Episode 308

The Long Game

A Conversation with Robert Waldinger

January 11, 2023

Sam Harris speaks with Robert Waldinger about the Harvard Study of Adult Development. They discuss the limitations of relying on self-report to assess a person’s well-being; Daniel Kahneman’s remembering and experiencing selves; why it can be hard to figure out what makes us happy; the effects of alcohol, smoking, and exercise; the connection between work and fulfillment; the primacy of relationships; the diminishing importance of wealth; status vs feeling valued; the connection between good relationships and physical health; having kids and marital satisfaction; introversion vs extroversion; mortality and loss; collecting experiences vs things; the benefits of walking; taking relationships for granted; quantity vs quality time; the self and self states; the guru-disciple relationship; and the possibility of enlightenment.

Robert Waldinger is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development at Massachusetts General Hospital, and cofounder of the Lifespan Research Foundation. Dr. Waldinger received his AB from Harvard College and his MD from Harvard Medical School. He is a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and he directs a psychotherapy teaching program for Harvard psychiatry residents. He is also a Zen master (Roshi) and teaches meditation in New England and around the world. Robert is the co-author of the book The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study on Happiness (Simon and Schuster; January 10, 2023).

Website: robertwaldinger.com

Twitter: @robertwaldinger


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