behavior James A. Roberts pulls back the curtain on advertising, the American Dream and contemporary consumerism in an attempt to encourage reflection on spending habits and a return to non-material pursuits.
Two parts sociology and one part self-help, Shiny Objects contains a thorough review of the literature related to spending and happiness. Roberts calls attention to the deep contradiction between Americans’ stated belief that material possessions cannot make us happy and the undeniable fact that we continue to buy as if they will. Additionally, numerous studies indicate that happiness is largely biologically determined–that we inherit it rather than acquire it–so though we may feel a boost in happiness immediately after a purchase, it is short-lived. We quickly adapt to the “new normal” and begin looking for the next acquisition and the next temporary bump. (So much for those thoughts of “Everything will be better when we get the new house/car/skinny jeans.”)"