In Absolute Beginners by The Jam, Paul Weller sang “I need the strength to go and get what I want”. The problem is that we often want things that do not improve our wellbeing. Or at least that is what we think the evidence is telling us. This lecture explores the sources of our mistakes and the robustness of the evidence. It considers the implications for public policy of us being absolute beginners about the sources of our wellbeing. Paul Dolan is a Professor in the Department of Social Policy, LSE. He is the chief academic advisor on economic appraisal to the Government Economic Service and a seconded member of the Behavioural Insight Team in the Cabinet Office.