Saturday, December 23, 2006

Book Summary: "Satisfaction: The Science of True Fulfillment"

The latest book I've finished is "Satisfaction: The Science of True Fulfillment."

As you've probably realized by now, I'm a sucker for any book that combines science and the pursuit of happiness. Satisfaction delivers by examining the biochemical underpinnings of satisfaction. Here's the quick summary. If you want more, visit the Book Outlines Wiki and check out my full outline.

Satisfaction comes from the combination of experiencing novelty (which stimulates the release of dopamine), with enough challenge to induce cortisol release, while still maintaining a sense of control. (Editor's note: This is very similar to the concept of flow, but provides some of the biochemical underpinnings for why the theory works).

You can experience happiness or pleasure without working for it, but you cannot experience satisfaction. Winning the lottery may make you happy, but you will not feel satisfied unless you use the money in some way that provides novelty and challenge.