> Skip to content
  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781847925763
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 312
  • RRP: $35.00

The Sweet Spot

Suffering, Pleasure and the Key to the Good Life



A provocative and counter-intuitive look at human behaviour from world-leading psychologist and author of the influential Against Empathy

Why do we seek out painful experiences? From horror movies and roller-coaster rides to marathon running, from S&M to religious violence and - most painful of all - parenthood, humans are drawn irresistibly to activities that they know are going to hurt.

In The Pleasures of Suffering one of the world's best known psychologists gathers together the latest science to explain why, and to present a radical new account of human behaviour. Drawing on studies of the evolutionary value of play and the science of morality, he identifies the desire for meaning as being far greater than our desire for happiness, overturning long-held assumptions about our species.

Endlessly fascinating and counter-intuitive, this is a deeply humane and enlightening enquiry, packed with unexpected insight into the human condition.

  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781847925763
  • Imprint: Bodley Head
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 312
  • RRP: $35.00

About the author

Paul Bloom

Paul Bloom is Professor of Psychology at Yale University. He is an internationally recognised expert on the psychology of language, social reasoning, morality and art. His previous books include Just Babies and How Pleasure Works, and he has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, New Yorker and the Guardian. Bloom has won several awards for his research, articles and teaching, and his ‘Introduction to Psychology’ class was one of seven selected by Yale to be made available worldwide. His TED talks have been viewed 2.8 million times.

Also by Paul Bloom

See all

Praise for The Sweet Spot

Wonderfully humane, lucid and entertaining ... a brave and necessary tract for the times

Telegraph (on Against Empathy)

A great, provocative book ... that will legitimately change how you think about the world and your own sense of morality

New York Times (on Against Empathy)

Related titles