Paul Bloom is Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Yale University. Paul Bloom studies how children and adults make sense of the world, with special focus on pleasure, morality, religion, fiction, and art. He has won numerous awards for his research and teaching. He is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. He has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for popular outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly. He is the author of six books, including his most recent, The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning.



”Paul Bloom can always be counted on to take your confident assumptions about humanity and turn them upside down. With The Sweet Spot, he’s done it again! But this time, his investigations into pain and suffering, pleasure and meaning, ask — and answer — the perennial question of what makes life worth living. You won’t want to miss this eloquent and erudite book.”

Susan Cain, author of New York Times bestseller, Quiet

“Provocative, fascinating, and insightful -- in other words, just what you’d expect from Paul Bloom, one of the world’s best writers and deepest thinkers about human behavior. His argument about why we sometimes seek sorrow, fear, and pain is, paradoxically, a pleasure to read.”

Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and author of New York Times bestseller Stumbling on Happiness

“This book will challenge you to rethink your vision of a good life. With sharp insights and lucid prose, Paul Bloom makes a captivating case that pain and suffering are essential to happiness. It’s an exhilarating antidote to toxic positivity”

Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

“A laugh-out-loud-funny and totally thought-provoking tour of the most curious parts of human pleasure! With tantalizing examples you can’t wait to tell your friends, Bloom provides a fun and theoretically-insightful journey into our species’ strangest forms of enjoyment. It's a book that will definitely hit your sweet spot!”

Laurie Santos, Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon Professor of Psychology at Yale University and host of The Happiness Lab

“Paul Bloom has a gift for spotting paradoxes in human nature and resolving them with deep, satisfying explanations, and this lucid and fascinating book does it again with our puzzling masochisms.”

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and author of How the Mind Works and Rationality

“This delightful and wonderfully written book manages to ask one of the most important questions in modern thought: what is happiness, really? Paul Bloom gets to the heart of the matter, taking on a truly important mission — to illustrate how complex and rich human happiness really is. It turns out that, like all things human, happiness can be confusing, paradoxical, embarrassing, and sometimes just bizarre.”

Greg Lukianoff, co-author of New York Times besteller, Coddling of the American Mind

“After reading The Sweet Spot, I understand how struggles emboldened one to take on new challenges and better deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that most of us encounter in our lives, and to find meaning therein.

Michael Shermer, Publisher Skeptic magazine and author of The Moral Arc, Heavens on Earth, and The Believing Brain

“Paul Bloom, one of the best writers we have about the human condition, has done it again. What a fascinating book! The Sweet Spot is a profound meditation on happiness, family, and meaning. This book provides enough challenging ideas to give you just a bit of beautiful discomfort, but it is, above all, a joy to read."

A.J. Jacobs, author of, most recently, Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey

“Forget your favorite motivational speaker for a moment and read this book. Paul Bloom gives you the real scoop on what it takes to live a good life, and it’s not what you may think. Beyond pleasure, beyond joy, and even beyond happiness lies something deeper, more meaningful, and more transcendent. Chosen wisely, suffering can get you there. Paul Bloom shows you how.” "

Scott Barry Kaufmann, author of, most recently, Transcendence

“TWhy would animals supposedly designed to seek pleasure often follow the path to pain? Asking this question led Paul Bloom to explore lots of other questions about our species that have gotten too little attention, and the result is a wise, witty, and enthralling book that could change the way you think about your choices in life.”

Robert Wright, author of, more recently, Why Buddhism is True

Selected Talks and Profiles


Books