In the spring of 2018, the Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos unveiled a new course, Psychology and the Good Life. The subject was happiness.

Santos’s course was a blend of abstract and concrete. It combined positive psychology with the real-life applications of behavioral science. It debunked popular notions of what makes people happy (like the luxury Mercedes-Benz status symbol) and helped students understand the habits they should build to lead truly happier, more fulfilled lives.

The course was launched in the U.S. — home to supposedly only the 19th-happiest population in the world, according to the 2019 World Happiness Report — at one of the nation’s most elite and high-pressure colleges.

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