100 books like Learned Optimism

By Martin E. P. Seligman,

Here are 100 books that Learned Optimism fans have personally recommended if you like Learned Optimism. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Ricardo Sunderland Author Of The Energy Advantage: How to Go from Managing Your Time to Mastering Your Energy

From my list on non fiction mastering your energy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My purpose is to help leaders connect to and manage their energy. I help them bring coherence to how they lead and reach their full societal impact. For more than a  decade, I have coached 300 of the most senior leaders at some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world. My recommended to-read book list represents crucible moments in my life and my calling to learn about human energy. Representing different lenses, which are key to adding to a mix of ingredients, allows the reader to drink a potion that will exalt all your buckets (physical, mental, emotional & spiritual) of energy holistically. 

Ricardo's book list on non fiction mastering your energy

Ricardo Sunderland Why did Ricardo love this book?

Besides being one of the best psychologists in mankind's history, Viktor is a masterful storyteller. It's as if I was transported to Auschwitz at the time, where Viktor was imprisoned along with thousands of Jews; in a very compelling way, he leaves no hint of a doubt that it was thanks to his meaning in life that he was able to survive, and the minute that others let go of theirs, they let go of life itself.

In addition, Viktor also shares his logotherapy framework and how it was updated after his terrible experience. If you doubt the power of doing the work to search for your life’s meaning, this book is a must-read. 

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

43 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.


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

Vincent Doumeizel Author Of The Seaweed Revolution: How Seaweed Has Shaped Our Past and Can Save Our Future

From my list on the world is getting better and the best is yet to come.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an optimistic citizen of the world, I travelled the globe to witness famine in Africa and seaweed farming in Asia. Having worked on food systems for twenty-five years and being the father of three children, I was looking for solutions to feed the coming generation with hopes instead of fears! That’s how I ended up working for a visionary charity (Lloyd’s Register Foundation) and leading a “Seaweed Revolution” for United Nations Global Compact as well as writing book to spread the gospel of neglected Ocean Based Solutions. The books I have recommended here all give hope through examples from the past and present and provide readers with practical toolkits for creating positive change.

Vincent's book list on the world is getting better and the best is yet to come

Vincent Doumeizel Why did Vincent love this book?

This is another book that can inspire you in your daily life and change your perspective. A call for happiness!

Despite what we believe, happiness breeds success, and not the other way around… quite an important distinction. This very well-researched book by a specialist from Harvard University also argues that our brain is flexible enough to change whatever our age, and that it is always possible to mitigate our negative perception of reality.

This leads to a more positive way of thinking that will create the conditions to achieve what we want and lead an exciting life! After reading this book, you’ll be able to make happiness contagious and promote the cause like an activist! A must-read for the next generation. 

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 The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest

Mary T. Newport Author Of Clearly Keto: For Healthy Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Prevention

From my list on healthier aging of body and brain through diet and lifestyle changes (by a doctor).

Why am I passionate about this?

At just fifty-four, my husband Steve was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. After practicing as a physician specializing in newborn intensive care for thirty years, I found myself at the opposite end of the spectrum, learning everything I could about Alzheimer’s. In 2008, Steve had a dramatic improvement in his symptoms lasting nearly four years from consuming ketogenic coconut oil and MCT oil, a low-carb whole food diet, and later a ketone ester developed at the NIH. I knew that if Steve improved many others would as well, and have been compelled to share this information by speaking and writing about ketones as an alternative fuel for the brain.

Mary's book list on healthier aging of body and brain through diet and lifestyle changes (by a doctor)

Mary T. Newport Why did Mary love this book?

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner is a fascinating look at populations around the world with high concentrations of centenarians, including detailed interviews with these very elderly people, to learn what factors might explain their longevity and good health—what they eat and how they go about their daily lives.

I found it interesting and inspirational to get such an intimate peek into the lives of individuals from different cultures who have lived much longer than most of us can hope for.

By Dan Buettner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A long, healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are you may live up to a decade longer. Buettner has led teams of researchers across the globe--from Costa Rica to Sardinia, Italy, to Okinawa, Japan and beyond--to uncover the secrets of Blue Zones. He found that the recipe for longevity is deeply intertwined with community, lifestyle, and spirituality. People live longer and healthier by embracing a few simple but powerful habits, and by creating the right community around themselves. In The…


Book cover of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert

Leslie Becker-Phelps Author Of The Insecure in Love Workbook: Step-by-Step Guidance to Help You Overcome Anxious Attachment and Feel More Secure with Yourself and Your Partner

From my list on helpful books for developing securely attached relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a life-long desire to help others, so it’s no surprise that I chose to become a psychologist. In my search for underlying causes and potential healing agents for emotional suffering, I have learned (and deeply feel) the importance of self-awareness, connection, and compassion for a sense of well-being. I’ve also found that attachment theory provides a great framework for pulling all of this together. Driven by my commitment to help people, I use my writing, YouTube channel, speaking, and therapy to share what I’ve learned. Just as my list of books has helped me on my path, I hope it helps you on yours!

Leslie's book list on helpful books for developing securely attached relationships

Leslie Becker-Phelps Why did Leslie love this book?

As a couples therapist, I trust and rely upon this book’s essential insights about marriage that are provided by Gottman, a renowned couples researcher. Also, I find that the clear writing, which is organized into short sections, makes the material easy to read and digest. Despite having been out for decades, I keep this on my shelf as a go-to resource. 

By John Gottman, Nan Silver,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The revolutionary guide to show couples how to create an emotionally intelligent relationship - and keep it on track

Straightforward in its approach, yet profound in its effect, the principles outlined in this book teach partners new and startling strategies for making their marriage work.

Gottman has scientifically analysed the habits of married couples and established a method of correcting the behaviour that puts thousands of marriages on the rocks. He helps couples focus on each other, on paying attention to the small day-to-day moments that, strung together, make up the heart and soul of any relationship. Packed with questionnaires…


Book cover of Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

Greg Everett Author Of Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment

From my list on self-reliance to achieve success and fulfillment.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a coach of elite weightlifters, a lifetime athlete, an outdoorsman, and a passionate advocate for self-reliance, I’m continually searching for quality sources of information that teach, inspire, and drive us to improve our abilities—physical, mental, and emotional—to not just enrich our own lives and bolster our capacity to achieve what’s meaningful to us, but to become better contributors to the world at large and help and inspire others in turn.

Greg's book list on self-reliance to achieve success and fulfillment

Greg Everett Why did Greg love this book?

Gonzales has a way of providing information in a compelling manner, managing to use stories to present ideas rather than approaching them clinically. Deep Survival is a fascinating look at how people interact with the world as influenced by their unique and our shared human psychology and experiences. This book provides insight, but also inspiration to pay more attention and learn from our own experiences, creating a mental foundation for further exploration and growth. 

By Laurence Gonzales,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With its mix of adventure narrative, survival science and practical advice, Deep Survival inspires readers on how to take control of stress, learn to assess risk and make better decisions under pressure.


Book cover of Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival

Greg Everett Author Of Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment

From my list on self-reliance to achieve success and fulfillment.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a coach of elite weightlifters, a lifetime athlete, an outdoorsman, and a passionate advocate for self-reliance, I’m continually searching for quality sources of information that teach, inspire, and drive us to improve our abilities—physical, mental, and emotional—to not just enrich our own lives and bolster our capacity to achieve what’s meaningful to us, but to become better contributors to the world at large and help and inspire others in turn.

Greg's book list on self-reliance to achieve success and fulfillment

Greg Everett Why did Greg love this book?

Survival books these days tend to be more flash and gimmicks than qualify information, just selling an author’s image rather than providing practical, valuable tools that can be immediately put to use by any inquisitive and motivated reader. Brown not only eschews such silliness, but he also provides the information in a tone and with an attitude sadly unusual in the genre and at large, inspiring curiosity, awe, and respect for the world around us rather than a clumsy attempt to dominate it.

By Tom Brown Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fully illustrated wilderness survival guide perfect for seasoned and novice outdoors enthusiasts alike.

Here, in one essential volume, are the basics of wilderness survival. The most ancient and important skills, preserved for generations, are presented in a simple, easy-to-use format with clear illustrations and instructions. A complete must-have companion to the great outdoors.

• How to build natural shelters in plains, woods, or deserts
• How to get safe drinking water from plants, trees, the sun, or Earth Herself
• How to make fire without matches and maintain it in any weather
• How to find, stalk, kill, and…


Book cover of Violence of Mind

Greg Everett Author Of Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment

From my list on self-reliance to achieve success and fulfillment.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a coach of elite weightlifters, a lifetime athlete, an outdoorsman, and a passionate advocate for self-reliance, I’m continually searching for quality sources of information that teach, inspire, and drive us to improve our abilities—physical, mental, and emotional—to not just enrich our own lives and bolster our capacity to achieve what’s meaningful to us, but to become better contributors to the world at large and help and inspire others in turn.

Greg's book list on self-reliance to achieve success and fulfillment

Greg Everett Why did Greg love this book?

Violence of Mind is the only book I can remember immediately reading a second time upon finishing it. While the title is somewhat misleading and will likely dissuade too many people from picking it up, the content is straightforward, intelligent, and far more insightful than any other book in the genre I’m familiar with. Freeborn delivers succinct but critical lessons in self-defense from a philosophical perspective—this isn’t tough guy fantasies squeezed into ill-advised recommendations, but a quest to help us understand how to successfully navigate dire situations in ways that align with our values. 

By Varg Freeborn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A book covering the topic of self-defense from a shocking, first-hand perspective. The subjects of criminal violence, self-defense, lethal force, mindset, firearms training and concealment have never been introduced so comprehensively in one place. Having successfully sold world-wide in its independently published and distributed paperback form, it is now available on Kindle. "A powerful, gripping, and self-reflective roller-coaster that's part cautionary tale, part how-to book on building the counterpart to the high-order predator, Varg makes no apologies for it being an in-your-face look at real violence from the perspective of that rare someone who can speak from deep personal experience,…


Book cover of How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Marta Zaraska Author Of Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100

From my list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science journalist published in The Washington Post, Scientific American, The Atlantic, etc., and the author of bestselling Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100. I’m also a slightly obsessive parent who really cares about her family’s health—that’s how “Growing Young” was born. To write the book, I’ve read over 600 scientific studies, talked to dozens of scientists and had some experiments conducted on myself (some a bit painful, some rather fun)—and ended up changing my own outlook on what it means to live healthily. 

Marta's book list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon)

Marta Zaraska Why did Marta love this book?

While friendship, ikigai and optimism are important for our health and longevity, diet and exercise still matter—a lot. For me, How Not to Die is a go-to book when I want to check the science on what works—and what doesn’t—in terms of nutrition, physical activity, supplements, etc.

By Michael Greger, Gene Stone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Not to Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This book may help those who are susceptible to illnesses that can be prevented with proper nutrition' - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The international bestseller, Dr Michael Greger's How Not To Die gives effective, scientifically-proven nutritional advice to prevent our biggest killers - including heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes - and reveals the astounding health benefits that simple dietary choices can provide.

Why rely on drugs and surgery to cure you of life-threatening disease when the right decisions can prevent you from falling ill to begin with?

Based on the latest scientific research,…


Book cover of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

Marta Zaraska Author Of Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100

From my list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science journalist published in The Washington Post, Scientific American, The Atlantic, etc., and the author of bestselling Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100. I’m also a slightly obsessive parent who really cares about her family’s health—that’s how “Growing Young” was born. To write the book, I’ve read over 600 scientific studies, talked to dozens of scientists and had some experiments conducted on myself (some a bit painful, some rather fun)—and ended up changing my own outlook on what it means to live healthily. 

Marta's book list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon)

Marta Zaraska Why did Marta love this book?

When I traveled for research in Japan, one word I kept hearing was “ikigai”. Ikigai does not have a perfect equivalent in English, but is often translated either as “purpose in life” or “life worth living.” And, as science shows, it’s a very important reason for why the Japanese are among the longest-lived people on the planet. For me, García’s and Miralles’s well-written book was a rewarding deep dive not only into the Japanese culture but also into the science linking meaning in life, happiness, and longevity.

By Francesc Miralles, Héctor García,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ikigai as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER • 1.5 MILLION+ COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE

“Workers looking for more fulfilling positions should start by identifying their ikigai.” ―Business Insider
 
“One of the unintended—yet positive—consequences of the [pandemic] is that it is forcing people to reevaluate their jobs, careers, and lives. Use this time wisely, find your personal ikigai, and live your best life.” ―Forbes

Find your ikigai (pronounced ee-key-guy) to live longer and bring more meaning and joy to all your days.

“Only staying active will make you want to live a hundred years.” —Japanese proverb
 
According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai—a reason for living.…


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

Randy Ross Author Of Fireproof Happiness: Extinguishing Anxiety & Igniting Hope

From my list 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.

Randy's book list on the best way to find happiness

Randy Ross Why did Randy 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,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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