“Win Bigly” Quotes

I recently read “Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don’t Matter” by Scott Adams. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, click here to buy the book.

“We all think we are the enlightened ones. And we assume the people who disagree with us just need better facts, and perhaps better brains, in order to agree with us. That filter on life makes most of us happy – because we see ourselves as the smart ones.” (3)

“The method goes like this:
Make a claim that is directionally accurate but has a big exaggeration or factual error in it.
Wait for people to notice the exaggeration or error and spend endless hours talking about how wrong it is.
When you dedicate focus and energy to an idea, you remember it. And the things that have the most mental impact on you will irrationally seem as though tye are high in priority, even if they are not. That’s persuasion.” (20)

“The things that you think about the most will irrationally rise in importance in your mind.” (22)

“Consider a small 2012 study by researcher Daniel Oppenheimer that found students had better recall when a font was harder to read.” (25)

“A good general rule is that people are more influenced by visual persuasion, emotion, repetition, and simplicity than they are by details and facts.” (25)

“Humans think they are rational, and they think they understand their reality. But they are wrong on both counts.” (35)

“The main theme of this book is that humans are not rational. We bounce from one illusion to another, all the while thinking we are seeing something we call reality. The truth ist hat facts and reason don’t have much influence on our decisions, except for trivial things, such as putting gas in your car when you are running low. On all the important stuff, we are emotional creatures who make decisions first and rationalize them after the fact.” (37)

“On mushrooms… your perceptions are independent from the underlying reality. This awareness never leaves you. Once you understand your experience of life as an interpretation of reality, you can’t go back to your old way of thinking.” (43)

“The most common trigger for cognitive dissonance is when a person’s self-image doesn’t fit their observations. For example, if you believe you are a smart and well-informed person, and then
You do something that’s clearly dumb, it sends you into a state of cognitive dissonance. And once you are in that uncomfortable state of mind, your brain automatically generates an illusion to solve the discomfort. In this situation, your brain would tell you the new information was inaccurate. The alternative is to believe that you are dumb, and that violates your self-image. You don’t like to change your self-image unless it is in the direction of improvement.” (49)

“It is easy to fit completely different explanations to the observed facts. Don’t trust any interpretation of reality that isn’t able to predict.” (54)

“People are more influenced by the direction of things than the current state of things.” (68)

“The reality one learns while practicing hypnosis is that we make our decisions first – for irrational reasons – and we rationalize them later as having something to do with facts and reason.” (71)

“If you want the audience to embrace your content, leave out any detail that is both unimportant and would give people a reason to think, That’s not me. Design into your content enough blank spaces so people can fill them in with whatever makes them happiest.” (78)

“Our brains interpret high energy as competence and leadership (even when it isn’t).” (92)

“Our visual sense is the most persuasive of our fives senses, so using a real person whom we recognize, and can imagine, is a great technique.” (95)

“Below I rank for you the broad forms of persuasion by their relative power…
Big fear
Smaller fear
Word-thinking” (99)

“When you attack a person’s belief, the person under attack is more likely to harden his belief than to abandon it, even if your argument is airtight.” (106)

“Fear can be deeply persuasive. But not all fear-related persuasion is equal. To maximize your fear persuasion, follow these guidelines.
A big fear is more persuasive than a small one.
A personal fear is more persuasive than a generic national problem.
A fear that you think about most often is stronger than one you rarely think about.
A fear with a visual component is scarier than one without.
A fear you have experienced firsthand (such as a crime) is scarier than a statistic.” (114)

“It is easier to persuade people when they expect to be persuaded. If your persuasion skills are viewed as credible, people will persuade themselves that you can persuade them, and that makes everything easier.Credibility, of any sort, is persuasive.” (116)

“If you want to persuade use visual language and visual imagery. The difference in effectiveness is enormous.” (137)

“Participate in activities at which you excel compared with others. People’s impression of you as talented and capable compared with the average participant will spill over to the rest of your personal brand.” (147)

“In business, always present your ideas in the context of alternatives that are clearly worse. Don’t just sell your proposed solution; slime all the other options with badness.” (147)

“Always remember that people make decisions in the context of alternatives. If you aren’t framing the alternatives as bad, you are not persuading at all.” (147)

“When you associate any two ideas or images, people’s emotional reaction to them will start to merge over time.” (153)

“Humans put more importance on the first part of a sentence than the second part.” (159)

“Simplicity makes your ideas easy to understand, easy to remember, and easy to spread. You can be persuasive only when you are also memorable.” (201)

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“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” Quotes

I recently read “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!” by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“The basic issue in marketing is creating a category you can be first in. It’s the law of leadership: It’s better to be first than it is to be better. It’s much easier to get into the mind first than to try to convince someone you have a better product than the one that did get there first.” (3)

“Regardless of reality, people perceive the first product in the mind as superior: Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.” (8)

“If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.” (10)

“If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in.” (11)

“When you launch a new product, the first question to ask yourself is not “How is this new product better than the competition?” but “First what?” In other words, what category is this new product first in?” (13)

“Forget the brand. Think categories. Prospects are on the defensive when it comes to brands. Everyone talks about why their brand is better. But prospects have an open mind when it comes to categories. Everyone is interested in what’s new. Few people are interested in what’s better.” (13)

“When you’re the first in a new category, promote the category. In essence, you have no competition. DEC told its prospects why they ought to buy a minicomputer; not a DEC minicomputer.” (13)

“It’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.” (14)

“Once a mind is made up, it rarely, if ever, changes. The single most wasteful thing you can do in marketing is try to change a mind.” (16)

“If you want to make a big impression on another person, you cannot worm your way into their mind and then slowly build up a favorable opinion over a period of time. The mind doesn’t work that way. You have to blast your way into the mind. The reason you blast instead of worm is that people don’t like to change their minds. Once they perceive you one way, that’s it. They kind of file you away in their minds as a certain kind of person. You cannot become a different person in their minds.” (17)

“There is no objective reality. There are no facts. There are no best products. All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.” (19)

“When you say, “I’m right and the next person is wrong,” all you’re really saying is that you’re a better perceiver than someone else.” (19)

“A company can become incredibly successful if it can find a way to own a word in the mind of the prospect. Not a complicated word. Not an invent one. The simple words are best, words taken right out of the dictionary.” (27)

“The most effective words are simple and benefit oriented. No matter how complicated the product, no matter how complicated the needs of the market, it’s always better to focus on one word or benefit rather than two or three or four.” (28)

“The essence of marketing is narrowing the focus. You become stronger when you reduce the scope of your operations. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything.” (31)

“You often reinforce your competitor’s position by making its concept more important.” (35)

“You tend to have twice the market share of the brand below you and half the market share of the brand above you.” (41)

“It’s sometimes better to be No. 3 on a big ladder than No. 1 on a small ladder.” (43)

“Before starting any marketing program, ask yourself the following questions: Where are we on the ladder in the prospect’s mind? On the top rung? On the second rung? Or maybe we’re not on the ladder at all. Then make sure your program deals realistically with your position on the ladder.” (43)

“Marketing is often a battle for legitimacy. The first brand that captures the concept is often able to portray its competitors as illegitimate pretenders.” (54)

“Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.” (56)

“Any sort of couponing, discounts, or sales tends to educate consumers to buy only when they can get a deal.” (64)

“When you try to be all things to all people, you inevitably wind up in trouble. “I’d rather be strong somewhere,” said one manager, “than weak everywhere.”” (71)

“The full line is a luxury for a loser. If you want to be successful, you have to reduce your product line, not expand it.” (77)

“The target is not the market. That is, the apparent target of your marketing is not the same as the people who will actually buy your product. Even though Pepsi-Cola’s target was the teenager, the market was everybody. The 50-year-old guy who wants to think he’s 29 will drink the Pepsi.” (82)

“One of the most effective ways to get into a prospect’s mind is to first admit a negative and then twist it into a positive.” (89)

“Marketing is often a search for the obvious. Since you can’t change a mind once it’s made up, your marketing efforts have to be devoted to using ideas and concepts already installed in the brain.” (90)

“The law of candor must be used carefully and with great skill. First, your “negative” must be widely perceived as a negative. It has to trigger an instant agreement with your prospect’s mind. If the negative doesn’t register quickly, your prospect will be confused and will wonder, “What’s this all about?” Next, you have to shift quickly to the positive. The purpose of candor isn’t to apologize. The purpose of candor is to set up a benefit that will convince your prospect.” (91)

“History teaches that the only thing that works in marketing is the single, bold stroke.” (93)

“Failure to forecast competitive reaction is a major reason for marketing failures.” (99)

“When people become successful, they tend to become less objective. They often substitute their own judgement for what the market wants.” (105)

“When IBM was successful, the company said very little. Now it throws a lot of press conferences. When things are going well, a company doesn’t need the hype. When you need the hype, it usually means you’re in trouble.” (115)

“But, for the most part, hype is hype. Real revolutions don’t arrive at high noon with marching bands and coverage on the 6:00 P.M> news. Real revolutions arrive unannounced in the middle of the night and kind of sneak up on you.” (119)

“Here’s the paradox. If you were faced with a rapidly rising business, with all the characteristics of a fad, the best thing you could do would be to dampen the fad. By dampening the fad, you stretch the fad out and it becomes more like a trend.” (122)

“The most successful entertainers are the ones who control their appearances. They don’t overextend themselves. They’re not all over the place. They don’t wear out their welcome.” (122)

“One way to maintain a long-term demand for your product is to never totally satisfy the demand.” (123)

“You’ll get no further with a mediocre idea and million dollars than with a great idea alone.” (125)

“An idea without money is worthless. Be prepared to give away a lot for the funding.” (126)

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“The Undoing Project” Quotes

I recently read “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” by Michael Lewis. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” -Voltaire

“Daryl Morey suggested a new definition of the nerd: a person who knows his own mind well enough to mistrust it.” (31)

“Danny said, “I’ve always felt ideas were a dime a dozen. If you had one that didn’t work out, you should not fight too hard to save it, just go find another.”” (73)

“Later when he was a university professor, Danny would tell students, “When someone says something, don’t ask yourself if it is true. Ask what it might be true of.” That was his intellectual instinct, his natural first step to the mental hoop: to take whatever someone had just said to him and try not to tear it down but to make sense of it.” (82)

“At some point it didn’t matter: He compelled himself to be brave until bravery became a habit.” (94)

“Amos liked to say that stinginess was contagious and so was generosity, and since behaving generously made you happier than behaving stingily, you should avoid stingy people and spend your time only with generous ones.” (109)

“A banana and an apple seem more similar than they otherwise would because we’ve agreed to call them both fruit. Things are grouped together for a reason, but, once they are grouped, their grouping causes them to seem more like each other than they otherwise would. That is, the mere act of classification reinforces stereotypes. If you want to weaken some stereotype, eliminate the classification.” (115)

“The only way to understand a mechanism such as the eye, Danny thought, was studying the mistakes that it made. Error wasn’t merely instructive; it was the key that might unlock the deep nature of the mechanism. “How do you understand memory?” he asked. “You don’t study memory. You study forgetting.”” (129)

“Danny explained, “Reforms always create winners and losers, and the losers will always fight harder than the winners.” How did you get the losers to accept change? The prevailing strategy on the Israeli farms – which wasn’t working very well – was to bully or argue with the people who needed to change. The psychologist Kurt Lewin had suggested persuasively that, rather than selling people on some change, you were better off identifying the reasons for their resistance, and addressing those. Imagine a plank held in place by a spring on either side of it, Danny told the students. How do you move it? Well, you can increase the force on one side of the plank. Or you can reduce the force on the other side. “In one case the overall tension is reduced,” he said, “and in the other it is increased.” And that was a sort of proof that there was an advantage in reducing the tensions. “It’s a key idea,” said Danny. “Making it easy to change.”” (138-39)

“Someone once said that education was knowing what to do when you don’t know.” (140)

“This is what happens when people become attached to a theory. They fit the evidence to the theory rather than the theory to the evidence. They cease to see what’s right under their nose.” (149)

“Amos liked to say, “When you are a pessimist and the bad thing happens, you live it twice. Once when you worry about it, and the second time when it happens.” (155)

“People’s “intuitive expectations are governed by a consistent misperception of the world,” Danny and Amos had written in their final paragraph.” (164)

“Amos had a gift for avoiding what he called “overcomplicated” people.” (179)

“Work, for Amos, had always been play: If it wasn’t fun, he simply didn’t see the point in doing it.” (181)

“He refused to start a paper until he had decided what it would be called. He believed the title forced you to come to grips with what your paper was about.” (182)

“The world’s not just a stage. It’s a casino, and our lives are games of chance. And when people calculate the odds in any life situation, they are often making judgments about similarity – or representativeness. You have some notion of a parent population: “storm clouds” or “gastric ulcers” or “genocidal dictators” or “NBA players.” You compare the specific case to the parent population.” (183)

“The stories people told themselves, when the odds were either unknown or unknowable, were naturally too simple.” (195)

“Man is a deterministic device thrown into a probabilistic Universe.” (197)

“Man’s inability to see the power of regression to the mean leaves him blind to the nature of the world around him.” (203)

“He who sees the past as surprise-free is bound to have a future full of surprises.” (208)

“The problem was not what they (the doctors) knew, or didn’t know. It was their need for certainty or, at least, the appearance of certainty.” (220)

“The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.” (230)

“It is sometimes easier to make the world a better place than to prove you have made the world a better place.” (230)

“That number represented the best estimate of the odds. Apparently the foreign minister didn’t want to rely on the best estimates. He preferred his own internal probability calculator: his gut. “That was the moment I gave up on decision analysis,” said Danny. “No one ever made a decision because of a number. They need a story.” (250)

“Happy people did not dwell on some imagined unhappiness the way unhappy people imagined what they might have done differently so that they might be happy. People did not seek to avoid other emotions with the same energy they sought to avoid regret.” (261)

“Danny wrote, “the general point is that the same state of affairs (objectively) can be experienced with very different degrees of misery,” depending on how easy it is to imagine that things might have turned out differently.” (263)

“People did not choose between things. They chose between descriptions of things.” (278)

“After all, what is a marriage if not an agreement to distort one’s perception of another, in relation to everyone else?” (334)

“”The brain appears to be programmed, loosely speaking, to provide as much certainty as it can,” Amos once said, in a talk to a group of Wall Street executives. “It is apparently designed to make the best possible case for a given interpretation rather than to represent all the uncertainty about a given situation.”” (336)

“There was a kind of stoic distance that was astonishing. Amos said, ‘Life is a book. The fact that it was a short book doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good book. It was a very good book.’”

“Danny made a rule about his fantasy life: He never fantasized about something that might happen. He established this private rule for his imagination once he realized that, after he had fantasized about something that might actually happen, he lost his drive to make it happen.” (352)

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“Tribe” Quotes

I recently read “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging” by Sebastian Junger. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, click here to buy the book.

“Surely this was new in the human experience, I thought. How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage?” (xiv)

“Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.” (xvii)

“As societies become more affluent they tend to require more, rather than less, (work) time and commitment by the individual, and it’s possible that many people feel that affluence and safety simply aren’t a good trade for freedom.” (16)

“The relatively relaxed pace of !Kung life – even during times of adversity – challenged long-standing ideas that modern society created a surplus of leisure time. It created exactly the opposite: a desperate cycle of work, financial obligation, and more work. The !Kung had far fewer belongings than Westerners, but their lives were under much greater personal control.” (17)

“First agriculture, and then industry, changed two fundamental things about the human experience. The accumulation of personal property allowed people to make more and more individualistic choices about their lives, and those choices unavoidably diminished group efforts toward a common good. And as society modernized, people found themselves able to live independently from any communal group. A person living in a modern city or suburb can, for the first time in history, go through an entire day – or an entire life – mostly encountering complete strangers. They can be surrounded by others and yet feel deeply, dangerously alone.” (18)

“As affluence and urbanization rise in a society, rates of depression and suicide tend to go up rather than down.” (19)

“People in wealthy countries suffer depression at as much as eight times the rate they do in poor countries.” (20)

“The mechanism seems simple: poor people are forced to share their time and resources more than wealthy people are, and as a result they live in closer communities.” (21)

“Self-determination theory holds that human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others.” (22)

“Communities that have been devastated by natural or man-made disasters almost never lapse into chaos and disorder; if anything, they become more just, more egalitarian, and more deliberately fair to individuals.” (44)

“Charles Fritz’s theory was that modern society has gravely disrupted the social bonds that have always characterized the human experience, and that disasters thrust people back into a more ancient, organic way of relating. Disasters, he proposed, create a “community of sufferers” that allows individuals to experience an immensely reassuring connection to others. As people come together to face an existential threat, Fritz found, class differences are temporarily erased, income disparities become irrelevant, race is overlooked, and individuals are assessed simply by what they are willing to do for the group. It is a kind of fleeting social utopia that, Fritz felt, is enormously gratifying to the average person and downright therapeutic to people suffering from mental illness.” (53-54)

“Women tend to act heroically within their own moral universe, regardless of whether anyone else knows about it – donating more kidneys to non-relatives than men do, for example. Men, on the other hand, are far more likely to risk their lives at a moment’s notice, and that reaction is particularly strong when others are watching, or when they are part of a group.” (58)

“What would you risk dying for – and for whom – is perhaps the most profound question a person can ask themselves.” (59)

“The Iroquois Nation presumably understood the transformative power of war when they developed parallel systems of government that protected civilians from warriors and vice versa. Peacetime leaders, called sachems, were often chosen by women and had complete authority over the civil affairs of the tribe until war broke out. At that point war leaders took over, and their sole concern was the physical survival of the tribe.” (78)

“Whatever the technological advances of modern society – and they’re nearly miraculous – the individualized lifestyles that those technologies spawn seem to be deeply brutalizing to the human spirit.” (93)

“According to Shalev, the closer the public is to the actual combat, the better the war will be understood and the less difficulty soldiers will have when they come home.” (96)

“Because modern society has almost completely eliminated trauma and violence from everyday life, anyone who does suffer those things is deemed to be extraordinarily unfortunate. This gives people access to sympathy and resources but also creates an identity of victimhood that can delay recovery.” (98)

“The definition of community – of tribe – would be the group of people that you would both help feed and help defend. A society that doesn’t offer its members the chance to act selflessly in these ways isn’t a society in any tribal sense of the word; it’s just a political entity that, lacking enemies, will probably fall apart on its own.” (110)

“Soldiers experience this tribal way of thinking at war, but when they come home they realize that the tribe they were actually fighting for wasn’t their country, it was their unit. It makes absolutely no sense to make sacrifices for a group that, itself, isn’t willing to make sacrifices for you. That is the position American soldiers have been in for the past decade and a half.” (110)

“The last time the United States experienced that kind of unity was – briefly – after the terrorist attacks of September 11. There was no rampage shootings for the next two years. The effect was particularly pronounced in New York City, where rates of violent crime, suicide, and psychiatric disturbances dropped immediately. In many countries, antisocial behavior is known to decline during wartime.” (116)

“We live in a society that is basically at war with itself. People speak with incredible contempt about – depending on their views – the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign born, the president, or the entire US government. It’s a level of contempt that is usually reserved for enemies in wartime, except that now it’s applied to our fellow citizens.” (125)

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“America The Anxious” Quotes

I recently read “America The Anxious: How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks” by Ruth Whippman. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

America The Anxious Cover“It seems as though happiness in America has become the overachiever’s ultimate trophy. A modern trump card, it outranks professional achievement and social success, family, friendship, and even love. Its invocation deftly minimizes others’ achievements (“Well, I suppose she has the perfect job and a gorgeous husband, but is she really happy?”) and takes the shine off our own.” (3)

“But the more conversations I have about happiness, and the more I absorb the idea that there’s a glittering happy-ever-after out there for the taking, the more I start to overthink the whole thing, compulsively monitoring how I am feeling and hyper-parenting my emotions. Am I happy? Right at this moment? What about now? And now? Am I happy enough? As happy as everyone else? What about Meghan? Is she happier than me? She looks happier. What is she doing that I’m not doing? Maybe I should take up yoga. The whole process starts to become painfully, comically neurotic. Workaday contentment starts to give way to a low-grade sense of inadequacy when pitched against capital-H Happiness. THe goal is so elusive and hard to define, it’s impossible to pinpoint when it’s even been reached, a recipe for anxiety.” (8)

“It appears that somewhere along the line, the joy has been sucked out of American happiness.” (8)

“Happiness should be serendipitous, the by-product of a life well lived, and chasing it in a vacuum just doesn’t really work.” (9)

“Surprisingly, the higher the respondents rated happiness as a distinct personal ambition, the less happy they were in their lives generally and the more likely they were to experience symptoms of dissatisfaction and even depression.” (9)

“These studies concluded that paradoxically, the more people valued and were encouraged to value happiness as a separate life goal, the less happy they were.” (9)

“Increasingly, Americans are chasing happiness by looking inward into their own souls, rather than outward toward their friends and communities.” (18)

“”It was very striking,” Dr. Iris Mauss says. “It’s like a standard – you are supposed to be happy and it’s seen as being under your individual control. Happiness is not seen as something that comes out of living a good life, but an achievement you aim for, like it’s the individual’s responsibility to be happy. It got to the point that if I was in a bad mood, I would feel almost guilty, as though I was falling short of the ideal. It was making me anxious.”” (29)

“”It all comes back to this idea of self-focus,” Mauss says. “People monitor themselves. Am I happy yet? Am I happy enough? They are so focused on their own self and their own happiness that it comes at the expense of social connection. You can spend so much time focusing on what you are feeling that you just don’t have time to focus on others. And when you are with other people you find you don’t enjoy social activities as much because you are constantly worrying about your own emotions and not getting as engaged.” (32)

“The systemic packaging and selling of happiness in the form of books, DVDs, webinars, and courses was last estimated to be worth around ten billion dollars, roughly the same size as Hollywood, the other great purveyors of the happy-ever-after.” (36)

“Therapist Kimberly Knoll says, “Thinking that you have complete control over your emotions and if you don’t feel happy it’s your fault, that can make people feel shame. It’s anxiety inducing.”” (91)

“As soon as an American baby is born, its parents apparently enter into an implicit contractual obligation to answer all questions about their hopes for their tiny offspring’s future with the words: “I don’t care, as long as he’s happy” (the mental suffix “at Harvard” must remain unspoken).” (104)

“A group of German academics found that the average drop in happiness in the two years following the birth of a first child is greater than that after divorce, unemployment, and even the death of a partner.” (119)

“Recent research suggests that the more intensely we approach the job of parenting, and the more strongly we believe that our child’s development and happiness is dependent on our own actions as parents, the more unhappy we become.” (123)

“A growing body of research demonstrates that the stronger a country’s welfare system and social safety nets, the happier the parents of that country are in comparison with nonparents.” (125)

“Religious people are significantly more likely to report being “very happy” than nonbelievers. A wide range of other studies has shown repeatedly that identifying as part of a religious community is a predictor of greater life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, more social ties, and an ability to cope better with difficult life events.” (129)

“It isn’t the inner journey of private religious belief that is making religious people so happy but the community and social connectedness that comes with a religious lifestyle.” (140)

“Almost all the studies that show that religious people are happier than the nonreligious also show that they tend to have a greater number of social ties and stronger and more supportive communities. When the studies control for these increased levels of social connection, the link between religion and happiness almost always disappears.” (140)

“Perhaps having a strict blueprint for how to live actually removes the anxiety from the search for happiness.” (149)

“The more religious states tend to have higher-than-average rates of antidepressant use.” (156)

“People who reported feeling the strongest societal pressure to be happy also reported feeling negative emotions most frequently and strongly.” (165)

“Dr. Brock Bastian commented, “In short, when people perceive that others think they should feel happy and not sad, this leads them to feel sad more frequently and intensely.” (165)

“Happiness is the currency of social media and the loophole in the generally accepted no-bragging rule.” (167)

“In a culture that both insists that we have complete control over our happiness and too often equates unhappiness with inadequacy, social media gives us an unprecedented ability to craft and present a happy front. This shifts the business of bliss away from how happy we feel, to the perhaps more culturally urgent matter of how happy we look.” (167)

“It’s a strange mix of oversharing and undersharing. Because although we increasingly share every aspect of the minutiae of our lives for public appraisal and critique, none of it paints a remotely representative picture.” (169)

“We all post our carefully edited best moments and, although at a rational level we know that other people are doing the same, we somehow believe that everyone else’s life is Really Like That.” (171)

“Although their data showed that people would click on and read both positive and negative stories in roughly equal numbers, people would share far greater numbers of positive stories, and it was almost exclusively positive stories that would go viral. Broadly speaking, the more heartwarming positivity that can be packed into a story, the more likely we are to want to be associated with it and to click the share button.” (181)

“Research carried out in the late eighties on sets of twins showed that around half our happiness can be attributed to our genes. Each of us has a genetic set point to which, like a high-achieving homing pigeon, we tend to return.” (194)

“The idea that our circumstances are trivial to our happiness, that what we really need to do in order to be happy is to think positive, and that keeping a gratitude journal or counting our blessings can potentially have quadruple the impact on our happiness than the love of our parents, whether we live in affluence or poverty, or whether or not we suffer from a debilitating chronic illness seems like a stretch at best.” (196)

“According to Diener, a later analysis of the same data concluded that when it comes to long-term happiness, the figure was actually more like 80 percent, a finding which prompted Diener to write the following sentence, “based on the later heritability estimate, it could be said it is as hard to change one’s happiness as it is to change one’s height,” an observation that is hard to square with the idea that we can transform our happiness by 40 percent by thinking positive and counting our blessings.” (198)

“The more I look into it, the more it seems that the claim that circumstance matters little to happiness might be based on some serious cherry-picking of the evidence.” (199)

“The CDC estimates that rates of depression among poor Americans are roughly three times that in the general population. White people in America consistently report as significantly happier than African Americans, irrespective of income, with the percentage of African Americans reporting that they are “not too happy” roughly double that of white Americans saying the same. Men are significantly happier than women, and the women who do the most “women-y” type things, stay-at-home mothers, are the least happy of all.” (199)

“Above $75,000, money still makes a significant difference to what most people would consider the most important measure of happiness – a person’s satisfaction with is or her life when taken as a whole – and this trend never levels off in the data, no matter how high up the income scale you go. Above an income of $75,000 what does level off is any improvement in the kind of mood that the person was in the day before.” (200)

“Linda Tirado says, “I wouldn’t even mind the degradations of my work life so much if the privileged and powerful were honest about it. Instead, we’re told to keep smiling, and to be grateful for the chance to barely survive while being blamed for not succeeding.”” (203)

“Coyne believes that positive psychology is a closed field, in which everyone is highly invested in showing the interventions in the best possible light and people are reluctant to criticize one another’s claims.” (209)

“Drug trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, for example, more often show favorable results for the drug in question than independent research.” (210)

“I ask the guy in the cafe, whether he would feel the same if, in theory, it could be absolutely definitively scientifically proven that things couldn’t change. He tells me that it wouldn’t matter to him. That he would still read, still try. Then I realize. The product isn’t happiness. It’s hope.” (214)

“I’ve realized over the last year or so of obsessing over this topic, that if we want to be happy, what we really need to do is to stop thinking about happiness.” (219)

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