Appearances vs Experiences: What Really Makes Us Happy

Farnam Street, 2020-07-27


  • The experience of a living space is far more important than its appearance.

  • People declare they value experiences more than things, but observably do the opposite. (wrong assumption of maximizing utility)

  • People misjudge their ability to tell how long pleasure of possessing a thing will last.

Overall Feelings

  • People put far too much weight on obvious differences (location, look) and far too little on intrinsic features (community, relationships, convenience).

  • All novelty (view from the window, huge backyard) wears off, but inconvenience stays.

  • It’s a mistake of believing one can put up with inconveniences in order to enjoy overall comfort.

o   Long commute to the suburbs and back is bad for physical and mental health.