At the Leadership and Happiness Laboratory at the Harvard Kennedy School, we believe that all great leaders should be happiness teachers.

To this end, we share the science of happiness with leaders in academia, government, and business, and empower them to embed this knowledge in their work.

Born out of Professor Arthur Brooks’ teaching at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School, the Leadership and Happiness Laboratory conducts integrative research and creates educational resources for leaders in all sectors to learn the science of happiness, apply it in their own lives, and share it with others.

The work of the Leadership and Happiness Laboratory draws from the highest standards of social science research and leadership practices to present clear and useful tools that enhance happiness practices and outcomes. Our goal is to extend the leading edge of scientific knowledge to those dedicated to uplifting our world to greater well-being.

For questions related to our work and programming, email happiness@hks.harvard.edu.

Learn more about the Lab on the Leadership and Happiness Laboratory website.

Download the Leadership and Happiness Laboratory one pager.

“At the Leadership and Happiness Laboratory, we believe that all great leaders should be happiness teachers. We share the science of happiness with leaders in academia, government, and business, and empower them to embed this knowledge in their work.”

Seeking 'The Good'

Inquiries into community, culture, & society 

The Leadership & Happiness Laboratory is excited to announce Seeking ‘The Good’, a yearlong series of monthly inquiries into community, culture, & society.  

‘The Form of the Good,’ a Platonic ideal, is the origin of knowledge. Plato argues that only from ‘the Good’—a perfect, eternal, and changeless idea—can justice and truth derive value. As imperfect people, it is a concept that will always be just beyond our grasp, but also one that must be sought after if we hope for a better world. In this new journal, the Lab intends to inquire about problems and propose solutions with this ideal top of mind. 

This year’s collection of essays will comment on remedies to America’s political malaise, how leadership is entwined with pain (and meaning), how to buoy up workplace culture, when conflict is beneficial, and more. It is our hope that Seeking ‘The Good’ will provide the basis for leaders of families, businesses, and political parties to unite in a shared vision of goodness. Only in seeking can we move forward together. 

Read the Seeking 'The Good' series here

Arthur C. Brooks is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches courses on leadership, happiness, and social entrepreneurship. He is also a columnist at The Atlantic, where he writes the popular weekly “How to Build a Life” column. Brooks is the author of many academic articles and 13 books, including the 2023 #1 New York Times bestseller Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, and the 2022 #1 New York Times bestseller From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life. He speaks to audiences all around the world about human happiness, and works to raise well-being within private companies, universities, public agencies, and community organizations.

Brooks began his career as a classical French hornist, leaving college at 19, touring and recording with the Annapolis Brass Quintet and later, the City Orchestra of Barcelona. In his late twenties, while still performing, he returned to school, earning a BA through distance learning at Thomas Edison State University, and then an MA in economics from Florida Atlantic University. At 31, he left music and earned an MPhil and PhD in public policy analysis from the Rand Graduate School, during which time he worked as an analyst for the Rand Corporation’s Project Air Force, performing military operations research analysis.

Brooks then spent the next 10 years as a university professor, becoming a full professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in his seventh year out of graduate school and occupying the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business and Government. During this decade, Brooks taught economics and nonprofit management, and published 60 peer-reviewed articles and several books, including the textbook Social Entrepreneurship (2008).

In 2009, Brooks became the 11th president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC, one of the world’s most influential think tanks. Under his leadership, the Institute more than doubled its annual revenues, deepened its outreach to leaders across the ideological spectrum, and expanded its research portfolio to include work on poverty, happiness, and human potential. During this period, he was selected as one of Fortune Magazine’s “50 World’s Greatest Leaders” and was awarded seven honorary doctorates.

Originally from Seattle, Brooks currently lives outside Boston, with his wife Ester Munt-Brooks, who is a native of Barcelona. They have three adult children: Joaquim (25), Carlos (23), and Marina (20).

Reece Brown

Reece Brown

Assistant Director
rbrown@hks.harvard.edu

Bryce Fuemmeler

 Research Associate
brycefuemmeler@hks.harvard.edu

Brendan Chan

Brendan Chan

Research Fellow
brendanchan@gse.harvard.edu

Alexis Sargent

Alexis Sargent

Research Assistant
asargent@hks.harvard.edu

Faculty Director

Arthur Brooks Photo

Arthur Brooks

Appointment
Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership

Press

 

Harvard Business School

Our Harvard Business School course, Leadership and Happiness, has been covered in the media and around campus. In 2021 Professor Brooks and Harvard Business School students spoke with His Holiness the Dalai Lama from his home in Dharamsala. You can read about their conversation in The Harvard Gazette and watch the session below.

 

HarvardX

As an extension of our effort to make the science of happiness more accessible to a global audience, we partnered with HarvardX to create a free online course available to the public. Managing Happiness will introduce you to the scientific essentials and psychological strategies to help you create a meaningful life with lasting habits. 

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