david rock brain
Featured Reading: Your Brain at Work
By: David Rock

We highly recommend Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long to everyone, especially those seeking growth and change at work. It is power-packed with insights, strategies, and research for doing better work. Read more >>

Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full LIfe

By Kathryn Britton and Shannon Polly

What’s even better than an inspiring, innovative, and useful book that helps us thrive? One that also supports a good cause. Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life, edited by Kathryn Britton and Shannon Polly, is just such a book. Read more >>

Category: Strengths
Before Happiness

By Shawn Achor

Before Happiness is, more than anything else, about positive attitude. Achor writes in his introduction: “Before happiness comes your perception of the world.  So before we can be happy and successful, we need to create a positive reality that allows us to see the possibility of both.” Read more >>

Category: Happiness
The Upside of Your Dark Side

by Robert Biswas-Deiner and Todd Kashdan

The Upside of Your Dark Side is a bold and thought-provoking book by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Deiner (who, in the interest of full disclosure, trained me in positive psychology coaching and was at one point my coach). Read more >>

Category: Happiness
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

By Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman helped launch positive psychology and in Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, he redefines it. The book is important, and strongly recommended for anyone interested in deeply understanding positive psychology. Read more >>

Category: Happiness

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In the positive psychology world, Flow is a classic book, and for good reason. It was published in 1990 by one of the founding fathers of positive psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, after he had already led decades of research on “optimal experience”.  I highly recommenFlow to anyone who wants to achieve the peak of life–at work and elsewhere.  Read more >>

Catgories: Happiness, Strengths
Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation

By Daniel Siegel

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation teaches us the power of focused attention and provides steps to apply it. It’s a great read for those interested in learning more about the brain, and how to harness the power of attention to change your brain and boost your happiness. Read more >>

Category: Mindfulness
Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined

By Scott Barry Kaufman

I found Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined compelling, well-researched, and powerful, especially because Kaufman speaks both from his professional expertise as a cognitive psychologist and his own life experience. I recommend the book as a place to start for anyone who wants to work smarter, be more creative, and achieve more. Read more >>

Category: Strengths
How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life

By Tom Rath and Donald Clifton

Totaling in at fewer than 100 pages, How Full is Your Bucket?is a quick and easy read for anyone working in teams or in a leadership position. The authors, Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, guide readers through six chapters that include research, case studies and applications of the power of positive (and negative) interactions between people. Read more >>

Category: Happiness
book 8
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It

by Kelly McGonigal

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It is a helpful book and is well-connected to scientific research on willpower. If eating, drinking, smoking, or other willpower challenges are interfering with your pursuit of happiness, I highly recommend this interesting and practical book. The author uses ten chapters that loosely follow the structure of the class she teaches at Stanford. Chapters include the science, ways to apply the science, and stories of students from her class.

Category: Happiness
book 9
Stumbling on Happiness

by Daniel Gilbert

Stumbling on Happiness is the book that got me started on the science of happiness, so I’m fond of it. However, it’s focused on how we are poor at understanding and predicting our own happiness. It isn’t very focused on helping the reader become happier.

Category: Happiness
Creativity, Inc.

By Ed Catmull

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull is literally and figuratively an exceptional book. Read more >>

book 12
The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver

by Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener

The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver, by a renowned happiness expert (and full disclosure: my coach), takes up the unusual and important topic of courage. It’s short and focused. It’s grounded in research. It can be helpful to those seeking to increase courage. One minor question I was left with is the statement in the book (page 9) that “Courage is morally valued.” He goes on to say that “Mugging is not an example of courage because it lacks an important component: moral value.” I failed to be convinced by his description. I feel that while we don’t admire muggers, they are every bit as courageous as someone who jumps in to save a stranger from a mugger. Despite this minor issue I wanted to be better resolved, this is an interesting and helpful read.

Category: Happiness
book 13
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

by Jonathan Haidt

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom features a wonderful analogy of rider and elephant for our prefrontal cortex and rest of brain. If you want a good mix of science and ancient wisdom, this is an excellent book.

Category: Happiness

By David Eagleman

David Eagleman is a very smart person with an infectious enthusiasm for how the brain works. He does an excellent job describing how much of what happens in our brain is typically beyond our conscious awareness. Read more >>

book 15
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

by Chip and Dan Heath

Many books are about change. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard is one of the best. It extends the elephant and rider analogy used in The Happiness Hypothesis to come up with a succinct summary of the research: “Direct the rider. Motivate the elephant. Shape the path.” These amount to: give clear instructions to your prefrontal cortex, so there’s no room for analysis paralysis. Motivate the rest of your brain that is in control at least as much as your prefrontal cortex. And change the environmental factors so that change is easier. If you want to make hard changes in your life or your business, I highly recommend this book.

Category: Happiness
book 16
Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth

by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener

Authored by one of the pioneers of positive psychology and his son who’s also a great expert in the field, Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth is well grounded in science. Not quite as immediately applicable as The How of Happiness, this is still a great book I highly recommend to all.

Category: Happiness
book 18
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

In all likelihood you didn’t decide how to get ready for the day today, you just acted out of habits. You showered, got dressed, and ate breakfast in whatever way and order you always do. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business is very helpful for getting us to examine which habits we have, how they are made, and how they can be changed. This book is well-written and practical, especially for the first half. When the book later turns its attention to social habits and societal change, the connections and evidence are less strong. Still a recommended book, especially for those looking to build new habits or change old habits.

book 19
StrengthsFinder 2.0

by Tom Rath

For roughly 30 dollars and 30 minutes, StrengthsFinder 2.0 and included questionnaire will likely provide helpful insights into what you do best and enjoy most. This is based on extensive data from the Gallup organization. Although I consider myself introspective, I learned things about myself in my 40’s that ended up contributing to my decision to change careers.

Category: Strengths
book 20
Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

by Tal Ben-Shahar

The author of Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment taught a very popular course at Harvard, on how to be happy. It’s a bit more lifestyle and story oriented than data oriented; if you want more personalized accounts of how to apply the science, this is a good choice for you.

Category: Happiness
book 21
Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance

by Marcus Buckingham

For those wanting to go deeper on finding strengths, Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance goes beyond the standard labels produced by StrengthsFinder 2.0, to help you get more specific about your individual strengths and how to act on them more often on the job.

Category: Strengths
book 22
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

by Shawn Achor

The Happiness Advantage is helpful to many people. Overall, it’s a very good and practical book on achieving more happiness at work. However, at times Achor over-states the science. I suggest applying healthy skepticism to the book and as always, experiment so you know what works best for you. Many of the examples come from the author’s experience at Harvard, not the business world.

Category: Happiness
sci of happy
The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want

by Sonja Lyubomirsky

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want is very data based, thorough, and practical. The best of the bunch on happiness. You’ll have to get through a bit of academic detail, but it’s well worth it. Read more >>

Category: Happiness