Cassie Mogilner Holmes is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Decision Making and the Donnalisa ’86 and Bill Barnum Endowed Term Chair in Management at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Previously a tenured faculty member at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, she studies happiness, highlighting the role of time. Before taking part in a Zócalo/UCLA Anderson School of Management event, “Can Individuals Be Happy in an Unhappy Time?” at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown Los Angeles, she spoke in the Zócalo green room about Philadelphia coffee, Ryan Gosling, and her happiest moments.
When were you happiest?
There are so many moments that I could point to, and they have their different colors of happiness. This morning, when I was cuddling with my 3-year-old. On my wedding day, with my amazing husband. When I found out I got tenure, that was a proud and relieved happiness.
Where are you happiest?
In the sunshine of Southern California, which is why I moved back here. I’m from here originally, but I was on the East Coast.
What’s the last book you read?
The Goldfinch [Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel], which I loved. Another source of happiness is my book club, which is full of amazing women who inspire me and are fun to drink with.
Who was the last actor or actress who made you swoon?
I loved La La Land, so Ryan Gosling, though he’s not really my type.
What teacher or professor made the biggest impact on your life?
In my sophomore year at Columbia as an undergrad, there was Professor Johnson, and he taught contemporary civilization, a philosophy theory of thought class. The way he encouraged us to relate the material to our own lives was something that I found really inspiring.
What question do you get most from students?
“Can you explain my grade?”
What do you miss most about Philadelphia?
The coffee at Rival Bros. That was truly my singular source of happiness there.
You study decision making: What’s the best decision you ever made?
To marry my husband.
What’s the worst decision you ever made?
The worst decision I ever made was when I was in high school—and it was to go to a high school party on my mom’s fiftieth birthday.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Westwood?
Fundamental. They have a great burger and happy hour wine list.
How has studying consumer behavior affected your own behavior as a consumer?
It makes me strive for time well spent over money well spent.