Harvard’s Positive Psychology 1504, taught by professor Tal Ben-Shahar Ph.D., will enter the books as the most popular course in the history of Harvard University.
In the spring of 2006, over 1400 Harvard students enrolled in both Positive Psychology 1504 and Ben-Shahar’s Psychology of Leadership course.
Positive Psychology 1504 consists of 22 lectures lasting around 75 minutes each, with a guest lecture on humor by Harvard graduate and professor Shawn Achor. The course’s focus is on the psychological aspects of life fulfillment and examines empathy, friendship, love, achievement, creativity, spirituality, happiness, and humor.
The aim of this article is to provide you with the materials you will need to follow the course. If you have a love of learning but are unable to attend classes, check out our online learning section.
Be sure to also check out our page on positive psychology courses and positive psychology degrees as they present you with all the different online and offline positive psychology courses that are out there.
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Who is Tal Ben-Shahar?
Born in 1970, Ben-Shahar is a renowned teacher and writer in the areas of positive psychology and leadership. He completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in Organisational Psychology, writing his dissertation on “Restoring Self-Esteem’s Self-Esteem: The Constructs of Dependent and Independent Competence and Worth.”
In 2011, Ben-Shahar joined Angus Ridgway to cofound Potentialife. This leadership-development program uses science to help organizations develop ideal leadership behaviors, and bring positive psychology into daily life.
“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness, therefore, is not about making it to the peak of the mountain, nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain: happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak” – Tal Ben-Shahar
Harvard’s Positive Psychology 1504 Syllabus
Click on the link below to open this course’s syllabus in PDF-format. It contains all the necessary readings for this course and links to the free online sources for these readings.
However, some of the readings are not freely or easily available online.
Positive Psychology 1504 Lecture Videos
The lectures for this course have been put online so that people all over the world can learn about and develop an interest in positive psychology and its scientific branches.
Below you will find the first lecture of this lecture series. The other lectures are also available on YouTube or elsewhere online.
Also, be sure to check out these 5 awesome Positive Psychology PowerPoints (PPT).
Some of My Lecture Notes:
Books by Tal Ben-Shahar
Based on his positive psychology lectures, Ben-Shahar has published two books on happiness and life fulfillment.
Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. (2007). Buy the book online from Amazon.
The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life. (2009). Buy the book online from Amazon.
Share Your Course Experiences
We would love to hear about your experience with this course via the comments. Which resources were most useful to you?