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The abstract of that paper underscores my point that if you've thought about it you can predict better what creates happiness.

I don't agree that only by reading "studies about biases in affective forecasting" can you be good at predicting what makes you happy.

I know if I eat good food with good friends or family I'll be happy. I've never read that in a study, but it works every single time with me. I know plenty of other ways too.

I don't think reading studies is the only way either, but I don't think most of us have questioned what makes us happy outside of soceity's default settings (money/fame/toys/vacations).

People make all sorts of tradeoffs which are non-optimal:

* Extra commute to a better job with $XX,XXX more for +1 hour/day of travel (less time for good food with family/friends) * Move away from good family/friends to pursue better job * Pursue career X because it's more lucrative than career Y (even though Y is more enjoyable)

There are lots of biases like this, under the assumption the change will increase our net happiness.

In case people think kalid is making it up, the first one is the 'commuting paradox': http://ftp.iza.org/dp1278.pdf (or http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_08/b3921127.... )

Thanks for the link! I remember reading that study somewhere. A salient part of the article:

"This is what economists call "the commuting paradox." Most people travel long distances with the idea that they'll accept the burden for something better, be it a house, salary, or school. They presume the trade-off is worth the agony. But studies show that commuters are on average much less satisfied with their lives than noncommuters. A commuter who travels one hour, one way, would have to make 40% more than his current salary to be as fully satisfied with his life as a noncommuter, say economists Bruno S. Frey and Alois Stutzer of the University of Zurich's Institute for Empirical Research in Economics. People usually overestimate the value of the things they'll obtain by commuting -- more money, more material goods, more prestige -- and underestimate the benefit of what they are losing: social connections, hobbies, and health. "Commuting is a stress that doesn't pay off," says Stutzer."

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