Imagine this: You’re a teenage musical prodigy, a world-class classical French horn player. You drop out of college at age 19 and spend your twenties touring the globe as a musician (including, once, tripping and falling off the stage at Carnegie Hall).
At age 31, you retire from your musical career, get a Ph.D., and become a professor – first at Syracuse and then at Harvard, where you teach both at Harvard Business School and at the Harvard Kennedy School.
You publish 13 books and write a column for The Atlantic, which gets noticed by Oprah Winfrey. Oprah then invites you to dinner, where she asks you to co-author a book together.
This is the life of today’s guest, Harvard Professor Arthur Brooks, whose collaboration with Oprah, a book called Build the Life You Want, focuses on the science and research behind happiness.
Brooks teaches a class on leadership and happiness to second-year Harvard MBA candidates. In our conversation, we discuss a range of topics, including metacognition (thinking about how to think), the neurobiological basis of ruminating, and how to balance the concept of contentment with the innately human urge for ambition and progress.
He also offers a formula for happiness: enjoyment + satisfaction + meaning and purpose.
So – I hope you enjoy this episode; I hope you find it satisfying, and I hope it fills you with meaning and purpose!