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The Sweet Spot

Suffering, Pleasure and the Key to a Good Life

Paul Bloom



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Bodley Head
02 November 2021
A provocative and counter-intuitive look at human behaviour from world-leading psychologist and author of the influential Against Empathy Why do we seek out painful experiences? From horror movies and roller-coaster rides to marathon running, from S&M to religious violence and - most painful of all - parenthood, humans are drawn irresistibly to activities that they know are going to hurt.

In The Pleasures of Suffering one of the world's best known psychologists gathers together the latest science to explain why, and to present a radical new account of human behaviour. Drawing on studies of the evolutionary value of play and the science of morality, he identifies the desire for meaning as being far greater than our desire for happiness, overturning long-held assumptions about our species.

Endlessly fascinating and counter-intuitive, this is a deeply humane and enlightening enquiry, packed with unexpected insight into the human condition.
By:   Paul Bloom
Imprint:   Bodley Head
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   460g
ISBN:   9781847925763
ISBN 10:   1847925766
Pages:   312
Publication Date:   02 November 2021
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Paul Bloom is Professor of Psychology at Yale University. He is an internationally recognised expert on the psychology of language, social reasoning, morality and art. His previous books include Just Babies and How Pleasure Works, and he has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, New Yorker and the Guardian. Bloom has won several awards for his research, articles and teaching, and his 'Introduction to Psychology' class was one of seven selected by Yale to be made available worldwide. His TED talks have been viewed 2.8 million times.

Reviews for The Sweet Spot: Suffering, Pleasure and the Key to a Good Life

This book will challenge you to rethink your vision of a good life. With sharp insights and lucid prose, Paul Bloom makes a captivating case that pain and suffering are essential to happiness. It's an exhilarating antidote to toxic positivity -- Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again Paul Bloom can always be counted on to take your confident assumptions about humanity and turn them upside down. With The Sweet Spot, he's done it again! But this time, his investigations into pain and suffering, pleasure and meaning ask-and answer-the perennial question of what makes life worth living. You won't want to miss this eloquent and erudite book -- Susan Cain, author of Quiet Provocative, fascinating, and insightful-in other words, just what you'd expect from Paul Bloom, one of the world's best writers and deepest thinkers about human behavior. His argument about why we sometimes seek sorrow, fear, and pain is, paradoxically, a pleasure to read. So get out your highlighter and clear your calendar, because once you open this book, you won't be able to put it down -- Daniel Gilbert, author of New York Times bestseller Stumbling on Happiness Paul Bloom has a gift for spotting paradoxes in human nature and resolving them with deep, satisfying explanations, and this lucid and fascinating book does it again with our puzzling masochisms -- Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works This delightful and wonderfully written book manages to ask one of the most important questions in modern thought: What is happiness, really? Paul Bloom gets to the heart of the matter, taking on a truly important mission: to illustrate how complex and rich human happiness really is. It turns out that, like all things human, happiness can be confusing, paradoxical, embarrassing, and sometimes just bizarre -- Greg Lukianoff, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind

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