Once you enter adulthood, the word "summertime" no longer holds that same intoxicating promise of freedom and relaxation. But regardless of your work schedule, we'd argue that the warmer months are still a great time to catch up on your reading—beach days, road trips, and weekend getaways practically beg you to lose yourself in a new book.
While an engrossing fiction read should never be underestimated, we love the sense of purpose and fulfillment we get from exploring the self-help section, especially the books on happiness. With that, we scoured Amazon's best-sellers page in search of the all-time best books on the topic, compiling the below list of the top 10 best happiness reads according to the e-commerce site. Ranging from minimalism and positivity to personality psychology and the Dalai Lama, there's something for everyone. Read each book summary below, as quoted on Amazon.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
"In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be 'positive' all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people."
"In this straightforward handbook, [Bishop] gives you the tools and advice you need to demolish the slag weighing you down and become the truly unfu*ked version of yourself. 'Wake up to the miracle you are,' he directs. 'Here's what you've forgotten: You're a fu*king miracle of being.' It isn't other people that are standing in your way, it isn't even your circumstances that are blocking your ability to thrive, it's yourself and the negative self-talk you keep telling yourself."
"Fumio Sasaki is not an enlightened minimalism expert or organizing guru like Marie Kondo―he's just a regular guy who was stressed out and constantly comparing himself to others, until one day he decided to change his life by saying goodbye to everything he didn’t absolutely need. In Goodbye, Things Sasaki modestly shares his personal minimalist experience, offering specific tips on the minimizing process and revealing how the new minimalist movement can not only transform your space but truly enrich your life."
You Are a Badass
"In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach Jen Sincero serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want [and] create a life you totally love."
The Four Agreements
"In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love."
The Book of Joy
"Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet. This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecedented week together, from the first embrace to the final good-bye."
Make Your Bed
"On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their commencement day. He shared the ten principles he learned during Navy SEAL training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves—and the world—for the better. Admiral McRaven's original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage."
The Road Back to You
"The Enneagram is an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively. In The Road Back to You Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile forge a unique approach―a practical, comprehensive way of accessing Enneagram wisdom and exploring its connections with Christian spirituality for a deeper knowledge of God and of ourselves."
"Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable. We all have a voice in our head. It's what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we're not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we're stuck with this voice—that there's nothing we can do to rein it in—but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It's a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it's something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation."
The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers
"Eight years before his death, Fred Rogers met author, educator, and speaker Amy Hollingsworth. What started as a television interview turned into a wonderful friendship spanning dozens of letters detailing the driving force behind this gentle man of extraordinary influence. Educator? Philosopher? Psychologist? Minister? Here is an intimate portrait of the real Mister Rogers."
Subscribe to our newsletter for more book and entertainment roundups.