In this episode, we talked to Professor Arthur Brooks about happiness, wisdom, love, relationships, religion and spirituality, and why these are important for our flourishing, particularly as we move into the latter half of our lives.
Arthur C. Brooks is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. Before joining Harvard in July 2019, he served for ten years as president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute, one of the world’s leading think tanks. Brooks is the author of 12 books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller “From Strength to Strength,” and national bestsellers “Love Your Enemies” and “The Conservative Heart”. He has also published dozens of academic journal articles and the textbook “Social Entrepreneurship”. He is a columnist for The Atlantic, host of the podcast “How to Build a Happy Life,” and subject of the 2019 documentary film “The Pursuit,” which Variety named as one of the “Best Documentaries on Netflix” in August 2019. He gives more than 100 speeches per year around the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Prior to his work in academia and public policy, Brooks spent 12 years as a professional French hornist in the United States and Spain.
Key conversation points:
The kinds of relationships that are most important to cultivate and how to cultivate them.
The distinction between “real” and “deal friends”: why focusing on the former is vital for happiness but focusing on the latter leads to loneliness.
How to ensure you have sufficient “real relationships” in your life.
Why love is so important for happiness and flourishing.
The importance of developing a vision of what you love and do.
The two intelligence “curves” in life: moving from fluid to crystallized intelligence.
Why religion, spirituality, philosophy or a connection with something higher are important for flourishing.
Arthur’s most recent book, From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life and the seven words he uses to sum it up: “use things, love people, worship the divine”.
Joining us to interview Arthur is Matthew T. Lee, Professor of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He is also a Research Associate and Director of the Flourishing Network at the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University; a member of the Global Study of Human Flourishing research team; a Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Health, Flourishing, and Positive Psychology at Stony Brook University’s Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics; and Visiting Scholar at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.