Understanding exactly what happiness is can be a challenge. If you’re looking for the answers to this sometimes mysterious emotion, you could do far worse than checking out the following books by some of the people who are generally accepted as being global gurus on the subject.
1. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Stumbling on Happiness is a delightful book that explains in easy to digest chunks everything you need to know about the science behind happiness and the art of being happy.
Author and Harvard Psychologist, Daniel Gilbert, as a unique way of imparting his knowledge in what is actually a scientific text, but written in such a way that us everyday mortals can not only understand, but enjoy reading too. He covers the complexities of behavioral economics, philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, and psychology behind happiness, bringing us answers to what the emotion really entails that may well surprise you.
An awesomely captivating read…
2. 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 – By Dan Harris
Harris’s, 10% Happier may well have a mouthful of a title, but that’s the only thing about the book that’s difficult to read. Winner of the 2014 Living Now Book Award for Inspirational Memoir, author, Dan Harris, wrote this book about his own personal journey, utilizing an eclectic bunch of people to help him go from neurotic to happy – using the power of meditation. And this from a lifelong disbeliever that such a thing could actually work.
From neuroscience to America’s spiritual scene to network news, it appears no stone was left unturned in his bizarre quest towards a happy life. The book is a captivating read about the path he followed to truly changed his life.
3. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success by Jeff Olson
The Slight Edge is all about the discovery that it’s not the big things in life that make us happy. Rather, it’s the small ones that have a small, yet cumulative effect. Forget the ‘self-help’ title – this is a book that’ll show you exactly what you need to do in order to make the everyday choices that will lead you down the path towards happiness and success.
4. Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success And Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
After lecturing at Harvard for over a decade, Shawn Achor, author of Happiness Advantage, is widely accepted as one of the world’s experts on the connection between happiness and success. The book is based on one of the largest ever studies of happiness and human potential, and turns on its head the commonly held belief that success fuels happiness – because he’s discovered that it’s actually the other way round.
The book shares 7 core principles of positive psychology that can be understood and used by all of us to increase happiness, and therefore grow levels of success in both our professional and personal lives.
5. Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard
Living in the technology and information rich 21st century has not led to the human race being happier as a whole. Instead, there’s mounting evidence that depression, listlessness, and general sadness are at all time high levels. But fear not, because Ricard’s book, Happiness: A Guide, shows us that happiness is not simply an emotion. It’s actually a skill that can be learned and developed.
Full of fascinating information and simple exercises, the book shows us how we can recognize and pursue the hallowed emotion, change the way we view the world, and become far happier as we do so.
6. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
With its excellent extended title, The Antidote is the perfect book for those who want a totally original approach to the self-help subject of gaining happiness. Burkeman discusses why many of our trappings of modern life fail to see us find what we’re looking for – indeed, most of us can’t even agree on what ‘happiness’ actually is!
This book uses the teachings and philosophies of both the east and west, from ancient and modern times, Greek philosophy, and other beliefs. And all of these culminate in a group of people who might on first glance seem to have nothing in common, but who actually share a single (and very surprising) way of thinking about life. And it’s this constant effort to BE happy is actually what’s making us unhappy.
This thought-provoking book shows us that there’s an alternative path to happiness available – and one that’s in complete contrast to what most of us think we need to do.
7. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner
Weiner’s book, The Geography of Bliss, takes the reader on a journey around the world in the author’s search for happiness. A combination of travel, science, psychology, and humor not only discusses what makes people happy, but is a great book for anyone wanting alternative reasons to visit far-flung destinations.
Extremely well written, the book could be described in many ways. Some might say it’s a self-help book (albeit somewhat twisted), others think it’s about foreign affairs. Depending on your point of view, you might view it as simply a humorous good read, or a real ‘bible’ into what makes us and our global neighbors happy. Whichever way you look at it, the book is certainly through provoking and insightful.