Harvard Happiness Course (A review)

This blog lays emphasis on Harvard Happiness Course. Harvard’s Positive Psychology 1504, taught by Professor Tal Ben-Shahar Ph.D., will be the most famous course in the history of Harvard University.

Nearly 1,400 Harvard students opted for both Positive Psychology 1504 and Ben-Shahar ‘s Leadership Psychology courses in the spring of 2006. 

Positive Psychology 1504 consists of 22 lectures lasting approximately 75 minutes each, including a guest lecture on comedy by Harvard alum and Professor Shawn Achor.

The course focuses on the psychological facets of life’s fulfillment and explores empathy, friendship, intimacy, accomplishment, imagination, faith, joy, and humor.

Harvard’s Positive Psychology 1504

The main focus of this special and creative course, taught by Ben-Shahar between 2004 and 2008, is about how we can support ourselves and others to be happier. 

The program is based on a cross-disciplinary set of subjects that are fundamental to positive psychology, including joy, appreciation, flow, relationships, talents, humor, mindfulness, and motivation, and the connection between mind and body.

Rather than simply memorizing knowledge, Positive Psychology 1504 is about change, so the material is presented in two intertwined but distinct ways: by combining both action and reflection. 

Like every other class, students must read the required research papers and full tests, but they must also apply this new information to their private lives.

Indeed, for healthy development, one must act upon one’s own thoughts and reflect upon one’s acts (Russo-Netzer & Ben-Shahar, 2011).

The translated course material has since been taught with great success in Israel, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe.

Interestingly, irrespective of cultural differences, the same concepts and values seem to resonate, indicating that the content taught is important across cultures. 

Harvard’s Positive Psychology 1504 Syllabus and Reading List

The curriculum for Positive Psychology 1504 – covering topics such as pleasure, self-esteem, love, friendship, and creativity – is still available in PDF format, as is the full reading. You can know more about it here.

This includes all the materials required to complete the curriculum and ties to online sources.

It is worth noting, however, that some of the readings might not be freely or conveniently made accessible online.

Positive Psychology 1504 Lecture Videos and Transcripts

While Ben-Shahar no more teaches Positive Psychology 1504, the lessons for this program are accessible online so that people around the world can learn about and cultivate an interest in positive psychology and its research branches. You can get his lessons here.

The transcripts for the first 12 lectures are also available.

Please notice that these transcripts are from lectures held in 2008 and the videos above are from 2006, and although there might be some minor differences, they contain the same material of the course. You can get his PowerPoint presentations here.

Recommended Books

The following is a list of some books on happiness. These books are a great source of knowledge.

All of these books are easily available on the Amazon Store.

Just click the book you wish to study and you will be redirected to the page from where you can access it.

What is the most popular course at Harvard University?

These are Harvard ‘s 5 most famous Fall Semester courses. Everybody wants econ.

Flickr / stuartpilbrow introductory-level economics remains Harvard University’s most popular undergraduate course, reported The Harvard Crimson

How can I be happy at Harvard?

You can be happy at Harvard by choosing friends wisely, keep learning, keeping your agreement, living in the present moment, meditating, and paying attention to what you are doing.

Is Yale offering free online classes?

Yale’s most popular class ever is free online — and the topic is how to be happier in your everyday lives.

When you purchase through our links, our affiliate partners can earn money. Read more online.

Yale University offers a free online course that teaches you how to be happier, The Science of Well-Being.

What really makes us happy?

The more significant factors of happiness include self-esteem, coping skills, leisure time, volunteer work, and entertainment.

Aaker indicates that wealth, appearance, intellect, etc. will make you happy, but this joy usually dissipates quite rapidly.

What makes study happy?

The study indicated that close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy all through their lives.

Such bonds shield citizens from the frustration of life, help slow mental and physical deterioration, and they are stronger predictors of healthy and successful lives than social status, Intelligence, or even DNA.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

What is the science of happiness?

The line “science of happiness” applies to a modern area in psychological research called constructive psychology.  

Positive psychology, simply put, is the study of those things which make life worth living, according to one of its founders Chris Peterson.

This page explained in detail the Harvard Happiness Course along with the details about course requirements, video and PowerPoint presentations of this course, and so forth.

If you have any questions or queries regarding this blog, let us know through your comments. We will be glad to assist you.

You can also take a look at free courses on public speaking in London to increase the number of courses you’ve done, giving a nice impression on your job CV.


Positive Psychology 1504: Harvard’s Groundbreaking Course by Seph Fontane Pennock (2020)



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