Tal Ben-Shahar (Hebrew: טל בן-שחר, also known as Tal David Ben-Shachar) born 1970, is an American and Israeli teacher, and writer in the areas of positive psychology and leadership. As a lecturer at Harvard University, Ben-Shahar created the most popular course in Harvard's history. He has subsequently written several best-selling books and in 2011 co-founded Potentialife with Angus Ridgway, a company that provides leadership programs based on the science of behavioral change to organisations, schools and sports organisations globally.
Early life and education
Ben-Shahar received his PhD in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University. His dissertation, completed in 2004, was titled "Restoring Self-Esteem's Self-Esteem: The Constructs of Dependent and Independent Competence and Worth." He has a bachelor's degree from Harvard in Philosophy and Psychology. His undergraduate thesis, completed in 1996, is titled "Honesty Pays: Bridging the Gap Between Moral Theory and Practice."
Ben-Shahar consults and lectures around the world to executives in multinational corporations, Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and the general public. Topics include leadership, education, ethics, happiness, self-esteem, resilience, goal setting, and mindfulness.
In 2011, Ben-Shahar co-founded Potentialife to "bring the science of flourishing to the world". Potentialife uses behavioral science and technology to allow anyone to embed the scientifically proven behaviors of positive psychology in their daily lives. Potentialife has proven particularly popular with organizations who wish to develop leadership behaviors in many of their people quickly - while the company also runs several not-for-profit programs including with school and communities. Potentialife now operates in twelve countries and, because of the innovative way in which it tracks behavioural change data, is allowing businesses and researchers alike to see the impact of positive psychology first-hand.
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.
- Ben-Shachar, Tal David (2004). Restoring Self-esteem's Self-esteem: The Constructs of Dependent and Independent Competence and Worth. Harvard University. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Ben-Shachar, Tal David (1996). Honesty Pays: Bridging the Gap Between Moral Theory and Practice. Harvard University. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Ben-Shahar, Tal (11 March 2009). The Pursuit of Perfect: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life. McGraw Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-160883-1. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Ben-Shahar, Tal (1 January 2007). Happier : Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. McGraw Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-151096-7. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Ben-Shahar, Tal (1998). Heaven Can Wait: Conversations with Bonny Hicks. Times Books International. ISBN 978-981-204-991-9. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Hoffman, Gil (25 March 2012). "Film aims to encapsulate ‘Start-Up Nation’s’ success". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "New Chabad course will focus on Jewish positive psychology". Saint Louis Jewish Light. The Jewish Light is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. November 12, 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
“How Happiness Thinks brings together modern research and ancient Jewish wisdom,” said Prof. Ben-Shahar, an expert in the field. “This marriage between theology and science can bring about significant positive change in individuals and communities.” The course explores to what degree surroundings and circumstances affect one’s overall happiness, potential challenges to living a joyous life and whether God cares if people are happy or not.
- Benjy Brackman, Benjy (October 20, 2014). "Exciting Class on Jewish Positive Psychology in North Metro Denver". Boulder Jewish News. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
The Jewish Learning Institute’s Newest Class Looks at Positive Psychology through the 3,000-year-old lens of Jewish thought. Westminster,Colorado – When Israeli-born psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar began teaching a class called Positive Psychology at Harvard in 2006, a record 855 undergraduate students signed up for his class.
- Wilkinson, Phaedra (October 21, 2014). "From the community: Exciting Class on Jewish Positive Psychology to be Presented in Northbrook". Chicago: Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
Northbrook, IL - When Israeli-born psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar began teaching a class called Positive Psychology at Harvard in 2006, a record 855 undergraduate students signed up for his class. Droves of students at the academically-intense university came to learn, as the course description puts it, about "psychological aspects of a fulfilling and flourishing life."
- 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