Tal David Ben-Shahar

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Tal David Ben-Shahar

Hebrew: טל דוד בן-שחר
Also Known As: "Tal Ben-Shachar"
Current Location:: Israel
Birthplace: Tel Aviv, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Private and Private
Husband of Private
Father of Private; Private and Private
Brother of Private

Occupation: Harvard Professor of Positive Psychology
Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

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About Tal David Ben-Shahar

Tal Ben-Shahar טל בן-שחר, (also known as Tal David Ben-Shachar) born 1970, is an American and Israeli professor and acclaimed teacher / author in the areas of positive psychology and leadership.

Tal Ben-Shahar taught at Harvard, where his classes on Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership were among the most popular courses in the University's history. Today Tal teaches at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya.

Tal received his PhD in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University. His dissertation, completed in 2004, is titled "Restoring Self-Esteem's Self-Esteem: The Constructs of Dependent and Independent Competence and Worth."

[Additionally, he also holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Harvard in Philosophy and Psychology. His undergraduate thesis, completed in 1996, is titled "Honesty Pays: Bridging the Gap Between Moral Theory and Practice."

Tal consults and lectures around the world to executives in multi-national corporations, Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and the general public. Topics include leadership, education, ethics, happiness, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, and mindfulness. He is the author of the international best sellers Happier and Being Happy, which have been translated into 25 languages.

  • • Being Happy: You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Lead a Richer, Happier Life (2010) originally published in hardcover as The Pursuit of Perfect (2010)
  • • Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment (2007)
  • • A Clash of Values: The Struggle for Universal Freedom (2002)
  • • Heaven Can Wait: Conversations With Bonny Hicks (1998)

Ben-Shahar appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on August 9, 2007. He was selected to narrate the 2012 documentary Israel Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference, produced by Raphael Shore.


Tal Ben-Shahar’s seven steps to happiness

#1. Give yourself permission to be human.

When we accept emotions as natural, we are more likely to overcome them. Rejecting our emotions, positive or negative, leads to frustration and unhappiness. We are a culture obsessed with pleasure and believe that the mark of a worthy life is the absence of discomfort. When we experience pain, we take it to indicate that something must be wrong with us. In fact, there is something wrong with us if we don’t experience sadness or anxiety at times. When we give ourselves permission to experience painful emotions, we are more likely to open ourselves up to positive emotions.


2. Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning.

Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable. When this is not feasible, make sure you have happiness boosters, moments throughout the week that provide you with both pleasure and meaning. Research shows that an hour or two of a meaningful and pleasurable experience can affect the quality of an entire day, or even a whole week.

#3. Keep in mind that happiness is mostly dependent on our state of mind, not on our status or the state of our bank account.

Barring extreme circumstances, our level of well-being is determined by what we choose to focus on and by our interpretation of external events. Do we focus on the empty part of the full part of the glass? Do we view failures as catastrophic, or do we see them as learning opportunities?


4. Simplify! We are generally too busy, trying to squeeze in more and more activities into less and less time.

Quantity influences quality, and we compromise on our happiness by trying to do too much. Knowing when to say “no” to others often means saying “yes” to ourselves.

#5. Remember the mind-body connection.

What we do — or don’t do — with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.


6. Express gratitude, whenever possible.

We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life, from people to food, from nature to a smile.


7. The number one predictor of happiness is the time we spend with people we care about and who care about us.

The most important source of happiness may be the person sitting next to you. Appreciate them; savor the time you spend together. Source



  • ^ Hoffman, Gil (25 March 2012). "Film aims to encapsulate ‘Start-Up Nation’s’ success". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  • Media Interviews
  • Books & DVD

More Books:

  • Choose the Life You Want", by Tal Ben Shahar
  • Tal Ben-Shahar (2007) Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-149239-3
  • Tal Ben-Shahar (2009) The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life, McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-160882-4
  • Tal Ben-Shahar (2010) Even Happier: A Gratitude Journal for Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-163803-6

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Tal David Ben-Shahar's Timeline

November 6, 1970
Tel Aviv, Israel