The Secret to Happiness is Settling for “happier”

The Secret to Happiness is Settling for “happier”

Written by Lois Alcosser

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It’s not every day that you can meet the person who teaches the most popular course at Harvard. It happened Tuesday evening, when more than a hundred people filled the auditorium of the Montessori School on Whipple Road. Tal Ben-Shahar’s subject was “Happiness.”

It sounded like this was to be another typical self-help talk. But it turned out to be different. Professor Ben-Shahar’s “Happiness” course at Harvard started with six students and grew to 900. The class, “Postive Psychology,” is described as life changing and now attracts 1,400 students per semester, according to Ruth Hurwitz, Montessori School’s communications and special events director.

“I”m aware of the thousands of books that promise to give the three secrets of success, the five ways to find a mate, the pop psychology that overpromises and underdelivers.” Assuring his audience that he’s not a self-help guru or an academic who writes about life in esoteric journals, Dr. Ben-Shahar said that happiness is the ultimate currency, and a science.

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