What Makes a Good Life?

Dan Clendenin
2 min readOct 3, 2021

By Dan Clendenin

What Makes a Good Life? (2015)

This little 12-minute YouTube video would make an excellent selection for an adult education discussion forum. It’s a TED Talk by the Harvard psychiatrist (and Zen priest!) Robert Waldinger that has received 39 million views. Waldinger is the fourth director of Harvard’s Study of Adult Development, which began all the way back in 1938. The longitudinal study has tracked the mental health and happiness of 724 men for over 80 years. These men are still tracked and studied today, with the goal of the study being to identify predictors of healthy aging. Part of the cohort were Harvard alumni, while the other part were men from disadvantaged backgrounds who grew up in inner city Boston. In the TED Talk, Waldinger shares three simple but powerful conclusions from the study. For more on this subject see my reviews of Jonathan Rauch, The Happiness Curve; Why Life Gets Better After 50 (2018); Karl Pillemer, 30 Lessons for Living; Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans (2011); Tal Ben-Shahar, Shortcuts to Happiness: Life-Changing Lessons from my Barber (2018); and the movie Happy (2011). To watch Waldinger’s TED Talk, see here:

https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness?language=en

Dan Clendenin: dan@journeywithjesus.net

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