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Robert Waldinger is on TED!

TEDxBeaconStreet is immensely proud to announce that our 2015 talk by Robert Waldinger, “The Good Life”, has made it onto TED.com. Dr. Waldinger is the current Director of the Laboratory of Adult Development at Massachusetts General Hospital and a faculty member in the adult training program at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, as well as the Director of the Center for Psychodynamic Therapy and Research at Massachusetts General Hospital. He’s also a Buddhist monk.

The study Dr. Waldinger describes is known as the “Harvard Longitudinal Study”, or the Grant and Glueck Studies. It has been running since 1937, and is the longest running study of adult life ever conducted; Dr. Waldinger is its fourth director. At its beginning, its subjects comprised 724 men from Boston, including former President John F. Kennedy; nearly 100 of them are still participating today.

What can we learn from a study this extensive? The investigators studied everything imaginable about these men: every two years, they undergo physical examinations, interviews, observations, and more. Over the span of a lifetime, that’s a lot of data! (Dr. Waldinger remarks that many study participants from poorer neighborhoods of Boston want to know why the minute details of their lives are of such interest to the researchers; however, “the Harvard men never ask that question!”) In fact, the study’s results are used in an enormous variety of disciplines, and have been invaluable to many researchers and doctors.

So what’s the point of this all this work? Decades of questions, exams, and exhaustive analyses have led to a few key conclusions, but the main question is, “What makes people happy? What makes them satisfied with their lives?” A study this enormous gives us a chance at a real answer, and Robert Waldinger is committed to sharing his work, to help more people pursue a truly happy life.

The TEDxBeaconStreet community is immensely proud to count Dr. Waldinger among our members, and we’re thrilled to see his hard work recognized. He charmed our audience from the stage in November, and he reminds us, especially at this holiday time of year, what happiness really is. Watch his talk on TED.com to learn the answer.

The Harvard Longitudinal Study has touched disciplines and lives across the spectrum. See where it’s popped up in the media…The Art of Manliness: Love Is All You Need (2014)