x = independently organized TED event

Theme: State of Happiness

This event occurred on
March 11, 2011
7:30pm - 10:00pm UTC
(UTC +0hrs)
The Hague

This session — themed In Search of Happiness — is curated by TEDxTheHague regulars Johan Olie (46) and Bruce Siemens (19).

Inspired by Sebastian Wernicke, featured in our February session, Johan and Bruce set out to create an ideal TED talk using the tedPAD. Off course, as these things go, the process brought them elsewhere.

Wernicke found there are ten top-scoring words in the first 560 TED talks. Two of these, "French Coffee" and "happiness", ignited their curiosity. What is happiness? Is it possible to find and keep it? Is enjoying fine French Coffee in a pleasant Coffee Company-venue enough to find happiness? (Johan would think so). Or can it only be reached by making the right choices on crucial points in your life? (So says Bruce).

The TED website has 146 talks about the human search for this state of well-being. In 2004, happiness was a central theme at TED. Exploring their own and your convictions on the subject, Johan and Bruce will each present one favorite TED talk on happiness (and parts of other TED talks). So if happiness is important to you, join us in finding out what will make you a happy TEDxTheHague visitor.

The two full TED talks we present:

Dan Gilbert on our mistaken expectations
Gilbert presents a (simplified) statistical equation of the 18th C. Swiss scientist Pernoulli that helps us predicting exactly which choice is the best for us - rationally. In any situation where we have to make a choice that could make us happier or less happy, the use of this equation would seem to be of great help. Unfortunately, he points out, human beings are not well equipped to make these choices.

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability
Brown, as a social scientist, explores emotions associated with happiness. The feeling of being connected, feeling worthy - even (or especially) in unhappy circumstances. She reports on her own research, based on hundreds of interviews, and how this led her to a new way of looking at the world.

Furthermore, excerpts of these TED Talks will pass by:

Matthieu Ricard on the habits of happiness: A molecular biologist and photographer who choose to become a Buddhist monk. The buddhist view on the human struggle for happiness.
Neil Pasricha: The 3 A's of awesome: The road from happiness to depression and further.
Nancy Etcoff on the surprising science of happiness: Etcoff reports on a wide range of scientifical notions of happiness in sociology, psychology, and biology. The difference between Lust, Romantic Attraction and Attachment.
Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy? The scientific view on happiness. If we allow our mind to do so, we will be happy - come what may.

Berg Kleijn Communicatie
Prins Mauritsplein 24
The Hague, 2582 ND
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Organizing team


The Hague, Netherlands


  • Johan Olie
  • Bruce Siemens