About Nic

Bio

I am currently in the throes of starting up a completely new business called Happiness Works. We think happiness is a serious business and build online tools to help people create happier workplaces. Whilst I first developed a "well-being at work" tool in 2008 it has taken some time before I have felt confident enough to commit my main efforts to this idea. I plan to spend at least the next five years mainly focusing on this area. Previously I founded the award winning centre for well-being at the UK think tank - new economics foundation. During this period from 2001 till 2012 we sought to form a bridge between academic research and the UK policy realm. Our best known pieces of work include The Happy Planet Index (2006, 2009 & 2012), National Accounts of Well-being (2009) and Five Ways to Well-being (2008). The centre continues its great work at the forefront of UK and global applied well-being research. I remain a fellow of the new economics foundation and the 'founder' of the centre for well-being. I am also on the Board of the UK charity Action for Happiness which campaigns for a happier kinder society. I am also associated with the US-based Delivering Happiness - founded by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh. They are kind enough to call me their Happiness Minister of Measurement!

TED Conferences

TED2013, TED2011, TEDGlobal 2010

An idea worth spreading

That happiness works. Happiness has evolved as a human emotion to help us create and seize opportunities - this is in contrast to (so-called) negative emotions which help us deal with threats.

I'm passionate about

That people's lives could be happier and more fulfilling and that Western Societies have been focusing too much on wealth and not enough on well-being.

Talk to me about

Happiness, systems thinking and creating positive change in the world.

People don't know I'm good at

Tennis (well ok - I enjoy it anyway)

My TED story

First heard of TED about 5 years ago and was bowled over when asked to give a TED talk at the 2010 TEDglobal. Obsessed about my talk for six months before delivering it and was very relieved to deliver pretty much as I wanted to. Since have written one of the first TED books - The Happiness Manifesto - and attended Long Beach in 2011 ... and have done a few TEDx talks - the last with my partner who is an expert on genetics and happiness - will be fun to see when released on line soon as we had a staged argument (to reflect our normal relationship!) ...

Comments & conversations

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Nic Marks
Posted over 2 years ago
Allan Savory: How to fight desertification and reverse climate change
I have been checking this out with friends in the environmental field - and one told me that the same phenomena is observed in oceans - when pristine coral reefs are observed (these off the Pitcairn islands) there are far more sharks and other apex predators than modern science predicted. It seems that interfering with the predators - changes all other animals' behaviour - in turn leading to a degradation of the whole eco-system. A very believable scenario to me - humans have been killing top predators for millennia and we continue to slaughter sharks to this day. I am blown away by this talk ...
78626
Nic Marks
Posted over 2 years ago
Allan Savory: How to fight desertification and reverse climate change
I am still blown away that so much could be caused - and reversed - by changing animal behaviour. It makes perfect sense - that humans have unwittingly interfered with predators (as we were scared by them) - and this then changes herbivores behaviour - and their symbiotic relationships with the grasslands. I have just watched the talk again (i saw it live at TED) and I am now forwarding to everyone I know how works in climate change. A true gem uncovered by TED ...
78626
Nic Marks
Posted about 3 years ago
Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index
Hi Alex (something) - this is "he" (Nic Marks!) ... you know my advice to you would be to read the report itself before jumping to ill-founded conclusions ... the HPI is not a measure of happiness but of environmental efficiency of delivering happy and long lives for citizens of nations. So we make no claims about a 'casual' relationship between ecological footprint and happiness - statistically they are quite independent within countries (i.e. no relationship - which is itself interesting) between countries is a different matter - and yes richer countries are (as a general rule) happier than poorer ones (it would be a little weird if not). I also in no way place happiness - health - wealth against each other - i was merely reporting what people say they most value. Clearly health and happiness are strongly related (they are highly correlated at personal and international levels) - and wealth is also intertwined with these. What i would say is that we should consider wealth-income-GDP etc as a "means" to an "end" not an end itself - i.e. it is good to be born in a weather country as we are more likely to be happy and healthy - not for the wealth itself ... All the dictatorships - civil rights abuses etc that you cite are as you say abuses - and as you point out there are other indexes that deal with these issues - the Happy Planet Index is just saying that we need a positive vision for humankind and it suggests this vision can be articulated as creating great lives that don't cost the earth - or if you prefer - great lives today and tomorrow ... that doesn't seem so ridiculous to me ... So please do engage brain in gear before using words like "fatuous" as it just makes you look a little ... well ...
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Nic Marks
Posted over 3 years ago
Can we really become happier? Happier ourselves? Can we create happier places to work? Or even happier societies?
I work at a UK think tank - on why Governments should take people's well-being and happiness serously ... so we are a bridge between research and practice ... I have been doing this for 10 years now (I am getting old!) ... but we have had some success as the Uk is the first government in the world to commit to National Accounts of Well-being and is starting to systematicall address some of these issues ... More recently I am creating a tool for businesses/organisations to measure the happiness @ work of their employees - which is great fun ... so I am on the practical end of research if you like ... you?