Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WWFM is listener-supported - it's your contribution that make our musical programming possible. Make your donation today to help keep these programs on the air.

'Happiness' Is More Complex Than You Might Think

Most people strive to be happy, but take a look at the overflowing self-help shelves in bookstores -- happiness can be pretty elusive. In her new book, Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science, Sissela Bok draws from philosophy, psychology, neuroscience and everyday wisdom to explain what we really know about how to be happy.

“I’m very interested in how people experience happiness,” Bok tells host Andrea Seabrook. And understanding happiness, she says, requires more than simply feeling happy. “It’s the combination of happy experiences, and experiences … of great suffering that teaches us much more about how to lead our lives.”

And is Bok, the happiness scholar, truly happy?

"I would have to say that I am," says Bok. But "there, I'm a little worried, because I have noticed that many happiness researchers also tend to think that they are. It is possible that one talks oneself into some of that."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit