What’s your theory, in a nutshell?

There are two types of happiness:

temporary happiness, which comes from pleasure,


core happiness, which is the relaxed, general day-to-day feeling of wellbeing that we experience when nothing in particular is happening.

Temporary happiness: when we engage in short-term behaviours which benefit us, such as eating, having sex, and playing (playing is good for us because it hones skills) we are rewarded instantaneously with pleasure.

Core happiness: when we engage in long-term, ongoing beneficial behaviours we cannot be rewarded with instantaneous pleasure; instead, we are rewarded with long-term, ongoing pleasure – a relaxed, general feeling of wellbeing: core happiness.

Two of the major long-term innate needs we have are:
– our deep need to belong. The early hominids who didn’t live in groups were likely to succumb to starvation or predators. As a consequence, we evolved an ongoing need to live in groups; we evolved a need to contribute to the tribe, to feel valued by it, and to feel connected with those around us.
This book focuses on how we can satisfy that deep need to belong.
– our need for resilience. Like most animals, we evolved the ongoing need to keep ourselves safe. This need is discussed in my other book, ‘The Umpteen Keys to Resilience.’

When we don’t engage in those behaviours we feel unsettled, miserable, and anxious. That is evolution’s way of nudging us to change the situation.

In short, there are two types of happiness: the temporary kind we get from pleasures, and the core kind. We need both for a happy life. We gain the first by satisfying short-term innate needs; we gain the second by satisfying long-term innate needs.