The Science of Happiness by Stephen Braun
Unlocking the Mysteries of Mood

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Synopsis

How should we define happiness–and how happy are we supposed to be?

Does each of us have a genetically determined "set point" of happiness?

What dangers may lie in the new breed of drugs that allow us to fine-tune our moods so that we are happy most of the time?

Fascinating research in a range of fields is providing provocative answers to these and many more questions about what makes us happy and how we can control our moods. We are in the midst of a revolution in the understanding of how our brains work; at the same time, we have entered a bold new age of pharmacology that is allowing drug-makers to craft molecules that are exquisitely tailored to produce desired mood-altering effects. In this lively and stimulating narrative, acclaimed science writer Stephen Braun takes readers to the frontlines of discovery in these areas and explores how this "brave new world" of mood manipulation will impact our lives. Based on extensive interviews with scientists at the forefront of research, as well as the compelling personal stories of many individuals, The Science of Happiness presents an accessible, engaging, and well-balanced account of what we need to know as we enter this new era.

"Readers who want a quick overview of the latest neuroscientific research into how antidepressants and mood-elevating drugs work need look no further."–Publishers Weekly

"Chiefly valuable in raising some important issues."–Kirkus Reviews

"This brief, engaging, and personal view of mood and its influence on all aspects of our lives travels from drug company labs to Zen retreats in an effort to open up the black box containing temperament. [Braun’s] writing is powerfully charming, even while delving into deep philosophical issues and little-understood scientific theories."–Amazon.com

 

About Stephen Braun

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Stephen Braun is the author of the critically acclaimed Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine, which was selected the best popular science book of 1997 by the American Medical Writers Association. He is also an award-winning writer and producer of documentaries on medical science and has written for the Boston Globe, Psychology Today, Science, and Icon.
 
Published December 10, 2007 by Wiley. 208 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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According to Braun, this chemical readjustment helps the user develop a slightly unrealistic optimism, a condition that seems integral to mental health, without altogether ending unhappiness: Mild and short-lived blue moods and sad feelings, he maintains, have survival value because they signal p...

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Publishers Weekly

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America'sfavorite legal addictions are analyzed chemically and culturally.

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Publishers Weekly

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Whether they prefer scotch on the rocks or a double mocha latte, readers will enjoy Braun's dissection of caffeine, alcohol and the processes by which they work.

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Publishers Weekly

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Blasting ""the drug company party line"" that presents depression as a simple matter of out-of-balance brain chemicals, he sets forth cautionary case studies, meant to illustrate how dishonesty, manipulation and corporate greed can corrupt drug development, approval and marketing.

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