playlist

What makes you happy?

Everyone wants to be happy. But how, exactly, does one go about it? Here, psychologists, journalists, Buddhist monks and more gives answers that may surprise.

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  1. 21:16
    Dan Gilbert The surprising science of happiness

    Dan Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness," challenges the idea that we'll be miserable if we don't get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don't go as planned.

  2. 17:30
    Malcolm Gladwell Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce

    "Tipping Point" author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce — and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.

  3. 19:45
    Nancy Etcoff Happiness and its surprises

    Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff looks at happiness — the ways we try to achieve and increase it, the way it's untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies.

  4. 12:46
    Robert Waldinger What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

    What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

  5. 18:55
    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Flow, the secret to happiness

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."

  6. 10:58
    Michael Norton How to buy happiness

    At TEDxCambridge, Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can indeed buy happiness — when you don't spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.

  7. 19:37
    Barry Schwartz The paradox of choice

    Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

  8. 14:30
    David Steindl-Rast Want to be happy? Be grateful

    The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.

  9. 3:29
    Laura Trice Remember to say thank you

    In this deceptively simple 3-minute talk, Dr. Laura Trice muses on the power of the magic words "thank you" — to deepen a friendship, to repair a bond, to make sure another person knows what they mean to you. Try it.

  10. 5:49
    Graham Hill Less stuff, more happiness

    Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

  11. 20:54
    Matthieu Ricard The habits of happiness

    What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.

  12. 20:06
    Daniel Kahneman The riddle of experience vs. memory

    Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own self-awareness.

  13. 7:26
    Ron Gutman The hidden power of smiling

    Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you'll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behavior.

  14. 20:25
    Eve Ensler Happiness in body and soul

    Eve Ensler, creator of "The Vagina Monologues," shares how a discussion about menopause with her friends led to talking about all sorts of sexual acts onstage, waging a global campaign to end violence toward women and finding her own happiness.