Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending

Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Elizabeth Dunn, By (author) Michael Norton

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  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 216mm x 15mm | 230g
  • Publication date: 7 June 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1851689982
  • ISBN 13: 9781851689989
  • Sales rank: 75,184

Product description

After a fairly low threshold, income and material wealth have no measurable effect on happiness. But how we spend our money does. In this groundbreaking book, Dr Elizabeth Dunn and Dr Michael Norton explain the secret to "happiness-efficient" spending. Using their own cutting-edge research, they reveal: * Why it's better to buy concert tickets instead of a new iPhone * Adverts actually make television more enjoyable * Why you should book your next holiday many months in advance * How "time affluence" is more important than a fat pay cheque * Why charitable giving is the best investment you can make A rare combination of informed science writing, wit, and practical pointers for a flourishing life, Happy Money will help you to be more fulfilled for less.

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Author information

Elizabeth Dunn is an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. At age twenty-six, she was featured as one of the "rising stars" across all of academia by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Her work has been featured in top academic journals, including two recent papers in Science, and in hundreds of media outlets worldwide. Michael Norton is an associate professor of marketing at Harvard Business School. His research has twice been featured in the New York Times Magazine Year in Ideas issue. In 2012, he was selected for Wired magazine's Smart List as one of "50 People Who Will Change the World."

Customer reviews

By CuteBadger 17 Nov 2013 4

In this fascinating book, Elizabeth Dunn (a psychologist) and Michael Norton (a marketing expert) look at their research on our views of money, how we spend it and how what we spend it on can increase or decrease our happiness. As we currently find ourselves in a demanding period of financial scarcity, the book is a timely aid to help the reader spend their money in a way that brings maximum happiness.

The authors seek to demonstrate that how we spend our money can have biological and emotional effects that feed directly into our health and wellbeing. Some of the long-held truths about money prove to be erroneous and this is proved through the findings of some innovative research. Some of the findings of this research reflect things IΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’m sure weΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’ve all suspected from time to time, but having this proved scientifically (and sometimes biologically) makes for a powerful read.

Happy Money puts forward five strategies which aim to help the reader (whether an individual, a business or a charity) use the money they have to increase their happiness levels. These strategies are:

ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬ΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’ Buy experiences ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β€œ rather than consumer goods;
ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬ΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’ Make it a treat ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β€œ saving something for a special occasion makes you enjoy it more;
ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬ΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’ Buy time ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β€œ rather than sacrificing time in an effort to save money;
ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬ΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’ Pay now, consume later ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β€œ a bit of anticipation leads to greater enjoyment; and
ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬ΓƒΖ’β€šΓƒβ€šΓ‚Β’ Invest in others ΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β€œ donating to charity and helping others reaps rewards in happiness for the donor as well as the recipient.

The book devotes a chapter to each of the above concepts and by putting forward evidence of research outcomes and anecdotal tales convinces us of their truth. The final chapter attempts to apply these strategies to the spending done by governments.

I found Happy Money very interesting and felt that it presented its case in a clear and accessible way. In particular I felt that the use of anecdotes about real individuals and businesses perfectly illustrated some of the abstract issues under discussion. The touches of humour spread throughout the book also felt natural and lightened what could, without them, have been a much dryer book.

I didnΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’t consider that the final chapter on government spending worked as well as the previous sections, but that is probably to be expected as itΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’s a much more complex area with more depending on it.

I greatly enjoyed the book and was totally convinced by its arguments. And since reading it have been aware of reflecting on my spending choices in relation to the five strategies. As I write this review it is mid-November and the spectre of Christmas present buying is looming large, however by applying the lessons of this book IΓƒΖ’Ζ’Γƒβ€šΓ‚Β’β‚¬β„’m hoping to make myself and the recipients happier with my choice of gift. Of course, I could just buy everyone a copy of Happy Money!

Review quote

'Cutting edge. Like stand-up comedians of science, Dunn and Norton take ordinary observations that everybody experiences and craftily distil them with a clarity that makes us laugh, and then makes us think.' -- Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational 'Lively and engaging. Happy Money isn't a purchase; it's an investment-and a shrewd one at that.' Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness 'Many books have been written to tell you how to make money, save money, and invest money. Now there's a book that can tell you how to spend it. Wisely.' Chip Heath, co-author of Decisive: How to Make Better Decisions in Life and Work 'Wise and entertaining... Dunn and Norton provide practical and well-evidenced insights for all of us, from individuals, to communities, to governments.' David Halpern, Behavioural Insight Team, No 10, and author of The Hidden Wealth of Nations 'An interesting and breezily written book, full of fun anecdotes and behavioural research... Money may not be able to buy you happiness but purchasing this book might just help steer you in the right direction.' Financial Times 'Packed with tips to help wage slaves as well as lottery winners... people will come away from this book believing it was money well spent.' The Economist 'A small investment in this invaluable book could be worth its weight in gold... combine[s] a witty, conversational style with a dazzling depth of research... Whether you have lots of money or are on a tight budget, this may change how you look at your life - for the better.' Daily Mail 'Dunn and Norton are enthusiastic and engaging writers... and they are careful to back up their recommendations with citations to the relevant academic literature.' Times Higher Education 'Show your money worries the door with this practical and fascinating read.' Healthy magazine 'How to spend smarter? Read this book!-a rare combination of informed science writing, rollicking good fun, and practical pointers for a more flourishing and compassionate life.' -- David G. Myers, author of The Pursuit of Happiness