russia has launched a full-scale war in Ukraine! Headway asks you to donate to the charity fund to protect Ukraine and the world’s peace. Support Ukraine


6 Best Books That Will Help You Find Happiness

Looking for books that can make you happy? Trying to find the best books on positive thinking? Here is a list of some of the best books on happiness.

With everything happening in the world these days, it’s not unusual to see people struggling to stay afloat mentally. As the rise in depression and the low mood becomes a global epidemic, it’s a matter of prevention and solution to get people thinking more positively about themselves and the world around them.

Fortunately, there are ways to helpbeat those pesky blues and make you happier and more satisfied with life. Self-help books, for instance, can be a fabulous tool for learning valuable insights into the science behind being happy. As you read, you may find yourself adopting positive thought patterns and becoming the best version of yourself.

Remember that, like reading, happiness is subjective — one method of finding happiness might not fit all. Finding the books that make you happy on your journey to fulfillment is important. So, for those who have been needing a little pick-me-up lately, take a look at this list of some of the best happiness books.

Key points:

  • For some individuals, happiness is hard to come by. However, there are ways to boost your mood by learning valuable methods and techniques. For instance, reading books on happiness can help you to find more ways to care for yourself and prioritize your mental health.

  • Books can be helpful tools in creating a happy and meaningful life. Some of the best happiness books include Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Todd Gilbert and The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky.

  • If you lead a busy lifestyle, you may be experiencing mental overload. With a wide library of summaries of the best books on positive thinking, Headway can be the perfect solution to relieve stress and bring you back to a better state of mind.

6 Best books on how to be happy

Happiness may not always be easily found within, as many claims, but external forces can undoubtedly help boost serotonin — one of which is a good book. Here are some of the best books that make you happy to help you along on your journey toward fulfillment and long-term happiness.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

As an overworked employee slowly losing her motivation to keep going, Gretchen Rubin felt burnt out. One day, Rubin decided to embark on a year-long journey of trials and tribulations to achieve a very specific end goal: maximum happiness. The Happiness Project details the 365 days that Gretchen Rubin spent experimenting on her own mind to find out what exactly makes her happy.

Throughout the year, Rubin tries as many happiness-inducing ideas as possible by assigning herself monthly tasks. For instance, in January, she focused on energy and keeping herself active and alert. Then, in February, she prioritized her marriage and intended to improve her relationship with the spouse. As she works on creating a more peaceful environment and breaking away from negative pieces of her life bit by bit, Rubin slowly finds the recipe for happiness that she was looking for.

In this book, Rubin tells all about her progress in finding out what boosted her happiness levels and what didn’t. From meditating every day to encouraging herself to find gratitude in the little things, Rubin creates a monthly outline for readers to follow in their pursuit of happiness. The Happiness Project is definitely a must-read for anyone looking to gain inspiration and lead a year of consistent personal gratification.

Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Todd Gilbert

As a Harvard psychology professor, Dr. Daniel Gilbert explains the science behind happiness and how to achieve contentment by working alongside the brain. In Dr. Gilbert’s perspective, happiness is highly subjective and can be attributed to one thing: the imagination. As he puts it, imagination is responsible for dreaming up impossibly perfect scenarios while also having the power to manipulate memories as good or bad — — whether we realize it or not, this can affect our psyche.

Stumbling On Happiness touches on our brains’ unique ability to allow us to reminisce and visualize the future. However, the brain is also feeble at filling in the blanks, meaning that key details of our visions and memories may be added or missing. This could mean that the memory of a party that otherwise went well could be misconstrued entirely as a horrible party by one adverse event that occurred at the end. At the same time, visualizing a future of pure bliss may seem nice, but your brain tends to leave out all the negative parts that inevitably exist around it.

Dr. Gilbert designed the book to help you become more aware of your mental processes and make better decisions that lead to more fulfilling outcomes. Therefore, the solution to happiness that he proposes is to avoid guessing the future and recognize your brain’s processes to help you distinguish fiction from reality. Readers can use Dr. Gilbert’s findings to think more rationally and reduce their anxieties and worries.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams and Reaching Your Destiny by Robin Sharma

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari isn’t any old fairytale about a person finding endless happiness after a series of unfortunate events. Motivational speaker and author Robin Sharma tells a captivating tale on the dangers of living in a society based on money, greed, and work. As Sharma puts it, happiness is achieved not by riches and grandeur but by attaining your life’s greatest purpose. Working toward your personal goals is essential to leading a life that is meaningful and full of contentment.

This fable follows the life of the fictional character Julian Mantle, a well-paid lawyer who suffers a stress-induced heart attack. When he recovers, he decides to sell his Ferrari and all other belongings to live a minimalist lifestyle in the Himalayan mountains. Yogi Raman is the one to bring Julian into a garden that represents the mind. There, he studies the seven virtues of the Sages of Sivana and learns that the mind is a garden that should be sowed and cultivated by improving your quality of thoughts.

The first of the seven virtues that Julian learns is to control your mind and induce only positive thoughts. As many others would, Julian finds this easier said than done and struggles to quiet his ever-thinking mind. In the metaphorical garden, Julian learns how to practice discipline and various mind-building techniques that help him to discover himself as a compassionate individual in a world littered with negativity.

Along the way, Sharna provides several insights and rituals that readers can use to find their own sense of personal fulfillment. As the Yogi leads Julian toward a life of bliss with spiritual teachings, readers can also find themselves attuned to his instructions and apply them to their own lives. In turn, they may experience an increased appreciation for the present and become closer to their idea of happiness.

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Richard Mendius

Thousands of books on the market claim to have the key to happiness through simple techniques to add to your daily routine. However, these techniques often yield short-term results that lead people to continue grappling for the end of their search for happiness. Buddha’s Brain attempts to get to the very center of this issue by looking more in-depth into how the mind works while maintaining a spiritual outlook.

Blending ancient Buddhist principles with modern scientific data, Buddha’s Brain is full of powerful insights into the science behind happiness with a compassionate twist. In this book, Richard Mendius offers various practices to shape your brain and let more happiness, love, and wisdom into your life. These three variables are the basis of Mendius’ philosophy of a healthy mindset: boosting positive experiences for pleasure, cultivating love through empathy and compassion, and garnering wisdom with daily mindfulness.

Understanding how your brain works, you better understand yourself and the psychological reasons behind your feelings and actions. This budding self-awareness will help you manage your thoughts and boost your happiness. Readers of this book can experience a more fulfilling lifestyle as they learn how to manage their thoughts and coping mechanisms

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Most people dream about a life they don’t currently have: a better home, a new job, and more fulfilling relationships. As such, wishing for something better than what you’ve been dealt with often makes you unhappy — not the circumstances you live in. Sonja Lyubomirsky offers a fresh perspective on getting what you want, and it involves nothing more than a simple mental switch.

In The How of Happiness, readers are introduced to an engaging way to achieve the life they want without actually changing anything physically. Instead, the only thing that changes is your attitude toward your current situation. As Lyubomirsky puts it, too many people search for happiness in the wrong places — a new job, a relationship, or money. In reality, happiness is created within your mindset and behavior.

Lyubomirsky aims to eliminate the phrase, ‘If only I had more of such and that, I would be happy’ and replace it with a kinder way of viewing life. This book teaches readers how to become content with their current lives and stop wishing for something better. In turn, they will feel more satisfied with themselves and realize that with enough changes to mind and behavior, happiness can lie in any present situation.

Present Over Perfect: A More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

In a collection of thought-provoking short stories, best-selling author Shauna Niequist provides an eloquent approach to living that involves less perfection and more connection with the meaningful things in life. On her yearly trip to Lake Michigan, Niequist, who is a workhorse, discovered the immense contact she felt with herself as she experienced the joys of slow and simple living. There, she realized the importance of self-care and relaxation, as well as incorporating the peace and tranquility she experienced while on vacation into everyday life.

Present Over Perfect is a riveting book on how to lead a life filled with genuine purpose and building a mission to exist authentically and unapologetically. After years of living unhappily, slumped in endless work, and putting everyone else above herself, Niequist proposes that true happiness arises not from success but from allowing yourself to be imperfect in all ways. In itself, Niequist documents her journey from constantly seeking perfection to accepting who she is and ultimately achieving her happiest and most fulfilled self. 

Niequist rightfully refers to her personal journey as a ‘sea-change,’ which is an expression meaning total transformation or change in perspective. To encourage you to do the same, this book explains how to leave mindsets that do not serve you and replace them with thoughts that inspire you to be yourself. Readers can therefore find themselves with a greater understanding of what it means to lead a pure and happy life through the art of simplicity and prioritizing self-care.

Read more books about happiness with Headway

As you manage the responsibilities of everyday life, paying attention to your mental health can easily fall at the end of your list of priorities. However, maintaining a high level of self-care is essential to leading a lifestyle that makes you happy and fulfilled. As such, reading the best happiness books can help you gain awareness of the personal changes that you need to undergo before reaching your vision of contentment.

Fortunately, the Headway app provides a solution for busy individuals to continue their self-care practices by listening to book summaries while on the go. This way, you can prioritize self-growth and compassion while maintaining a hefty routine and schedule. With this app, you can read or listen to 15-minute audio book summaries during your commutes, while running errands, or completing tasks around the house. 

The best part of it all? You’ll be doing chores with a smile.

Looking for a way to beat those blues, improve your well-being and learn new things? Download the Headway app to gain access to a large library complete with the best books on happiness and personal development.


How can books make me happier?

Books may not have the secret ingredient to cure your depression, but they can certainly provide you with the tools necessary to get your foot in the door to happiness. You can use books to gain practical advice and insight into what it takes to lead a happy and successful life. Not only can you gain knowledge of proper coping strategies and emotional regulation, but learning the science and psychology behind depression can help you understand your feelings better. In turn, the lessons you learn can help guide you through struggles and difficult circumstances.

What is the best book about happiness?

There may not be one set book on happiness that is considered the best by all, but there can certainly be a book that surpasses all others by individual standards. For instance, someone going through bouts of negative self-image and low confidence can look to Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist for advice on how to be happier with who you truly are. Otherwise, another person looking to undergo a spiritual transformation can seek out Buddha’s Brain by Richard Mendius for spiritual wisdom and insights into practicing mindfulness. In this regard, there is something for everyone about finding happiness!

How do I use books for happiness?

Books are powerful tools in shaping your mindset and opinions on certain subjects. As you read, you may eventually think more like the author and adopt more practical and confident thinking patterns. However, keeping an open mind about everything you read is the key to doing this. By allowing yourself to be open to different perspectives and ideas, your mind can take in the positive strategies that the best self-help books present.

Join our email list with 40K+ people for more helpful insights

Read more