'Learning from success': A close look at a popular positive psychology course

Pninit Russo-Netzer, Tal Ben-Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is a case study of an undergraduate course in positive psychology taught by Dr Tal Ben-Shahar. The course has been taught three times between 2004 and 2008 in the Department of Psychology at the Harvard University. It is currently being taught at the School of Psychology, 'Interdisciplinary Center', Herzliya (one of Israel's leading colleges), in both English and Hebrew. The course's main emphasis is on transformation rather than information, while exploring the main question: 'How can we help ourselves and others - individuals, communities, and society - to become happier?' The course was innovative in its content as well as in its teaching methods. When taught, it was the most popular course at Harvard with the largest attendance in the history of the psychology department - with enrollment reaching over 855 students (about one out of every seven undergraduate students). Understanding the uniqueness of this course could contribute to the development of teaching the popular and broad field of positive psychology at the undergraduate level and to varied populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-476
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • education
  • higher education
  • positive psychology
  • teaching positive psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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