Is pleasure selfish and are we selfish to pursue it, scientifically speaking?
'I know the ways of pleasure, the sweet strains,
The lullings and relishes of it' George Herbert
This is a book about the lengths people will go to nuzzle out some pleasure - and the scientific reasons that lie behind those impulses, written in an accessible and entertaining way.
Paul Martin looks at changing attitudes to pleasure over the centuries, including religious and philosophical lawgiving on the subject, before moving on to the scientific hardwiring that supports all this human frenzy. He looks too at chemical pleasures, at our attempts to bottle the pleasure-giving principle for easy access and regular self-medication -- from caffeine to heroin, from tobacco to glue. Which brings us to addiction, and the darker side of pleasure's many moons - before coming back full circle to the therapeutic bliss of pleasure, its key role in an individual's health, and that least-promoted, most-undervalued but most satisfying daily pleasure of all - sweet sleep.
Praise for `Making Happy People':
`In Making Happy People, Paul Martin proves himself a man of kindness and blithe optimism whose delightful diktats would be of benefit to us all.' Mail on Sunday
`There is something shockingly nice about these arguments.' Guardian
`Well argued... Expert' Independent
Praise for `Counting Sheep':
'Energetic and immensely readable, this is as good a popular science book as I have read... written with such vivacity and infectious enthusiasm that by the end of this book you'll be racing for your bed to try out a few sleepy experiments for yourself.' Evening Standard
'A masterpiece of efficiently and entertainingly delivered information, bracingly clear and thoroughly researched.' New Statesman
Paul Martin was educated at Cambridge University, where he read Natural Sciences and took a PhD in behavioural biology, and at Stanford University, California, where he was Harkness Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences. He lectured and researched in behavioural biology at Cambridge University, and was a Fellow of Wolfson College, before leaving academia to pursue other interests including science writing. His previous books include `The Sickening Mind', `Counting Sheep' and `Making Happy People'.