Mason Psychologist Explores Secrets to Happiness in New Book

Posted: April 28, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Todd Kashdan
Todd Kashdan

With dire news reports each day on our economic recession, job loss and other downturns, it might be refreshing to know that there are researchers out there exploring ways people can be happier.

At Mason, psychologist Todd Kashdan devotes his time to figuring out the key to long lasting happiness, and his new book “Curious?” outlines some of those strategies.

Released last week at bookstores nationwide, “Curious?” aims to show readers that the greatest happiness does not come when we are searching for order and safety, but rather when we are open to new — and sometimes scary-seeming — experiences, and when we relish the unknown.

Kashdan will read and sign copies of his book at the University Bookstore in the Johnson Center on Tuesday, April 28, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. He will also read at the Border’s bookstore in Fairfax on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. For more information about “Curious?” you can check out the web site at

curious book cover

“My goal was to create a book on a topic that has somehow escaped attention in both the scientific community and the world at large,” says Kashdan. “Nearly everyone is striving for happiness or a greater sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. The question is: how can we live our lives in such a way that we can be happy — and maintain that happiness?”

This book was written for a general audience: scientists and people interested in what science has to offer to improve their lives and the people around them.

As director of the Laboratory for the Study of Social Anxiety, Character Strengths and Related Phenomena at Mason, Kashdan is interested in the assessment and cultivation of well-being, curiosity, gratitude and meaning and purpose in life.

He has been active in the positive psychology movement since 2000, when he taught one of the first college courses on the science of happiness. That course, “The Science of Well-Being,” was featured in an article in the New York Times Magazine.

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