As I’ve worked on this project, I’ve found a lot of books, articles, apps, and more offering insight into happiness in life and at work. Here are some of my favorites. I’ll be adding to this list over time. Have faves of your own? Let me know!


  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

Simply fantastic. A quick read using lots of stories, but she doesn’t dumb down at all. I wish this book was required reading in high school– we would all be a lot better off. Read it and never look back.

  • Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Ehrenreich explores the trend of positive thinking and what it can realistically achieve.

  • Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive by Barbara L. Fredrickson

I picked up this book after reading a review in the Metro of all places. Fredrickson’s research truly resonated with me and made me a student of positive psychology for life. She argues that positivity is more important than happiness and offers suggestions on how to create a more positive life outlook. Although a 2013 report debunks the math behind the 3:1 ratio (conducted by her co-author, Marcial Losada, a Chilean psychologist and business consultant), Fredrickson stands by her conclusions in the book.

  • The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

Here’s how I reviewed this book in 2010: “I told one of my coworkers about this book, and gave him a very excited summary of it. He crossed his arms and sat back in his chair. Am I in The Dip right now? Maybe. Like Seth says, the time to start looking for other jobs is when you’re happy. The status quo sneaks up on you.”

  • Give and Take by Adam Grant
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard┬áby Chip Heath and Dan Heath

The research for this book comes from a number of my favorite authors/ researchers so I was destined to enjoy this book. And I did. I even left it for my boss to read. The book reinforced some tricks I already knew but also taught me a lot of new techniques.

  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

When this was first published in 2009, it was groundbreaking. I think parts of it still are, but, regardless, I’d read anything by Dan Pink. He is smart and straightforward, passing on what he knows to you, end of story. Every manager should read this book and give serious consideration as to how they can integrate it into the work place.

  • 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 by Gretchen Rubin

Rubin is a leader in the happiness self-help world, and her books are quick and easy to read. The use of personal stories to drive home points and share insights are particularly useful.

  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

It is important to read this book, not to be convinced by Sandberg’s arguments, but simply to just know what they are. I lent my copy to a 25 year old coworker who summed it up perfectly: “It is depressing to be a woman in the workforce.” Sandburg would argue we need to be the change we want to see in the world. Easy for a wealthy woman to say, or something we should all strive for?

  • Joy, Inc by Richard Sheridan
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