What types of books are your favorite? My favorite books inspire me and teach me something about myself and my relationship to this strange world. I read and re-read the ones that invigorate me the most, especially if they’re books like the ones listed below, which teach me key secrets to happiness. These aren’t books containing cute chimpanzees or cocktail recipes. As you read them, you’ll need to absorb the wisdom offered and reflect. If there’s one theme that they all share in common, it’s this: We are in charge of our own happiness, but true happiness takes constant practice.
- Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”
While Tuesdays With Morrie is about a dying man and the last class that he teaches, you don’t feel depressed at the end; you feel transformed. Morrie offers clarity on what really matters in life as well as the idea that we can create our own culture if we are unhappy with the one surrounding us. Life is finite, so there’s no use waiting until tomorrow or the next day to change our lives for the better.
2. The Book of Joy by The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams
“The three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous.”
The Book of Joy attempts to answer one question; “How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering?” Through stories and experience, the authors offer wisdom which remind us that no matter what life throws at us, we are responsible for how we react. This freedom means that we can truly experience happiness every day, so long as we choose to.
3. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
“The Four Agreements
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best. ”
At times I struggled with the author’s metaphors and word choice. However, if we were to strip back the trippy language and stick to the proposed agreements, all of our lives would improve immensely. The agreements are listed above for your reference, but if you want to truly understand them, you’ll have to read the book.
4. The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey
Pay attention to what makes you feel energized, connected, and stimulated. Follow your intuition, do what you love, and you will do more than succeed. You will soar.”
Ideal for those of us with a short attention span, The Path Made Clear offers snippets of the best conversations between Oprah and celebrities on the topics that drive our lives. Whether you need help finding your true self or are struggling to figure out your life’s purpose, there’s a quote that’ll make you approach your circumstance from a fresh perspective. This isn’t a book you have to read all at once…sit it on your coffee table and flip through it during commercials or while you’re waiting for dinner to cook.
5. Peace is Every Step By Thich Nhat Hanh
“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
By now, we’ve all heard that mindfulness = happiness…but where do we start? Peace is Every Step offers mindfulness tricks and tips that go beyond traditional meditation. Some of the suggestions may feel silly at first…like enjoying stop lights instead of cursing at them or thinking of washing dishes as a pleasure rather than a chore. But I promise you that if you practice mindfulness as described in this book, you will find peace in situations where it never used to exist. It takes determination to experience peace, and it is an ongoing battle. But the battle for peace is much sweeter than accepting discord as the norm.
Have you read any of these books? What books have helped you when you need a happiness boost?