Thursday, April 10, 2008

How To Be Happy

The question is a bit of a hot topic. There have been recent books and TV series examining the question, and there has been a recent flurry of posts in the webworld.

Obviously I don't have the answer, but the question gets to the root of economics. The Freakonomics team, the Undercover Economist and Marginal Revolution have all considered the issue recently.

The traditional profit/utility maximising models are only useful up to a point, beyond that they are garbage, because many people are generally "satisfied" at a given level of a specific variable. A recent article in Spiked magazine dissed a couple of serious attempts to answer the question, both the "enoughism" of John Naish and the academic analysis of Oliver James were rejected as anti-consumer defeatism, though I think each has its merits.

The British Psychology Society offers plenty of theories, but I think the true answer is probably to be found in the relationship of mood-influencing chemicals to neural networks. Yes, you don't need to be a brain scientist to be happy, but you need to be a brain scientist to understand happiness.

But what a marketer might say is that a good brand can make you happy.

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