Can we really learn to be happy? Yes, we can. Each semester, nearly 1,400 students sign up for Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar’s life-changing class, “How to Get Happy.” Currently it’s the hottest course at Harvard, taken by 20 percent of its graduates.
In Happier, Professor Ben-Shahar brings the ideas of the Ivory Tower to Main Street, distilling the lessons and exercises from his course into a slim volume of practical wisdom. Grounded in the Positive Psychology movement, based on years of researching the works of scientists, academics, and philosophers, Happier emphasizes the importance of pursuing a life of both pleasure and meaning. Lessons, exercises, and “Happiness Boosters” cover self-esteem, empathy, friendship, love, achievement, creativity, spirituality, and humor. Questions help us identify activities that will make us happier immediately, then apply what we’ve learned to school, work, and personal relationships. We discover that happiness, not money, is the ultimate currency, that we can’t be happy unless we first give ourselves permission to be human, and that happiness isn’t so elusive after all.
TAL BEN-SHAHAR, himself a Harvard graduate, is one of Harvard University’s most popular lecturers; he has been profiled on NPR and featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, and Boston Globe. He teaches Positive Psychology and other classes to an amazing 20% of all Harvard graduates each semester. For the last 10 years he has been teaching personal and organizational excellence, leadership, ethics, and self-esteem. He lives in Boston and Jerusalem.