Ed Diener, one of the best-known scholars of happiness died this week at the age of 76. We was known as Dr Happiness in the United States, well-known for his 7-item scale on wellbeing and his constant refrain that the secret to happiness is in warm social relations.
I met Ed a few years ago in Utah, where he was running a center on wellbeing, trying to keep the flame of wellbeing going in the United States. You would think that in a country that has “the pursuit of happiness” in its constitution, policy interest in happiness would be rife, but the opposite is true. People like Ed were very much needed and he worked tirelessly for the cause.
Ed practiced what he preached, leaving behind very warm relations with both the academics and family he spent time with. Together with his wife Carol he raised many children and young scholars, who were all infected with the idea that emotional skills and making time for relationships is the smart thing to do. Ed championed group-based programs that gave participants the idea that working on one’s emotional skills and happiness was worthwhile and rather easy once one got the knack. Ed leaves behind many friends, many books, and good memories.