Can happiness be bought? To find out, author Benjamin Wallace sampled the world's most expensive products, including a bottle of 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc, 8 ounces of Kobe beef and the fabled (notorious) Kopi Luwak coffee. His critique may surprise you.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Using simple, delightful illustrations, designer Stefan Sagmeister shares his latest thinking on happiness -- both the conscious and unconscious kind. His seven rules for life and design happiness can (with some customizations) apply to everyone seeking more joy.
We are so preoccupied with happiness that the Declaration of Independence guarantees our right to pursue it. But are we doing it right? Historian Caroline Winterer argues that what the founding fathers meant was public happiness, the need for citizens to work collectively toward a robust democracy. "Only public happiness," she explains, "creates...
TED Studies, created in collaboration with Wiley, are curated video collections — supplemented by rich educational materials — for students, educators and self-guided learners. In Understanding Happiness, expert explorers of the mind chart our understanding of how happiness is created and cultivated. Their insights challenge our most basic cultu...
We all strive for happiness -- but we spend most of our lives learning to be unhappy, says Srikumar Rao. In this practical talk, he teaches how to break free of the "I'd be happy if ..." mental model, and embrace our hard-wired happiness.
Typically financial parameters like return on equity, cash flow or relative market share indicate to investors if a company is fundamentally healthy, but millennial Lena Bieber wants a new measure of a company's long-term prospects. What if companies instead used happiness as an additional indicator of success? By measuring such factors as aver...
City planners are already busy designing futures full of bike paths and LEED-certified buildings. But are they designing for our happiness? It's hard to define, and even harder to plan for, but urban planner Thomas Madrecki has a simple solution: Ask the public.
How to be happier at work? Start by focusing on happiness -- not, surprisingly, on work. We learned this fun fact from Shawn Achor's TED Talk. So we asked Achor to choose some more talks he loves, about making work and life a happier place.
For months Uma Adwani struggled to make a living in a new city, until she was hired to teach a subject she loathed most: math. Growing up Adwani despised the subject, but as she developed lesson plans for her class, she began to fall in love with its magic, poetry and symmetry. In this talk, Adwani shares the secret wisdom she's found hidden in ...
For artist Jennifer Allison, everyday sounds can be overwhelming, certain clothes feel like rubbing against a cactus, and the number four is always royal blue. Allison suffers from a neurological condition called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), which causes her brain to react to stimuli in illogical and sometimes painful ways. Through her wil...
What does happiness sound like? What about misery? Musician Mira Calix explores the emotional qualities embedded in music and noise and shares a sound-based spectrum of human sentiments that emerged from her work.
Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists -- that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.
Self-described control freak Gabriela Roa thought she had everything under control when her son was born -- little did she know what it was like to live with a toddler. Initially, she tried to fight back against her son's messiness, but learned a surprising lesson when she decided to start embracing it. After studying the way in which chaos can ...
A story, a work of art, a face, a designed object -- how do we tell that something is beautiful? And why does it matter so much to us? Designer Richard Seymour explores our response to beauty and the surprising power of objects that exhibit it.
In this talk from 2003, design critic Don Norman turns his incisive eye toward beauty, fun, pleasure and emotion, as he looks at design that makes people happy. He names the three emotional cues that a well-designed product must hit to succeed.
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.