Jun 16 • 52M

Professor Paul Dolan on happiness

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Interviews with the experts, entertainers and academics in the weird, wonderful and creative world of behavioural science.
Episode details

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Introducing Professor Paul Dolan

Paul knows what makes us feel good. It's all about what we pay attention to. He wants us to choose to spend our time doing things that bring us pleasure or give us purpose… and ideally both. He will tell us how we can redesign our lives to be happier. He will also explain why we care so much about what other people do, and how we can learn to listen more to those that disagree with us. 

At the LSE, Paul's main research interests are human behaviour and happiness, and the relationships between them, particularly as they apply to policy. He is author of the bestselling books Happiness by Design and Happy Ever After. He is also host of the Duck / Rabbit podcast about the polarisation problem in our society.

Show notes

  • Balance between happiness and misery in a world of polarised opinion

  • Does division make us happier?

  • Flaws in the happiness/self-help literary genre

  • The pleasure/purpose principle & the definition of happiness

  • Social narratives: how you feel rather than how you think you should feel

  • The relative importance of memories, the present moment and future projection in designing happiness

    • How we think about holidays: the anticipation, the experience and the memories

  • The opportunity cost of attention

  • Why do we continue to make mistakes: self-sabotage and happiness?

  • Salience and getting lost in the experience and the flow

  • Trade-offs and moral licensing (credits and debts)

  • The Reaching, Responsible and Related social narratives

    • The dangerous social narrative about having kids

  • Selfishness and greed about wanting to live forever

  • Having perspective is cheap talk

  • Our productivity obsession

Next time with Jenny Kleeman

Next time, talking a load of BS with me is the wonderful Jenny Kleeman, broadcaster, journalist and author of Sex Robots & Vegan Meat: Adventures at the frontier of Birth, Sex and Death. It's spooky, jaw dropping, crazy but very entertaining stuff. You do not want to miss out.

Be well and till next time,