In the pursuit of happiness, the spiritual world has long touted the benefits of gratitude. These days, science is catching up, and it seems the public is catching on. Just take a look at our list of 20 books about gratitude below. Some are best-selling titles, others in their tenth print edition, all extolling the good things gratitude can bring to your sense of fulfillment, purpose, and wellbeing.
Whether you're looking for a heartfelt memoir, a 30-day action plan, or a compilation of all the latest scientific research on this uplifting human emotion, there's a gratitude book for you.
Here are our picks for the best gratitude books.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
In Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, Voskamp takes readers through her personal transformation of adopting a lifestyle of writing down specific things she’s thankful for, which she calls “gifts.” She writes that in expressing gratitude for the life we have, we find the life we wanted. Things like “jam piled high on toast” or “cry of a blue jay high in the spruce” help us notice the details that make life great.
365 Thank Yous by John Kralik
When John Kralik found his life falling apart, he was struck by a thought one New Year’s Day: What if, instead of focusing on all of the bad things in life, I focused on the good? And that’s what he did. Kralik made a goal of writing 365 Thank You Notes in a year—one for each day.
Living Life as a Thank You by Nina Lesowitz
In Living Life as a Thank You, authors Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons think you can find a gift in whatever you’re given, even the bad. Saying thank you inspires daily feelings of love, compassion, and hope. This book presents a plan for those who want a little extra Thanksgiving in their lives.
Gratitude Works! by Robert A. Emmons
If you’re looking for a straightforward guide to cultivating a grateful mindset, Gratitude Works is a good place to start. The book pairs scientific findings with the philosophical, religious and spiritual reasons for gratitude. Full of tips, this book gives actionable steps for becoming more grateful.
Everyday Gratitude by A Network for Grateful Living
If beautifully illustrated quotes are something you find inspirational, Everyday Gratitude will help you find joy in the everyday. Mixed in with the quotes from influential figures like Anne Frank are reflections and practices for living life as a gift. In this book, you’ll learn the root of happiness is gratefulness.
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
The Danish concept of Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) is loosely translated to a sense of coziness, community, and well-being. In this book, author Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen introduces readers to Hygge and how to incorporate it into your own life. Many of Hygge's ideas, like taking a break, and being present, run parallel to the idea of and benefits of gratitude.
Gratitude by Oliver Sachs
Growing older is a gift, yet in a society that values youth, we don't always see it that way. Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks's four personal essays, which he wrote while diagnosed with terminal cancer before his death, encourage readers to think about how they define a meaningful life.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
Author and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown speaks to readers about worthiness in The Gifts of Imperfection. In this book, Brown outlines "ten guideposts" to inspire readers to live a wholehearted, authentic life. In this way, Brown says gratitude, acceptance, and compassion can flow.
Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Author Nancy Leigh DeMoss speaks to readers of the Christian faith about what it means to live with a thankful spirit, even through unpleasant and difficult times. Through nine chapters, Choosing Gratitude shares how electing gratitude means choosing joy, and explores what that means in religious context.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg is largely a book about cultivating resilience through adversity. And part of the resilience-building process, or perhaps as a result of it, includes gratitude. In a 2017 interview about Option B with The Atlantic, Sandberg says that there is hope through the veil of negative emotions, where people can say, “I’m stronger. I lived through that, I can live through anything. I’m more grateful.”
Thanks A Thousand by A.J. Jacobs
In a social experiment, author A.J. Jacobs travels beyond the barista to thank every person responsible for his morning cup of java, from Minnesota to Colombia. The result is a transformational experience as Jacobs validates for himself what science has been saying about gratitude all along: That it can improve compassion and wellbeing.
Wear Gratitude (Like a Sweater) by Susa Talan
Beautifully illustrated, Susa Talan uses hand-drawn lettering and cheerful illustration to personify inspiring quotes of humanity's much-loved thinkers and writers. From Virginia Woolf to Lao Tzu, Thich Nhat Nanch to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wear Gratitude (Like a Sweater) is both mood booster and food for thought.
Living in Gratitude by Angeles Arrien
If you're in the market for a gratitude action plan, Living in Gratitude may appeal to you. Angeles Arrien presents a 12-month plan by culling learnings from social science, prayers, and practices from myriad cultures and traditions spanning the globe. The plan explores themes like envy and comparison, and includes journaling and reflection exercises.
The Psychology of Gratitude by Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough
In 2004, when The Psychology of Gratitude was published, the science behind the human emotion and virtue remained considerably neglected. In response, this collection of 14 essays combines findings from disciplines like anthropology, philosophy, biology, and theology to help readers examine and understand gratitude's layers.
10% Happier by Dan Harris
Broadcast journalist Dan Harris's memoir of how a widely televised panic attack led him to meditation and its benefits published in 2014 to positive reviews. Through Harris's personal story and reporting, he shares how to rewire the brain to make more room for joy, gratitude, and love.
Big Potential by Shawn Achor
Big Potential author Shawn Achor makes the case for teamwork. Specifically, including Chapter 5 on creating a prism of praise and recognition, Achor articulates how we can achieve success together (at work, at home, on the sports field, wherever)—and this is what he calls big Potential.
May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
To transform your relationships, finances, bodies, and self-image, life coach and author Gabrielle Bernstein says the key lies in simple shifts. Think and do them consistently, maybe with the help of her 40-day plan outlined in May Cause Miracles, and readers may discover an abundance of gratitude, forgiveness, and love.
The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan
A lot of how adversity impacts us is largely influenced by how we respond to it. Janice Kaplan, former editor in chief of Parade magazine, completely makes over a year in her life with the intention of appreciating everything that comes her way. The Gratitude Diaries blends personal experience, interviews with experts, and conversations with real people and celebrities to highlight the role gratitude plays in fulfillment and happiness.
The Buddha's Guide to Gratitude by Becca Anderson
Chapter 1 of The Buddha's Guide to Gratitude opens with, "Gratitude is one of the loveliest paths to personal growth." To illustrate, the book is filled with inspirational quotes and passages from spiritual leaders, as well as actionable recommendations from author Becca Anderson, to implement each chapter.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Author Gretchen Rubin was riding a city bus one day and realized she wasn't spending enough time on things that mattered to her most. With that, Rubin embarked on a year-long experiment test-driving scientific research and pop culture lessons to increase happiness. In 2018, The Happiness Project published its 10th edition, to include stories of other people's transformative happiness projects, a resource guide, and more.