For Grinde, "Darwinian Happiness" is the degree to which we adjust our living conditions to fit our evolved neurological and physiological design, with the aim of maximizing rewards and minimizing distress.
To make connections between evolutionary science and the pursuit of happiness, Grinde offers a fresh and easy to understand picture of how humans are designed and how we got that way. Coverage of the organization and physiology of the brain, the immune system, the senses, the emotions, and social programming acquaint the reader with the hardware and software of human pleasure and pain, and this information in itself is vaulable for anyone who is stiving for a better life. Grinde then expands on the "mismatch hypothesis" in which many contemporary problems stem from the creation of living conditions that are alien to the conditions of the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) that shaped us. He observes astutely that not all mismatches result in stress and unhappiness, but the book's focus is on those mismatches that do, which Grinde calls "Discords."
Grinde proposes that in many cases, the current human environment is out of sync with the environment to which our species has adapted. The current work is a thorough analysis of how we might use the knowledge gained from evolutionary theory to improve current human living conditions as well as individual happiness.
Grinde has done an excellent job in his exploration of novel applications for emerging theories of evolutionary thought in relation to humankind. The book makes for enlightening and entertaining reading and is well worth a look for anyone who is interested in evolutionary psychology and its potential applications for the concept of happiness in general.
--Michael S. Baker Jr., ASCAP Newsletter
A provocative mixture of scientific findings and imaginative speculation, this easy-to-read and enjoyable book offers the curious reader numberous references to and extended sample of scientific literature on topics ranging from animal intelligence to the neural basis of emotion in humans. The author interprets and integrates data from many of the biological sciences to present an engaging view of the human condition.
Darwinian Happiness is replete with fascinating facts and provocative hypotheses, so that learning about happiness is interesting, stimulating and thus happy-making in itself.
--David T. Lykken, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota
Bjorn Grinde has done a wonderful job in crossing disciplinary boundaries and presenting this complicated matter so eloquently.
--Ruut Veenhoven, Professor of Happiness Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam