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Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending Paperback – 2 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1780743378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780743370
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'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)

About the Author

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.”


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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan on 21 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are some interesting points made in the book such as how psychologically humans prefer experiences to objects and so spending your money on a stay in a nice hotel rather than on the latest iPhone will bring you more longer term satisfaction. Making experiences more of a treat, from eating chocolate less often to driving your high end car less of the time, also makes people generally get more from the experiences than if they become regular.

The book falls down in that it could be at least half the size it is for the content. Each chapter looks at a different aspect of human psychology which would affect how we spend money but it really labours each point with far too many similar examples until you feel like you are being patronised. It is interesting but definitely not overwhelming as the book promotion makes out.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mark on 12 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
But only if you spend that money in the right way. This is another well researched and evidence based, scientific look at the how we spend our money and why we so often spend on things that actually make us less happy. I like the authors admission at the end of the book that even though we know what science says it still isn't easy to overcome our natural instinct to spend for ourselves and in the moment.

Happy Money has lots of excellent examples and a is written with great humour. With US and UK co-authors the book caters well with examples form the UK, Europe and the US (rather than being more US biased which many business/ personal growth books tend to be). The authors are also clear we should start small, just changing the way we spend out pocket change can be enough, this realistic approach adds greatly to the chance that people can actually apply these ideas.

Happy Money builds on many of the ideas developed by positive psychology over the past few years and brings them bang up to date with the latest research and findings. The five specific ways to spend money are deceptively simple, counter intuitive and more difficult to master but the evidence is there following these ideas will make you happier.

My short summary of the 5 principles:

1. Buy Experiences. Spend money on experiences rather than more 'stuff you don't need'.
2. Make it a Treat. Ration the things you enjoy to make them back into an occasional treat.
3. Buy Time. Think about how any purchase or spending decision you make will change how you spend your time.
4. Pay Now, Consume Later. Reverse the current trend of buy now, pay later to enjoy what you do much more.
5. Invest in others.
Read more ›
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By Jim 8888 on 24 Feb. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Jeez, I struggled badly to get past Chapter One of this book. It is a litany of Middle Class Problems. Chapter One assumes that you have a wad to begin with and goes on to explain why you should buy "experiences" before "things" with your cash to make you happy. But what experiences? We are given an example of a women called Liz's ideal holiday, that of surfing a different Nicaraguan beach every day. Nothing as mundane as an Australian or Californian beach, clearly. It seems that you should spend money on experiences that you can narcissistically boast about to your admiring friends at the next book reading and wine soirée in Notting Hill. "I agree this Pinot is wonderful, but it reminds me of the glass I was sipping on safari in the Cote d'Ivoir when an albino rhinoceros charged our Range Rover". This experience, as opposed to having the Range Rover, will make you happy while spending your money. That's because you already have a Range Rover. The authors back up their theories with academic studies, such as whether Harvard students given nice student houses by the river are any happier than those given less pretty and fashionable ones at the edge of the campus. You’ll have to read the book to find out the answer, but frankly I wouldn’t blame you if you couldn’t give a flying flock one way or the other. What made me happy was borrowing this book from the library as opposed to spending a fiver on it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The takeaway message from this book is just about as good as the book itself. Here's the five principles of spending your money in such a way as to extract the most happiness out it:

1. Buy experiences - especially shared, unique ones, linked with your sense of who you want to be. They contribute to lasting happiness more than stuff.
2. Make it a treat. Beware 'treat slippage' (my phrase) where something you do for a luxury becomes something you do regularly (and then stop noticing and enjoying). Apparently even buying a house rather than renting it doesn't increase your happiness; it soon just falls to becoming part of the backdrop of your life.
.3. Buy time. Pay others to do what you don't like. Volunteer for stuff; it makes you  feel more in control. Then, the real time killers are things like commuting and TV.
4. Pay now, consume later. Anticipation heightens the fun. Consuming later feels like it's free. 
5. Invest in others

The rest of the book is the research findings, some slightly self-indulgent and largely irrelevant personal references and a clutch of not hugely funny jokes. Unarguably a lot of this book is padding. So arguably the sixth principle is: don't buy the book, read the reviews.
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