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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life -- serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you -- gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having mean...
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...
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 ...
The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming -- it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents -- to raise happy children -- is so elusive. In this honest talk, Senior offers some kinder an...
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.
When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.
Born with a rare genetic disorder called progeria, Sam Berns knew he'd be facing more obstacles in life than most. This didn't stop him from taking charge of his own happiness. In this moving and inspirational talk, Berns lays out the three principles of the personal philosophy that allowed him to do so.
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says happiness and success are rooted in a trait most of us disregard: the way we orient toward the past, present and future. He suggests we calibrate our outlook on time as a first step to improving our lives.
Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness -- sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself. Watch through to the end for a sparkling Q&A with some familiar TED faces.
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.
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.
When are humans most happy? To gather data on this question, Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.
Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation's success by its productivity -- instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn't have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be sur...