Annual research like the World Happiness Report and Gallup-Sharecare Well-being Index take the global pulse on people's happiness to reveal crucial things. One, people overall aren't very happy (a mediocre 5/10 happiness score). Two, happiness cannot be reduced to physical health or GDP ("money").
Which is why Governments are moving forward to tackle the problem of unhappy populations: the UAE has appointed the world's first Minister for Happiness and the UK has appointed a Minister of Loneliness.
With that, we scoured Amazon's best-sellers page in search of the all-time best books on happiness. Ranging from minimalism and positivity to personality psychology and the Dalai Lama - Happiness Science is a complex thing.
For decades, we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's just be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
Ekhart Tolle's message is simple: living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment. And while this message may not seem stunningly original or fresh, within a chapter of reading this book, readers are already holding the world in a different container - more conscious of how thoughts and emotions get in the way of their ability to live in genuine peace and happiness.
"There's happiness in having less. If you are anything like how I used to be - miserable, constantly comparing yourself with others, or just believing your life sucks - I think you should try saying goodbye to some of your things." Fumio Sasaki is not an enlightened minimalism expert or organising guru like Marie Kondo - he is a writer in his thirties who lives in a tiny studio in Tokyo with three shirts, four pairs of trousers, four pairs of socks and not much else. Deciding to change his life by saying goodbye to everything he didn't need and revealing how the new minimalist movement can not only transform your space but truly enrich your life.
"In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-travelling success coach Jen Sincero serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice and easy exercises, helping you to identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours that stop you from getting what you want [and] create a life you totally love." Practical, funny, implementable advice that will help you understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to be a badass all the time.
1. Be impeccable with your word and speak with integrity. 2. Don't take anything personally and realise people say and do things because of their own reality. 3. Don't make assumptions and communicate clearly with others. 4. Always do your best. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, bestselling author Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.
"Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships - or, as they would say, because of them - they are two of the most joyful people on the planet. This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecedented week together, from the first embrace to the final good-bye."
"The Chimp Paradox is an incredibly powerful mind management model that can help you become a happy, confident, healthier and more successful person. Prof Steve Peters explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and then shows how to apply this understanding to every area of your life." He is also the consultant psychiatrist for Liverpool FC and for the England football team. Steven Gerrard, Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton have all spoken publicly about how Prof Peters' unique model has helped them improve their performance.
"The world is messing with our minds. Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.
"Ikigai translates as 'a reason to jump out of bed in the morning'. It's the place where your needs, desires, ambitions, and satisfaction meet: a point of perfect balance, and perfect fulfilment. On the Japanese island of Okinawa, people live longer than anywhere else in the world. There, finding your ikigai is considered the key to longevity - and to happiness. The Okinawans know that all lives are valuable; for them, your ikigai is the lens that will help you bring your value into focus."
"Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply sceptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable. We all have a voice in our head. It's what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we're not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we're stuck with this voice - that there's nothing we can do to rein it in - but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It's a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it's something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation."