Everyone wants to live a happy life, but happiness needs to be sought out and evaluated. These happiness books will help you reevaluate your life and see how you can achieve ever-desired happiness. From scientific techniques to zen practices, there is a book here for everyone. 

Take a look at our list of top 20 books on happiness

1. Happiness is an Inside Job- Sylvia Boorstein

Boorstein has noticed that the ‘secret’ to happiness is to develop and connect with kindness. In this book, she suggests that happiness is found by being kind – not only to our friends, family, and colleagues, but also towards ourselves, others who we don’t know well, and even people we don’t really like. 

happiness is an inside job

2. Authentic Happiness- Martin Seligman

Written by psychologist Martin Seligman, this book forwards the idea that happiness is not due to “having the right genes” or “being lucky” but the result of paying attention to one’s personal strengths rather than focusing on perceived weaknesses.

authentic happiness

3. The Happiness Trap- Russ Harris

In this book, Harris explains the myths about happiness and popular ideas about it and suggests that these myths are misleading and inaccurate, and even that in part they cause the widespread experiences of stress, anxiety, and depression.

happiness trap

4. The Happiness Hypothesis- Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt is a psychology teacher at the University of Virginia. Society relies on so-called truths derived from folk wisdom that has been passed down for generations. This unique book draws from inspiration coming from both science and philosophy.

happiness hypothesis

5. The Art of Happiness- Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

This book was written by psychiatrist Dr. Howard C. Cutler based on interviews conducted with the Dalai Lama. It provides a “western” view on the teachings of the Dalai Lama, where readers can discover a sense of peace and serenity. 

the art of happiness

6. The Happiness Project- Gretchen Rubin

‘The Happiness Project’ details best-selling author Gretchen Rubin’s year-long investigation into what truly leads to a state of contentment. This book ties science along with classical philosophy and real-world applicability. 

happiness project

7. The Happiness Advantage- Shawn Achor

Most people are hoping to be more successful and everyone wants to be happy. It is believed that if you work hard, this will lead to being more successful and that becoming more successful will lead to being happy. In this book, Achor dispels the myth that we will feel happy if, and when, we become successful.

happiness advantage

8. Stumbling on Happiness- Daniel Gilbert

This book, written by Professor Daniel Gilbert explores how most of us don’t know how to make ourselves happy.  All of us wish to be happy, but how do we do so? According to Professor Gilbert, people don’t know how to predict what will please our future selves. ‘Stumbling on Happiness’ sees Gilbert explain how our brains predict the future and explore whether the brain is able to imagine what it will enjoy.

stumbling on happiness

9. The How of Happiness- Sonja Lyubomirsky

A feature of this book is that it is solidly grounded in scientific research. It is comprehensive but easy-to-follow. The book provides a guide for people to find happiness in our lives in the short and long term. It reveals what happiness is, and what we can do to approach the happy life we imagine for ourselves.

the how of happiness

10. The Happiness Equation- Neil Pasricha

‘The Happiness Equation’ reveals the nine secrets of happiness and shows readers that to ‘have everything’ one should want nothing and do anything. He gives step-by-step guidelines and even handwritten notes that detail how to put each secret into place in order to find a happier life.

the happiness equation

11. Happiness: Lessons from a New Science- Richard Layard and Baron Layard

Richard Layard believes that the income of a society does not determine happiness. His research into happiness is drawn from the disciplines of psychology, neuroscience, economics, sociology, and philosophy. This book is noted to be the key book in ‘happiness studies’. It puts forward Layard’s argument that, despite people wanting more money, income does not lead to happiness.

happiness lessons from a new science

12. Happiness Beyond Thought- Gary Weber

In this book, Weber provides a set of yoga practices that are designed for practitioners looking for a path to enlightenment, incorporating Zen Buddhist teachings with current brain research. The practices (asana, pranayama, chanting, and meditation) are designed to provide readers with a practical path to awakening.

happiness beyond thought

13. The Happiness Factor- Kirk Wilkinson

‘The Happiness Factor’ provides a perspective on how to cope with adversity and overcome it in order to discover true, lasting happiness. In this book, Wilkinson suggests that every person has the capacity to overcome the set of issues that they are dealing with and to be happy. It explains that we are not defined by our circumstances or our problems

the happiness factor

14. Happiness by Design- Paul Dolan

In this book, Dolan answers the question of how we can make it easier to be happy. He argues, by applying recent, significant research that well-being is a result of what we do rather than how we think. It refers to ‘re-designing’ our lives in order to maximize happiness. 

happiness by design

15. Happier Human- S.J. Scott and Amit A

This book asks and answers a simple question: how to achieve happiness? Why are so many people constantly chasing after things like money, fame and job advancement as a path to “happiness”  when these things do almost nothing to increase happiness? This book references the studies of many of the other researchers and scientists to answer this question answer as well as giving many science-backed methods to achieve greater happiness.

happier human

16. The Slight Edge- Jeff Olson

This book explores a new way of thinking that lets you make everyday choices that will bring you happiness. It teaches the difference between people who are able to make their dreams come true and those who are not. This is a great book on how to be happy for people who tend to procrastinate because it focuses so much on what the reader should be doing in the here and now.

the slight edge

17. 10% Happier- Dan Harris

After experiencing a panic attack on the air, “Nightline” anchor Dan Harris wrote this book to help people achieve the happiness they are looking for. The book takes the reader on a journey through the author’s life and pivotal moment leading up to his passion for mindfulness meditation, working to challenge people who are interested in meditation about their current habits.

10% happier

18. Hardwiring Happiness-Rick Hanson

This book addresses the issue of people learning very quickly from bad experiences, yet slowly from good ones. People tend to absorb all of the negative things around them, and their negative feelings while pushing any good feelings to the side. In Hardwiring Happiness, Hanson presents a method to make this change.

hardwiring happiness

19. Love 2.0- Barbara Fredrickson

This book looks at the important relationship between love and health. Filled with scientific information that is rather accessible, this book also includes stories that bring science to life. It also offers practical ways to grow micro-moments of love in your life, which will result in happiness.

love 2.0

20. Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices- Thich Nhat Hanh

Written by a Zen master, this book presents simple and easily adaptable exercises for breathing, resting, thinking, and other everyday activities. It shows some small changes that can be made each day to result in a larger benefit of gaining happiness.

happiness essential mindful practices

With so many books to choose from, achieving a happy life should be easier than ever. Just sit down, relax and pick the one (or ones) you want to read and be on your way to achieving a happy life. Happy reading!