Many of the world’s positive psychology experts have written great books on the subject.
It may have taken a while for positive psychology to be accepted as a serious area of study among academics, but experts have pushed forward regardless, turning out excellent books on the subject. Following are some of our favorites, but please let us know if we’ve missed one of your favorites.
- Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life – 1998 book, written 20 years into Dr. Martin Seligman’s landmark study on the link between pessimism and depression.
- Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment – A national bestseller, Authentic Happiness launched the revolutionary new science of Positive Psychology—and sparked a coast-to-coast debate on the nature of real happiness.
- Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life – Based on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement
- The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does – Written by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky (UC Riverside), The Myths of Happiness shares practical lessons that prove we are more adaptable than we think we are. It empowers readers to look beyond their first response, sharing scientific evidence that often it is our mindset—not our circumstances—that matters most.
- Flourish – Dr. Martin Seligman’s most popular book, laying out all of his current thinking on positive psychology.
- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin’s book, which accompanies her phenomenally popular website of the same name.
- The How of Happiness – Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s comprehensive guide to understanding the elemetns of happiness based on years of groundbreaking scientific research. It is also a practical, empowering, and easy-to-follow workbook, incorporating happiness strategies, exercises in new ways of thinking, and quizzes for understanding our individuality, all in an effort to help us realize our innate potential for joy and ways to sustain it in our lives.
- The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience – In a thirty-year study, Dr. Seligman and his UPenn colleagues discovered the link between pessimism — dwelling on the most catastrophic cause of any setback — and depression. In this book, Seligman shows adults how to teach children the skills of optimism that can help them combat depression, achieve more on the playing field and at school, and improve their physical health.
- Delivering Happiness – Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s best-seller, the book that launched the Delivering Happiness consultancy.
- Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment – One out of every five Harvard University students has lined up to hear Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s insightful and inspiring lectures on happiness. Grounded in the positive psychology movement, Ben-Shahar combines scientific studies, scholarly research, self-help advice, and spiritual enlightenment. He weaves them together into a set of principles that you can apply to your daily life.
- Character Strengths and Virtues, By Christopher Peterson and Dr. Martin Seligman. Classifies twenty-four specific strengths under six broad virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each strength is thoroughly examined in its own chapter, with special attention to its meaning, explanation, measurement, causes, correlates, consequences, and development across the life span, as well as to strategies for its deliberate cultivation.
- Changing Your Company from the Inside Out: A Guide for Social Intrapreneurs, By: Gerald F. Davis, Chris White
- Competing Values Leadership, By: Kim S. Cameron , Robert E. Quinn , Jeff Degraff, Anjan V. Thakor
- Stumbling on Happiness – Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert describes the foibles of imagination and illusions of foresight that cause each of us to misconceive our tomorrows and misestimate our satisfactions.Bringing to life the latest scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, Gilbert reveals what scientists have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future, and about our capacity to predict how much we will like it when we get there.
- Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill – Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk whose research focuses on how meditation affects brain chemistry. Happiness outlines a crash course on Buddhist meditation, which allows us to enjoy “experiences in the context of a vast and profound serenity.” Modest and earnest, Ricard does not claim to provide new information but rather summarizes the body of thought that already exists.
- The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to explain how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.
- The Best Teacher in You: How to Accelerate Learning and Change Lives, By Robert E. Quinn , Katherine Heynoski, Michael Thomas, Gretchen M. Spreitzer
- How to Be a Positive Leader: Small Actions, Big Impact By: Jane Dutton , Gretchen M. Spreitzer
- Negotiating Genuinely: Being Yourself in Business, By: Shirli Kopelman
- United America, By: Wayne Baker
- Practicing Positive Leadership: Tools and techniques that create extraordinary results, By: Kim S. Cameron
- Achieving Success Through Social Capital: Tapping the Hidden Resources in Your Personal and Business Networks, By: Wayne Baker
- Positive Leadership By: Kim S. Cameron
- Using a Positive Lens to Explore Social Change and Organizations By: Jane Dutton , Karen Golden-Biddle
- Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship, By: Kim S. Cameron , Gretchen M. Spreitzer