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“Happiness is love. Full stop.”

The Atlantic has a neat new story on a Harvard’s great happiness study.

Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.

In the accompanying video, the Vaillant says, “Happiness is love. Full stop.” Is it? I’ve lately been reading Anthony Storr’s Solitude, which insists that happiness can come to us hermits, too. What do you think?

What Makes Us Happy? – The Atlantic (June 2009).