It’s August and the Sun is Shining. C’mon Get Happy!
From Ivy League towers to your local public library, books on the elusive science of happiness have been hitting the shelves. It looks like most people could use a little boost in the happiness department… but why is it that we all feel that way? And, how do we fix it? These titles will help you get your happy-fix this summer!
Happiness: An Annotated Bibliography
Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage: The seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work. New York: Broadway Books.
Takes a psychological look at what drives happiness, and how that happiness can be leveraged to reach greater success in one’s own life. Achor’s 7 principles guide readers to change the way they think so that positivity can infuse their lives. Achor is the CEO of GoodThink Inc.
Ben-Shahar, T. (2007). Happier: Learn the secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfillment. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Harvard Professor Tal Ben-Shahar discusses specific methods that students and individuals can embrace to find greater happiness. Focus on changing the way we think about ourselves, our needs, and our true definitions of success.
Burkeman, O. (2012). The antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking. New York: Faber and Faber.
Small volume that addresses the elephant often in the room when we talk about happiness: some people just don’t like all that upbeat, optimistic mumbo jumbo. Here’s some advice for those who can’t quite call themselves optimists, but still want a happier life.
Chodron, P. (2006). True Happiness*. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. (*Links to Audio format)
Buddhist Monk and headmaster of Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada, Pema Chodron addresses the spiritual element of happiness from the tradition of Western Buddhism.
Dalai Lama & Cutler, Howard C. (n.d.). The Art of Happiness.
One of the original “books on happiness” written by the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, and others around the world. Uses conversations, meditations, and reflections to consider the idea of happiness from both a spiritual and supremely human perspective.
Gilbert, D. T. (2007). Stumbling on happiness. New York: Vintage Books, A Division of Random House.
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert takes an in-depth look at the way our imagination and predictions of our own lives can cause us to skip over the things that will truly bring us satisfaction. Using documented scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, behavioral economics, and philosophy, Gilbert discusses what scientists have learned about the human capacity to set expectations and how it can help (or hurt) our chances at happiness.
Harris, D. (2014). 10% happier: How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works: A true story. New York, NY: It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.
Dan Harris discusses his experiments in meditation as a form of stress relief as well as a happiness booster. Part biography, part science experiment, Harris looks at common and uncommon practices that people can use every day to increase their lasting happiness by 10%.
Lenoir, F., & Brown, A. (2015). Happiness: A philosopher’s guide. Brooklyn: Melville House.
Takes a look at the current accepted philosophies surrounding happiness and evaluates their veracity using persuasive essay and meditative exercises.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want. New York: Penguin Press.
Lyubomirsky lays out the mechanics of a person’s capacity for happiness using her own scientific studies as well as the studies of others in the field. She uses the premise that, genetics and economics aside, we are in full control of roughly 40% of our own happiness and postulates specific tried techniques can be used to increase this piece of the happiness pie.
Myers, D. G. (1992). The pursuit of happiness: Who is happy–and why. New York: W. Morrow.
Through interview and research, Myers discusses the “who” of happy: It isn’t always those with the most advantages who are the happiest, and science can tell us why.
Rubin, G. (2009). The happiness project: Or why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun. New York, NY: Harper.
The Happiness Project is one woman’s account of a year spent following advice on how to be happy. Rubin talks about what works, what doesn’t, and what she learned from it all. Several related titles also available.
Salzberg, S. (2011). Real happiness: The power of meditation: A 28-day program. New York: Workman Pub.
Sharon Salzberg is a definitive voice on happiness, compassion, and mindfulness within the social science community. In this book, she explores how meditation can help a person find meaning, peace, and lasting happiness.
Seppala, E. (2016). The happiness track: How to apply the science of happiness to accelerate your success. New York, NY: HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins.
This book takes a business-minded approach to personal and professional happiness. Using well-tested scientific theories, Seppala discusses how leveraging the things that already make you happy can help you craft a career and a life that will allow you to maximize your happiness over the long run.