Everyone is always wondering what makes some people simply happier than others.  I’ve learned over the years that there are a series of traits—yes, 19 specific traits—that help make one joyous as well as successful.  And  little by little psychologists, behavioral economists, social psychologists and even neuro-biologists are proving that to be true.

It’s even true on a national basis.  Go to this great piece by psychologist Robert A. Lavine in the Atlantic Monthly to see the reasons for the Danes’ elevated levels of happiness as a people. Continue Reading…


This is the first of a series of comments on David Brooks’ book.

David Brooks nails it with his new book,The Social Animal.  After looking at all the great research going on these days into human behavior, one of his core conclusions is that the emotional connections we make throughout life determine who we are, and who we can become.

Brooks cites several research studies about the importance of student-teacher connection when it comes to student achievement. One comment from a great interview on San Francisco’s KQED radio show, “Forum” with Michael Krasny: “I came across one researcher who said that if you want to know who is going to drop out of school, go into… when you go into a school and ask the kid, ‘Who’s your favorite teacher?,’ and if they give you an answer to that question, that kid will not drop out.  If they look at you as if that question is absurd then those kids are at risk.”

That human connection is even more important than grades and SAT scores.  It’s about self-determination, which is so critical to happiness and productivity.

Continue Reading…

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The Good Among the Great reveals traits shared by the good souls among the highest achievers.  Find out what it takes to become a GREAT, successful and happy human being.