Can we really predict the things that will make us happy? How does that relate to how much time and effort we allocate to various activities in life? Art Markman, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, addresses this in “Delusions of grandeur II: Overexcited, overanxious, and ready for action,” for his Psychology Today blog. Markman’s post references two other psychology professors: Harvard’s Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness and Tobias Greitemeyer of the University of Sussex.

Also worth reading is a short piece in the May-June 2009 Foreign Policy, The Next Big Thing: Happiness, by Swarthmore College psychology professor Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. He reminds us that a lot more goes into the measure of a country’s well-being than purely economic factors. Many of us, he says, knew about the factors (such as community, family and friends) that contribute to our happiness, but downplayed them in the pursuit of wealth and risk until reality hit.

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