Everyone wants to be happy. But how, exactly, does one go about it? Here, psychologists, journalists, Buddhist monks and more give answers that may surprise you. Read on for 12 amazing TED talks you’ll love.
In this article
- 1 1. The habits of happiness, Matthieu Ricard
- 2 2. Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce, Malcolm Gladwell
- 3 3. Happiness and its surprises, Nancy Etcoff
- 4 4. Flow, the secret to happiness, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- 5 5. How to buy Happiness, Michael Norton
- 6 6. The paradox of choice, Barry Schwartz
- 7 7. Want to be happy? Be grateful, David Steindl-Rast
- 8 8. Remember to say thank you, Laura Trice
- 9 9. Less stuff, more happiness, Graham Hill
- 10 10. The surprising science of happiness, Dan Gilbert
What is happiness, and how can we all get it? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in the habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.
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. Video here.
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. Video.
Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi 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.” Video.
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. Video.
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. Video.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi breaks down the secret to happiness: gratitude. Video.
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, and to make sure the other person knows what they mean to you. Try it. Video.
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. Video.
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. Video