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The review



And how to live it

  1. Waldinger & M. Schulz

This month's book brings us the lessons learned from the longest and deepest-ever study about human happiness.

In the 40s of S. XX, Harvard University started to follow 784 individuals recruited from the university but also from the most depressed neighborhoods in Boston. During the following 80 years (today, the study is still ongoing with the second generation of participants), Harvard's workers and participants regularly exchanged correspondence. The participants filled out numerous surveys, and even Harvard's staff frequently visited them and their families in their own homes. The goal was to find out what makes them happy.

The book points out that the two essential elements of happiness are the sense of purpose in your life and the joy you experience daily. These two elements are related to your relationships with other humans. In the book, the conclusion is clear: people with better relationships, more connected with family, friends, and community… are happier and even live longer. Once the essential material needs are covered, becoming wealthier does not mean becoming happier.

The authors bring together scientific findings, popular wisdom, and lots of real examples extracted from the study data. You will find chapters dedicated to social, professional, family, or intimate relationships. Their role in our happiness and how our expectations of them have changed over the years.

We are in January, and most of us look ahead and set new goals for 2024. This might be an enlightening read that sparks the thought about what really makes sense and the kind of life we want to have.

Please enjoy it, and Happy New Year!!!

The Good life                   ISBN-13  9781846046773                352 pgs

Het goede leven               ISBN-13  9789025909468                244 pgs        

Robert J. Waldinger is the fourth director of the Harvard's study. He teaches psychiatry also in Harvard and directs a program for teaching psychotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital. He has written several papers and books and received numerous awards for his research activity.

Mark Schulz is a clinical psychologist Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley. He teaches psychology at Bryn Mawr College. His scholarship mainly focuses on emotion and relationship dynamics in the context of adult development. 


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