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Brief Book Review – “The Good Life”

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

by Robert Waldinger, MD and Marc Schulz, PhD

What is the #1 predictor of a long, healthy, and happy life? You might expect the answer to be great genes, miracle drugs, lots of cash, or living on the beach. Nope. Surprise! The answer is WARM RELATIONSHIPS!

I know what you’re thinking, “She’s a relationship coach, and so of course good relationships is the answer.” Yes, good solid relationships are the top priority for me, and “The Good Life” suggests that you may want to make quality relationships your top priority too.

“The Good Life” shares the results of the longest longitudinal study of happiness ever conducted in a chatty, user-friendly style from the current directors of the research project. The Harvard Study of Adult development focused on two generations of the same families for more than 80 years and continues today!

The research began in 1938 by studying every aspect of the lives of a group of Harvard sophomore men and later joined with another study focused on teenage boys growing up in the toughest neighborhoods in Boston. Starkly opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum in a single study. One might speculate that the Harvard educated men would lead happier lives than the inner-city boys but the difference in neighborhoods, education, and finances was not the number one predictor of happiness. The presence or lack of high-quality close relationships made the difference! As we all know, life is hard no matter who you are. And it turns out that relationships provide the greatest protective factor for a longer, happier life.

I bet you will enjoy reading this book as much as I did. Not only does it provide the scientific results, the authors share a lot of darn good advice and even some how-tos. For a quick peek inside, check out this TED Talk featuring Dr. Waldinger.

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