The best books on the best way to find happiness

Why am I passionate about this?

My entire career has revolved around helping people find more meaning and fulfillment in their life and work. It’s a fact that happy people are healthier, have better relationships, are more satisfied with life, and are more productive. But, happiness for most folks is elusive. Through my research, personal experience, and coaching and consulting practice, I have found that there is a distinct connection between hope and happiness. Fireproof Happiness is my attempt to show this connection and offer practical wisdom and sound advice to craft a brighter tomorrow, no matter what you may be facing today.


I wrote...

Fireproof Happiness: Extinguishing Anxiety & Igniting Hope

By Randy Ross,

Book cover of Fireproof Happiness: Extinguishing Anxiety & Igniting Hope

What is my book about?

Happiness is something that everyone desires, yet few know how to obtain. What constitutes true happiness has been a query that has captivated psychologists, philosophers, and religious leaders for centuries. Many meaningful and insightful responses have been the outcome of the struggle to define and describe the elements that are essential to this universal pursuit. As a result, one thing has become clear. Happiness is not achieved by eliminating struggle.

Distilling decades of psychological research into simple language, Dr. Ross provides practical wisdom to effectively face challenges, difficulties, and setbacks. Offering life-transforming truths, Dr. Ross untangles some of life’s toughest issues and shows how anyone can apply hope to make life happier, healthier, and more productive. You don’t have to wait until life isn’t hard to make the choice to be happy!

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Randy Ross Why did I love this book?

Known as the father of the new science of Positive Psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman shows how optimism enhances quality of life. He refutes the idea that some people are simply born more optimistic and shares how anyone can adopt a more positive outlook on life. This book is filled with simple techniques to break depression, boost your immune system and make you happier.

Learned Optimism offers simple, straightforward solutions to help anyone embrace a healthier mindset as they face and embrace challenging times. Applying the content of this book, anyone can learn to view life through a different lens, changing their perspective and navigating life’s difficulties more effectively.

By Martin E. P. Seligman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Learned Optimism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The father of positive psychology draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to show you how to overcome depression, boost your immune system, and make yourself happier.

"Vaulted me out of my funk.... So, fellow moderate pessimists, go buy this book." —The New York Times Book Review

Offering many simple techniques anyone can practice, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I–give–up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school,…


Book cover of You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life

Randy Ross Why did I love this book?

Few people have the tools to handle tumultuous times and failure. Instead of allowing challenging times to crystalize their character, many folks respond to challenges and setbacks by curling up in a ball and crying. In You Are Awesome, Pasricha builds the case that you can actually turn your adversities into an advantage. You can tell yourself a different story and write a brighter future.

In You Are Awesome, you will find principles and practices that will help you navigate change, wrestle effectively with failure, and live an intentional life. You will learn how to establish routines to eliminate stress, change your perspective and grow stronger in the process.

By Neil Pasricha,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Are Awesome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INSTANT #1 BESTSELLER

From Neil Pasricha—New York Times million-copy bestselling author of The Book of Awesome series and The Happiness Equation, thought leader for the next generation, and one of the most popular TED speakers in the world—comes a revelatory and inspiring book that will change the way we view failure and help us build resilience.

Why is life getting harder instead of easier?
How do I get back up after life knocks me down?
And how do I grow stronger and live more intentionally?

We no longer have the tools to handle failure…or even perceived failure. When we fall,…


Book cover of You, Happier: The 7 Neuroscience Secrets of Feeling Good Based on Your Brain Type

Randy Ross Why did I love this book?

Dr. Daniel Amen is the preeminent authority on brain scanning. Having studied over 200,000 brain scans from over 155 countries, he has provided insights into how brain health is related to happiness, healthy relationships, and productivity. In You, Happier, Dr. Amen offers practical, science-based strategies for optimizing your happiness.

You will discover how your brain functions and what strategies you can employ to create happiness. You will find ways to improve your overall brain health and learn ways to distance yourself from the damaging influences that cause the brain to function less effectively. Creating consistent happiness is a daily journey and this book provides the roadmap.

By Daniel G. Amen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You, Happier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dr. Daniel Amen reveals the seven neuroscience secrets to becoming more than 30 percent happier in just 30 days—regardless of your age, upbringing, genetics, or current situation.

Happiness is a brain function. With a healthier brain always comes a happier life.

After studying more than 200,000 brain scans of people from 155 countries, Dr. Amen has discovered five primary brain types and seven neuroscience secrets that influence happiness. In You, Happier, he explains them and offers practical, science-based strategies for optimizing your happiness. Dr. Amen will teach you how to discover your brain type…


Book cover of The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

Randy Ross Why did I love this book?

In this book, Achor “flips the script.” Conventional wisdom says that happiness is the result of seeing your dreams realized. However, recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that happiness actually fuels success, not the other way around. And, he proves it through research. When we have a positive outlook on life, our brains are more engaged, we are more resilient and energetic.

Isolating seven practices that can help anyone elevate their happiness, Achor takes the reader down the path of offering practical advice on how you can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve your performance and maximize your potential. A great read!

By Shawn Achor,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Happiness Advantage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most people want to be successful in life. And of course, everyone wants to be happy. When it comes to the pursuit of success and happiness, most people assume the same formula: if you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you'll be happy. The only problem is that a decade of cutting-edge research in the field of positive psychology has proven that this formula is backwards. Success does not beget happiness.

Based on the largest study ever conducted on happiness and human potential (a survey conducted by the author of more than 1,600 students),…


Book cover of Happiness is a Choice: New Ways to Enhance Joy and Meaning in Your Life

Randy Ross Why did I love this book?

Happiness is a Choice is a faith-based, definitive work that defines and helps people deal with the troubling elements of depression. Drawing from their professional training and counseling experience Minirth & Meier provide a thorough analysis of the factors that contribute to depression and offer solutions to cure it.

This book will deal with the vital connection between spiritual life and psychological health and establish basic steps that can be taken to recover from depression and maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling existence.

By Frank Minirth, Paul Meier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Happiness is a Choice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether depression is felt mildly or acutely, temporarily or persistently, it strikes just about everyone at some point. Drs. Minirth and Meier believe, however, that the emotional pain of depression can be overcome and avoided. Drawing from their professional training, counseling experience, and biblical knowledge, they explore the complex relationship between spiritual life and psychological health and then spell out basic steps for recovering from depression and maintaining a happy, fulfilling life.


You might also like...

The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

By Sammy Stein,

Book cover of The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

Sammy Stein Author Of Fabulous Female Musicians

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been passionate about music for almost my entire life. Jazz music in particular speaks to me but not just jazz. I love music, full stop. I really discovered jazz when I attended a jazz club workshop in London and there, I had to join in or leave. I chose to join in and since then I have never looked back. I was introduced to more jazz musicians and now write about music for three major columns as well as Readers’ Digest. My Women In Jazz book won several awards. I have been International Editor for the Jazz Journalist Association and had my work commissioned by the Library of Congress. 

Sammy's book list on female musicians

What is my book about?

With input from over 100 musicians, the book discusses what exactly jazz is, and how you know you are listening to it. Do we truly know when and how jazz first originated? Who was the first jazz musician? How does jazz link to other genres? What about women in jazz? And writers and journalists? Do reviews make any difference? 

This book is a deep dive into jazz's history, impact, and future. It discusses jazz's social, cultural, and political influence and reveals areas where jazz has had an impact we may not even realize.Its influences on hip hop, the connection to…

The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

By Sammy Stein,

What is this book about?

This book is very different from other, more general jazz books. It is packed with information, advice, well researched and includes experiences from jazz musicians who gleefully add their rich voices to Sammy's in-depth research. All genres, from hard bop to be-bop, vocal jazz, must instrumental, free jazz, and everything between is covered in one way or another and given Sammy's forensic eye. There is social commentary and discussions of careers in jazz music. The musical background of those in the book is rich and diverse.
Critics comment:
"This new book by Sammy Stein is a highly individual take on…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in happiness, neuroscience, and resilience?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about happiness, neuroscience, and resilience.

Happiness Explore 326 books about happiness
Neuroscience Explore 147 books about neuroscience
Resilience Explore 24 books about resilience