In recent years, the discussion about happiness has become more nuanced. Yes, it is a universal truth that every human being wants to know more about it. But we’re starting to learn what Yes, really leads to happiness – and which only gets us halfway there. A way to reap more of that mood-boosting feeling? Read all the books on happiness that your home library can hold.
While for some a “happy life” evokes visions of a big house and a fancy car, we are increasingly awakening to the reality that true happiness comes from a more meaningful existence: connection with others, giving back to the world around us, and with our spiritual to get in touch myself.
As I reflect on the books I’ve loved over the years, I’m struck by how many of them have spurred me on my own journey to deeper, more soulful happiness. Keep scrolling for 11 of my favorite happiness books and share the comments if there are any I should add to my list!
Featured image by Teal Thomsen.
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11 Books About Happiness To Inspire Purposeful Living
Joyful by Ingrid Fetelle Lee
Design Contributor, Stacey Lindsay (who is full of light and full of joy) loves this book – and we all wish to reap the happiness-enhancing benefits of its pages. As Stacey has previously written, “By filling our days with more joy, we build more happiness in our lives. This book continues to single-handedly brighten my sun, which in turn keeps everything else in life flowing.” As far as books about happiness go, this review alone confirms this: This must-read must be at the top of your list.
10% happier by Dan Harris
I know you know: there are countless benefits that come with a consistent practice of meditation. But if you’ve had trouble applying this widely shared advice, here’s also something you should know: you’re not alone. Thankfully, Dan Harris wrote what Elizabeth Gilbert called “an enormously astute, clear-eyed, courageous, and deeply personal look at the benefits of meditation.” He does a terrific job of not only making us feel seen in our meditation and mindfulness issues, but offering pioneering, evidence-based ways to make peace with the voice in our heads — and its impact for good in more to harness productivity, better performance, and kindness to ourselves.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
This is the QUEEN of all happiness books – a New York Times bestseller for a ridiculous amount of time, there is so much wisdom here that has worked its way into my psyche and influenced the way I approach daily life. Gretchen Rubin spends a year of her life trying out theories about what Yes, really increases happiness and dons her social scientist hat to record the results so we can learn what works and what doesn’t.
Thrive by Arianna Huffington
This is the book that changed the way I sleep—and I’ve found it to have a huge impact on my overall happiness throughout the day. Huffington shares her own medical and emotional crisis that has sent her on a mission to change her life in some pretty amazing ways. If the woman behind the Huffington Post can take time to sleep, relax, and unwind, I’m sure we can say the same!
Brave the wilderness by Brene Brown
You can’t have a list of books about living a more soulful life without including some great Brené actions in it. I honestly could have included any of them here, but this is a good start – you’ll challenge all your previous assumptions about what it means to belong to our culture and, most importantly, come more in tune with your authentic self .
Happier at home by Gretchen Rubin
This is a sequel to The Happiness Project (Slide 2) but I have learned so many new things from Rubin’s personal experiment to make her home the happiest place possible, from her surroundings to her marriage to her time off work.
year of yes by Shonda Rhimes
The creator of Grey’s anatomy and scandal chronicles her own journey to overcome her fears and live a braver, more inspired life in which she learned what it means to truly love herself. If your fears often get in the way of the kind of person you want to be, this book is for you.
Presenting about perfect by Shauna Niequist
*sigh* I think I need to read this book again. Anyone with perfectionist tendencies (hands raised) will fully identify with Niequist’s personal journey from being burned out and overworked to a whole new way of life. It takes courage to simplify and say no a lot of. But as she shows in her own story, this is what leads to getting in touch with your essential self. #its worth it
love does by Bob Goff
I recently picked up this sweet collection of wise and whimsical stories from Goff’s life. It’s a reminder that fun, joy and meaning await us every day and often in the most unlikely of places. This is good reading if you need reminders of how much good is in the world.
Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
The OG Book of Happiness. A friend of mine gave this to my mom when she was a teenager and I loved it from the start and still love it to this day. There is an entry for each day of the year, each designed to inspire us to awaken to quiet joys, simple joys and the beauty that surrounds us if we only open our eyes to see it.
The book without pictures by BJ Novak
Okay, this book may not be as deep as the others on this list, but when you need a good laugh… read this book to a child under 10, and to me Car Don’t giggle uncontrollably.
This post was originally published on July 14, 2020 and has since been updated.