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The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness
Cover of The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness
The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness

"A remarkable journey. I laughed. I cried. I got another cat." —Lily Tomlin
"Paula Poundstone is the funniest human being I have ever known." —Peter Sagal, host of Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! and author of The Book of Vice

"Is there a secret to happiness?" asks comedian Paula Poundstone. "I don't know how or why anyone would keep it a secret. It seems rather cruel, really . . . Where could it be? Is it deceptively simple? Does it melt at a certain temperature? Can you buy it? Must you suffer for it before or after?" In her wildly and wisely observed book, the comedy legend takes on that most inalienable of rights—the pursuit of happiness.
Offering herself up as a human guinea pig in a series of thoroughly unscientific experiments, Poundstone tries out a different get-happy hypothesis in each chapter of her data-driven search. She gets in shape with taekwondo. She drives fast behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. She communes with nature while camping with her daughter, and commits to getting her house organized (twice!). Swing dancing? Meditation? Volunteering? Does any of it bring her happiness? You may be laughing too hard to care.
The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness is both a story of jumping into new experiences with both feet and a surprisingly poignant tale of a single working mother of three children (not to mention dozens of cats, a dog, a bearded dragon lizard, a lop-eared bunny, and one ant left from her ant farm) who is just trying to keep smiling while living a busy life.
The queen of the skepticism-fueled rant, Paula Poundstone stands alone in her talent for bursting bubbles and slaying sacred cows.
Like George Carlin, Steve Martin, and David Sedaris, she is a master of her craft, and her comedic brilliance is served up in abundance in this book. As author and humorist Roy Blount Jr. notes, "Paula Poundstone deserves to be happy. Nobody deserves to be this funny."

"A remarkable journey. I laughed. I cried. I got another cat." —Lily Tomlin
"Paula Poundstone is the funniest human being I have ever known." —Peter Sagal, host of Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! and author of The Book of Vice

"Is there a secret to happiness?" asks comedian Paula Poundstone. "I don't know how or why anyone would keep it a secret. It seems rather cruel, really . . . Where could it be? Is it deceptively simple? Does it melt at a certain temperature? Can you buy it? Must you suffer for it before or after?" In her wildly and wisely observed book, the comedy legend takes on that most inalienable of rights—the pursuit of happiness.
Offering herself up as a human guinea pig in a series of thoroughly unscientific experiments, Poundstone tries out a different get-happy hypothesis in each chapter of her data-driven search. She gets in shape with taekwondo. She drives fast behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. She communes with nature while camping with her daughter, and commits to getting her house organized (twice!). Swing dancing? Meditation? Volunteering? Does any of it bring her happiness? You may be laughing too hard to care.
The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness is both a story of jumping into new experiences with both feet and a surprisingly poignant tale of a single working mother of three children (not to mention dozens of cats, a dog, a bearded dragon lizard, a lop-eared bunny, and one ant left from her ant farm) who is just trying to keep smiling while living a busy life.
The queen of the skepticism-fueled rant, Paula Poundstone stands alone in her talent for bursting bubbles and slaying sacred cows.
Like George Carlin, Steve Martin, and David Sedaris, she is a master of her craft, and her comedic brilliance is served up in abundance in this book. As author and humorist Roy Blount Jr. notes, "Paula Poundstone deserves to be happy. Nobody deserves to be this funny."

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About the Author-
  • Paula Poundstone is a popular panelist on NPR's weekly comedy quiz program Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!. She tours regularly, performing standup throughout the country. Poundstone was the first woman ever to share the stage with the President as host at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. She has had numerous HBO specials, starred in her own series on HBO and ABC, is included in Comedy Central's list of Top 100 Comics of All Time, and has won an American Comedy Award. The National Spokesperson for the ALA's United for Libraries Volunteer Network, she is also the author of There's Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 26, 2017
    One of veteran comedian Poundstone’s highest-profile recurring gigs involves panelist duties on National Public Radio’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! game show, and the accomplished funnywoman draws quite effectively on her natural ease in front of a microphone, bringing the droll quality of her stand-up comedy to the audio medium. The narrative centers on her quest to find the elusive experience of bliss through various experiments, ranging from the altruism of donating plasma and volunteering in a nursing home to the hedonism of renting a sports car or watching movies at home with her three kids for 24 hours in a row. Poundstone’s turn imitating the teenage angst of her technology-addicted son leaves a particularly memorable impression. An Algonquin hardcover.

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The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness
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