100 books like Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert,

Here are 100 books that Stumbling on Happiness fans have personally recommended if you like Stumbling on Happiness. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

Randy J. Paterson Author Of How to Be Miserable in Your Twenties: 40 Strategies to Fail at Adulting

From my list on building adulthood in your twenties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been conducting psychotherapy for over 30 years, much of it with young people navigating the tricky path between dependent adolescence and independent adulthood. I’ve seen the downsides of stasis and stagnation, and the tremendous benefits of learning to stand and take the tiller of one’s own life. Many of my goals in writing, vlogging, and doing therapy involve helping young adults steer their way around the potholes in the paths they aspire to tread. More broadly, I have worked on various fronts to “give psychology away,” as instructed during my training, making psychological and life-management knowledge as open and as easily accessed as possible. I operate one of Vancouver’s largest psychotherapy services and provide training to clinicians across Canada in effective mental health interventions for mood- and anxiety-related concerns.

Randy's book list on building adulthood in your twenties

Randy J. Paterson Why did Randy love this book?

Jay points out that the decade of the twenties, once regarded as the core of young adult life, has become for many a kind of extended adolescence - or an early retirement. The skills, knowledge, habits, and talents which would ordinarily be developed during this time are put off for a later that may prove too late. She makes the case for treating the decade seriously - while still having fun and laying the groundwork for yet more enjoyment later on in life.

By Meg Jay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Defining Decade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Revised and reissued for a new generation, The Defining Decade has changed the way millions of twentysomethings think about their twenties -- and themselves.

Our "thirty-is-the-new-twenty" culture tells us the twentysomething years don't matter. Some say they are an extended adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. In The Defining Decade, Meg Jay argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized the most transformative time of our lives.

Drawing from more than two decades of work with thousands of clients and students, Jay weaves the latest science of the twentysomething…


Book cover of Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

Randy J. Paterson Author Of How to Be Miserable in Your Twenties: 40 Strategies to Fail at Adulting

From my list on building adulthood in your twenties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been conducting psychotherapy for over 30 years, much of it with young people navigating the tricky path between dependent adolescence and independent adulthood. I’ve seen the downsides of stasis and stagnation, and the tremendous benefits of learning to stand and take the tiller of one’s own life. Many of my goals in writing, vlogging, and doing therapy involve helping young adults steer their way around the potholes in the paths they aspire to tread. More broadly, I have worked on various fronts to “give psychology away,” as instructed during my training, making psychological and life-management knowledge as open and as easily accessed as possible. I operate one of Vancouver’s largest psychotherapy services and provide training to clinicians across Canada in effective mental health interventions for mood- and anxiety-related concerns.

Randy's book list on building adulthood in your twenties

Randy J. Paterson Why did Randy love this book?

Adulthood seems like a necessary and possibly desirable life stage, but HOW exactly does one do it? What are the essentials? Brown steps away from cheerleading and the examination of deep psychological concepts, and instead focusses on the actual skills you need in order to be a tolerably functional, reasonably independent adult. From how to roast a chicken, to coping with upsells at the lube shop, to responding to dinner invitations, she inventories the things every grownup should (and often doesn’t) know.

By Kelly Williams Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.

If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it's OK. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can't act like one. And it all…


Book cover of The Oxford Companion to the Mind

Rita Carter Author Of Consciousness

From my list on how to start exploring consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was hooked on brain science from the moment in the 1980s when I saw the first blurry images that revealed the physical markers of thought. I set out to find out all I could about this astonishing new area of discovery, but there was practically nothing to be found – neuroscience as we know it barely existed. I pounced on every new finding that emerged and eventually wrote what was one of the first books, Mapping the Mind, that made brain science accessible to non-scientists. There are hundreds of them now, and these are some of the best.

Rita's book list on how to start exploring consciousness

Rita Carter Why did Rita love this book?

This is the one to get if you are shipwrecked on a desert island – or forced into another lockdown. Or, for that matter, if you need a doorstop that happens to contain fascinating essays on aspects of brain and mind from Abacus to Wittgenstein. Dip into it for a guaranteed good read or use it as a superior Google when you want to know things like why mirrors only reverse one way or the origin of the phrase “mad as a hatter”. It won’t disappoint.

By Richard L. Gregory,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford Companion to the Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Oxford Companion to the Mind,edited by Richard L. Gregory, is a classic. Published in 1987, to huge acclaim, it immediately took its place as the indispensable guide to the mysteries - and idiosyncracies - of the human mind. In no other book can the reader find indiscussions of concepts such as language, memory, and intelligence, side by side with witty definitions of common human experiences such as the 'cocktail-party' and 'halo' effects, and the
least effort principle.

Richard Gregory again brings his wit, wisdom, and expertise to bear on this most elusive of subjects. Research into the mind and…


Book cover of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness

Tom Stafford Author Of Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain

From my list on understanding the human mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am now a Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sheffield, UK. I co-wrote Mind Hacks with technologist Matt Webb; we had great fun doing it. My research has always been in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, using experiments to understand the mind and brain and how they fit together. 

Tom's book list on understanding the human mind

Tom Stafford Why did Tom love this book?

This book captures what is so exciting about psychology - that our own minds are at once so familiar yet so deeply weird. There’s so much to be explored!

Warren is a perfect guide, sharing his learning but not getting bogged down with it, as he visits different states of consciousness, some of which we visit every day, like the daydream or the feeling of falling asleep, others, like the lucid dream, might be less familiar.

It’s profound but never loses its sense of fun.

By Jeff Warren,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book will change the way you think, sleep, and dream for good. It is a book of psychology and neuroscience, and also of adventure wherein the author explores the extremes to which consciousness can be stretched, from the lucid dream to the quasi-mystical substratum of awareness known as the Pure Conscious Event. Replete with stylish graphics and brightened by comic panels conceived and drawn by the author, The Head Trip is an instant classic, a brilliant and original description of the shifting experience of consciousness that's also a practical guide to enhancing creativity and mental health. This book does…


Book cover of The Human Brain Coloring Book

Rita Carter Author Of Consciousness

From my list on how to start exploring consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was hooked on brain science from the moment in the 1980s when I saw the first blurry images that revealed the physical markers of thought. I set out to find out all I could about this astonishing new area of discovery, but there was practically nothing to be found – neuroscience as we know it barely existed. I pounced on every new finding that emerged and eventually wrote what was one of the first books, Mapping the Mind, that made brain science accessible to non-scientists. There are hundreds of them now, and these are some of the best.

Rita's book list on how to start exploring consciousness

Rita Carter Why did Rita love this book?

This title is designed to help student neuroscientists grasp the staggeringly complicated anatomy of the brain by -literally – coloring-in its parts in a way that shows up their connections. Colouring- will take you straight into the Zone, and using this book will allow you to do it in public without people looking around for your carer. If it leaves you with a better idea of how the bits join up, count it as a bonus.

By Marian C. Diamond, Arnold B. Scheibel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Human Brain Coloring Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Developed by internationally renowned neurosurgeons, this unique book is designed for students of psychology and the biological sciences, and medical, dental, and nursing students.


Book cover of Conscious Mind in Search of a Fundamental Theory

Rita Carter Author Of Consciousness

From my list on how to start exploring consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was hooked on brain science from the moment in the 1980s when I saw the first blurry images that revealed the physical markers of thought. I set out to find out all I could about this astonishing new area of discovery, but there was practically nothing to be found – neuroscience as we know it barely existed. I pounced on every new finding that emerged and eventually wrote what was one of the first books, Mapping the Mind, that made brain science accessible to non-scientists. There are hundreds of them now, and these are some of the best.

Rita's book list on how to start exploring consciousness

Rita Carter Why did Rita love this book?

Chalmers is the philosopher who first called Consciousness the “Hard Problem” and this is his attempt to solve it. It’s a hugely ambitious work that puts up an entirely new theory then tests it so hard that he leaves nothing for his critics to do. You may not swallow the theory, but it’s worth reading just to follow the meticulous thinking and imaginative leaps of a terrific brain.

By David J. Chalmers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Conscious Mind in Search of a Fundamental Theory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is consciousness? How do physical processes in the brain give rise to the self-aware mind and to feelings as profoundly varied as love or hate, aesthetic pleasure or spiritual yearning?

David J. Chalmers unveils a major new theory of consciousness, one that rejects the prevailing reductionist trend of science, while offering provocative insights into the relationship between mind and brain. Writing in a thought-provoking style, Chalmers proposes that conscious experience must be understood as an irreducible entity similar to such physical properties as time, mass, and space that exists at a fundamental level and cannot be understood as the…


Book cover of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Jean Kilbourne Author Of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

From my list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1968, I saw an ad that changed my life. It was typical—insulting to women, demeaning. Yet, at that moment, it somehow crystallized so many of my experiencesthe sexist slights, the terrible jobs, the sexual harassment, the catcalls, the objectification. I thought, “This is atrocious … and it is not trivial.” I started collecting ads and lecturing on the topic.  I made my first film, “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women” in 1979 (and have remade it three times since). Eventually I wrote and made films about alcohol and tobacco advertising. In 2015, I was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Jean's book list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture

Jean Kilbourne Why did Jean love this book?

This is one of the most brilliant and important books I have ever read!

Way ahead of his time, Postman described the increasing and detrimental role of entertainment in every aspect of American life. His predictions have been realized beyond his wildest nightmares. 

Although not a book about advertising, it helped me understand that advertising has been a key player in the trivialization of American culture and the corruption of the way we think. I had the privilege of knowing Neil, which certainly added to my appreciation of his genius.

By Neil Postman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Amusing Ourselves to Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

"It's unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” -CNN

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell…


Book cover of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

Christopher Dale Author Of Better Halves: Rebuilding a Post-Addiction Marriage

From my list on couples recovering from addiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a husband, father, writer, and recovering addict – and not necessarily in that order. Early in my marriage, I became a full-blown, low-bottom cocaine addict. While it wasn’t surprising that active addiction nearly led to divorce, my wife and I were baffled and discouraged when my newfound sobriety brought its own existential marital issues. Frustratingly, there was a dearth of resources for couples in recovery, especially compared to the ample support available to recovering addicts. As an avid freelance writer, I decided to add to this sparse genre by sharing our struggles, setbacks, and successes en route to a happy, secure marriage. 

Christopher's book list on couples recovering from addiction

Christopher Dale Why did Christopher love this book?

What’s a book against language policing and cancel culture doing on a list about post-addiction marriage? Simple: the self-obsessed, oft-offended nonsense permeating universities exemplifies what married couples in recovery must roundly reject. 

The book’s co-authors – a social psychologist and a free speech activist – profess three Great Untruths adversely affecting Generation Z: 

What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. This prompts us to avoid narratives challenging our preconceived notions or personal experiences. 

Always trust your feelings. Among other problems, unquestionably trusting our feelings leads to taking offense when none is intended.

Life is a battle between good and evil people. This leads to a blame-first mentality that assumes the worst about others. 

They may as well have been speaking to married couples attempting to stay together post-recovery.

By Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Coddling of the American Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller * Finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Nonfiction * A New York Times Notable Book * Bloomberg Best Book of 2018

"Their distinctive contribution to the higher-education debate is to meet safetyism on its own, psychological turf . . . Lukianoff and Haidt tell us that safetyism undermines the freedom of inquiry and speech that are indispensable to universities." -Jonathan Marks, Commentary

"The remedies the book outlines should be considered on college campuses, among parents of current and future students, and by anyone longing for a more sane society." -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Something…


Book cover of Life After Life

Sam Taylor Author Of The Two Loves of Sophie Strom

From my list on making the impossible feel real.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories that rearrange reality in some simple, allusive way, including movies like Groundhog Day or The Truman Show. They remind me of a quote about Italo Calvino that I first read when I was a teenager and have loved ever since: ‘He holds a mirror up to life, then writes about the mirror.’ I tend not to be attracted to stories that simply depict reality and even less so to stories that completely abandon reality for an invented fantasy world. All my favorite fictions take place somewhere in between, in the blending of the real and the impossible. 

Sam's book list on making the impossible feel real

Sam Taylor Why did Sam love this book?

It always seemed unfair to me that not only do we get just one life, but we only get to live it once. So I fell in love with this novel from the moment I read its premise: Ursula Todd is born and dies and is born again… and again… and again.

I love that she doesn’t remember her previous lives except as vague intuitions that help her avoid making the same mistakes twice–and I also love that avoiding those mistakes often means she makes other (often fatal) mistakes. I found this book funny, moving, and thought-provoking, but what I love most about it is the way its down-to-earth, realistic style allowed me to fully inhabit the impossible conceit at its heart. 

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…


Book cover of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Bradley Bevers Author Of The Mental Game of Real Estate: How to Thrive as a Real Estate Agent

From my list on showing you how to sell anything without losing your soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to read books. I read over 100 books a year and really try to implement principles and tips from those that I love. I also hate traditional sales advice and have worked on building my business differently from the typical salesperson, trying to serve my clients better by learning and practicing in a different way. Nothing happens until somebody sells something, but there is a better way. That’s why I wrote my book, The Mental Game of Real Estate, about the same principles that I teach my agents every day.

Bradley's book list on showing you how to sell anything without losing your soul

Bradley Bevers Why did Bradley love this book?

If you are going to read one book about how to be a better salesperson, read this one. Cialdini is a master, and most modern sales psychology books are built off of his work in this book. I have used all six of the principles that he lays out in this book to grow the real estate business, but I especially love the principle of reciprocity.

In a nutshell, this is the power of giving gifts to build relationships, and it is one of the main things I learned from reading to grow my business. When I show a property, I bring water, snacks, and beer. I follow up with my clients with at least 5 personal gifts a year. Cialdini also teaches the power of accepting gifts from others, and I always accept a glass of water, a snack, or anything else my clients offer me. You are not…

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The foundational and wildly popular go-to resource for influence and persuasion-a renowned international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold-now revised adding: new research, new insights, new examples, and online applications.

In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller, Robert Cialdini-New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion-explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don't have…


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