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 (and include a review)!
I made a tip sheet for my November 2014 conference session (“Worst. Job. Ever?”) and you can download it here: Joyful Museums handout#1 individuals.
Read these books
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.
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
If you think networking is sleazy or if you think you might be a “doormat” at work, read this book. He’s great to follow on LinkedIn.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by 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.
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. Also follow her blog.
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?
Bookmark these websites
- American Alliance of Museums career management resources
- American Hysterical Society and When You Work At a Museum Prove museums and fun are not mutually exclusive
- Is there a place for humor at work? Humor that Works and the efforts of one museum’s Comedian in Residence
- Happy Museum Project This UK-based group studies how the museum sector can respond to the challenges presented by the need for creating a more sustainable future
- Well-Being of Museum Professionals Andrea Michelbach has done research and is continuing to collect data about museum professionals’ well-being across different areas of life (including, but not limited to, work experience). Take the quantitative Happiness Survey at her site and find resources for the global happiness movement.
- The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has a Better Life Index where you can rank what is important to you on a sliding scale and it will tell you which countries support your ideals (I should move to Denmark)
- PickTheBrain.com A website dedicated to self improvement with a focus on personal productivity, motivation, and self education
- Penelope Trunk Brutally honest career advice, especially for women
- Fast Company and Lifehacker post useful personal- and career-related articles, as well as lots of other stuff (some skimming is required)
- Careerealism Stay ahead of professional trends because, as they say, every job is temporary
- Mind Tools For countless free tools to help you grow your skill set
- The Muse Videos and downloads about careers, work/life balance, and happiness
Follow these orgs on Facebook/Twitter
Study with the experts
- Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania (I haven’t vetted this school but it looks fascinating)
- Center for Positive Organizations, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan (I have met with some of these folks and those I’ve met are outstanding)
Read these articles
Why you are unhappy at work
- People’s happiness at work usually dips mid career – now researchers think they know why
- Why you hate work
- You might be a jerk
- You are being bullied. Here are some resources to deal with workplace bullying.
Improving your current work situation
- Act Like an Entrepreneur Inside Your Organization
- Act like a leader before you are one
- How to get a promotion
- 5 Steps to escape a job rut
- How to turn a bad day around
- 3 Ways To Increase Your Job Satisfaction
- 15 tips to make the day better
- If you just want to get through the workday
- How to start your work week off stress-free
- Improve your relationships at work (if you need to be convinced this is important, you really should read this)
- Learn to understand generational differences at work
- How to manage your boss
- 4 Times You Should Say No to Additional Responsibilities
- The Key to Greater Work Happiness Is Taking and Giving Less [Crap]
- Stop doing these things— you are sending the wrong message (Or you also might be an annoying coworker)
- How to deal with complainers
- How to find happiness in a job you hate
- How to Consistently be a Calm Person Even if The Going Gets Tough
Getting a new job
- Should you stay or should you go?
- When you like your job but not the culture
- Thinking of jumping ship? How Far Your Paycheck Goes, In 356 U.S. Cities
- What Salary Buys Happiness in Your City? (2010) …In 2012 … And in 2014 More on this study here.
- How to handle criticism
- Things happy people do
- How to complain in a way that gets results
- Maybe you are the one holding you back?
- How to really unwind — take a vacation day and do nothing
- Gain a new skill AND feel good by volunteering [check out the infographic]
- Understand gratitude to unlock long-term benefits and also here
- Facebook is making you miserable
- If you need some inspirational quotes, here are a few. (I prefer to get mine from Kermit the Frog)
- Among other things, key to success is getting enough sleep Is 7 hours the right amount?
- Three lessons on work/life balance
- Make a plan to talk to strangers– science says it really helps (bonus points for talking to your museum visitors)
- Become Happy in the Face of Physical Misery
- Science proves you should exercise regularly for a myriad of benefits
- How Clutter Affects Your Brain (and What You Can Do About It)