Happy Money

The Science of Happier Spending

Happy Money

Two professors combine their fascinating and cutting-edge research in behavioral science to explain how money can buy happiness—if you follow five core principles of smart spending.

Most people recognize that they need professional advice on how to earn, save, and invest their money. When it comes to spending that money, most people just follow their intuitions. But scientific research shows that those intuitions are often wrong.

Happy Money offers a tour of research on the science of spending, explaining how you can get more happiness for your money. Authors Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton have outlined five principles—from choosing experiences over stuff to spending money on others—to guide not only individuals looking for financial security, but also companies seeking to create happier employees and provide “happier products” to their customers. Dunn and Norton show how companies from Google to Pepsi to Charmin have put these ideas into action.

Along the way, Dunn and Norton explore fascinating research that reveals that luxury cars often provide no more pleasure than economy models, that commercials can actually enhance the enjoyment of watching television, and that residents of many cities frequently miss out on inexpensive pleasures in their hometowns. By the end of this “lively and engaging book” (Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness), you’ll be asking yourself one simple question every time you reach for your wallet: Am I getting the biggest happiness bang for my buck?
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451665079 | 
  • May 2014

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About the Authors

Elizabeth Dunn
Photograph by Todd Duncan

Elizabeth Dunn

Elizabeth Dunn is an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. At age twenty-six, she was featured as one of the “rising stars” across all of academia by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Michael Norton
Photograph by Steph Stevens

Michael Norton

Michael Norton is an associate professor of marketing at the Harvard Business School. His research has twice been featured in The New York Times Magazine Year in Ideas issue. In 2012, he was selected for Wired magazine’s Smart List as one of “50 People Who Will Change the World.”

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