The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning (Paul Bloom book)

Published 2021-12-27.

Why does suffering seem to be so integral to pleasure, happiness, and meaning? For example, why do people like hot baths, spicy food, and scary movies? Or, from another angle, why do people who go through traumatic experiences often describe them as some of the most formative, irreplaceable experiences of their lives? These are the kinds of questions Paul Bloom tries to answer in this book. I listened to the audible version a couple months ago, and honestly, I don’t remember too much about his answers. The one thing I do remember him emphasizing is that self-chosen suffering—like the struggle one might go through to write a book, or to complete a marathon—is often quite central to people’s feeling that their lives are meaningful.

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