Sissela Bok, a philosopher who recently published a book on happiness, says she might never have existed, much less experienced happiness, if it weren't for her mother's stubborn refusal to accept the advice of doctors. Bok's mother had come close to death through a traumatic miscarriage and later developed a uterine tumor. Her doctors urged her to have a hysterectomy and warned that future pregnancies could be fatal. But she refused the hysterectomy, believing that her only child at the time—Bok's older brother—needed a sibling. Bok discovered all this 50 years afterward when she read a letter her father, Gunnar Myrdal, had written to her mother affirming her mother's decision (Exploring Happiness, Yale University Press).