The Long Game

A Conversation with Robert Waldinger

January 11, 2023

In The Long Game, Sam Harris speaks with Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which began in 1938—making it one of the world’s longest studies of adult life. They discuss why it can be hard to figure out what makes us happy; the connection between work and fulfillment; the diminishing importance of wealth; the connection between good relationships and physical health; introversion vs. extroversion; mortality and loss; collecting experiences vs. things; the benefits of walking; the self and self states; the guru-disciple relationship; the possibility of enlightenment; and other topics.

Robert Waldinger is 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.