The best non-fiction books about happiness and the choices we try to make in order to get it

Who am I?

As I was writing The Coincidence Makers I found out I am not writing about coincidences, at all. I found out I was writing about fate and free will, about the way we make choices, and how these choices affect us, define us and change us. Choices and the way they build our happiness is the theme of this list, which is made out of books that I read before or during the writing process of my own (fiction) book, and probably influenced it, one way or another.

I wrote...

The Coincidence Makers: A Novel

By Yoav Blum,

Book cover of The Coincidence Makers: A Novel

What is my book about?

Guy, Emily, and Eric are three seemingly ordinary people who work for a secret organization devoted to creating and carrying out coincidences. What the rest of the world sees as random occurrences, are, in fact, carefully orchestrated events designed to spark significant changes in the lives of their targets—scientists on the brink of breakthroughs, struggling artists starved for inspiration, loves to be, or just plain people like you and me…

But a secret mission, a killer who can't hurt a fly, and memories from previous lives are going to change all that and teach them about the true nature of fate, free will, and the real meaning of love.

The books I picked & why

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The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

By Barry Schwartz,

Book cover of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Why this book?

More is not always better. More choices, more options—although they are what we crave to have and even see them as part of our definition of "freedom" sometimescan be devastating and paralyzing. As I was writing my own book, which deals a lot with choices and the way we make them, Barry Schwartz's clear and smart book was a reminder about how narrowing down our options can be a good thing.

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

By Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein,

Book cover of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Why this book?

Don't worry, this is not a conspiracy book. This is an optimistic book about the ways we can help people make better choices by designing the system around them betterpreventing car crashes, promoting better nutrition, and even increasing the pool of organ donors. It is a fascinating read about small changes around us that can create big differences.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

By Dan Ariely,

Book cover of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Why this book?

People consider themselves as rational beings, but we are notin more than one surprising way. Ariely is giving us examples and sharing stories that show us how irrational we can sometimes really be. Reading this book cannot just allow us to see things more clearly when we make our choices in life. It can also allow us to understand others, and in a weird and funny way maybe even help us be more compassionate when facing other people's mistakes.

Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert,

Book cover of Stumbling on Happiness

Why this book?

Knowing what we want can be tricky. In order to do that, we need to imagine our future selves and guess what they will be satisfied with. Surprisingly, knowing what you want might be much trickier than you think. Gilbert's book is full of insights and scientific discoveries about human nature that are fascinating, witty, and many times insightful. Happiness is a state of mind, and the mind is full of surprises.

Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

By Tal Ben-Shahar,

Book cover of Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

Why this book?

As we all want to be happy, there are different ways we can get there. Ironically, chasing happiness, trying to perfect our lives, and making sure everything is "good" and "positive" might be the worse way to do it. The chase after happiness is not the way to get it. Ben Shachar—an expert when it comes to positive thinking and happiness—teaches us how to stop the race, in order to get the peace of mind and happiness that we seek.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in decision making, happiness, and choice and choosing?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about decision making, happiness, and choice and choosing.

Decision Making Explore 42 books about decision making
Happiness Explore 43 books about happiness
Choice And Choosing Explore 15 books about choice and choosing

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Adulting, The Oxford Companion to the Mind, and The Human Brain Coloring Book if you like this list.