Alex Wilson

Reading helps us explore new worlds and ideas, but it can also help us feel a little better about the life we're living. The next time you’re looking to add some inspiration and positivity to your life, check out the reading list below. You’ll learn how to find happiness with each read and how to build a more positive mindset in your current day-to-day.

1. “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin

If you think that you’re doing all the right things but could be happier, you’ll relate to this author’s year-long journey to find true contentment. Rubin takes calculated steps towards measurable goals to see if they ultimately make her happier. Her journey is super relatable, and you’ll be surprised at how much you laugh along with her.

2. “Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love & Life From Dear Sugar” by Cheryl Strayed

If you’re an avid reader of The Rumpus, you may already be familiar with the advice column “Dear Sugar.” Sugar, known in real life as Cheryl Strayed, compiled her universal life advice into this short read that will comfort you in ways you didn’t even know you needed. 

3. “Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

A companion piece to the best-selling “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” this book has illustrated guides on how to sort your household items, fold your clothes and more. Yes, it might seem silly on the surface, but after organizing your home with this guide you’ll feel that you’re headed in a more positive direction.

4. “Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being” by Martin E. P. Seligman

This book focuses on the definition of “well-being” and why we’ve been looking at it all wrong.  Dr. Seligman’s writing guides readers through his idea of what makes for a “good life” and how you can find it in your workplace, in your community and within yourself.

5. “The Architecture of Happiness” by Alain de Botton

Sometimes, positivity doesn’t come from within; it can also come from our environment.  “The Architecture of Happiness” shows us how we can use our surroundings to influence how we feel. De Botton will make you think of your workspace in a whole new light!

6. “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

If you’re not religious, you may want to start with a different book on this list. But, if you are, you’ll want to grab a copy ASAP so you can incorporate your spirituality into your search for positivity. In his book, Dr. Peale includes daily exercises to help you take small, daily steps to finding more happiness.

7. “What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women” by Nina Tassler

If Tassler’s name looks familiar, it’s because the former CBS chairwoman is responsible for some of your favorite TV shows. Since she left CBS in 2015, Tassler has been busy with many tasks — one of which was collaborating with a group of diverse female leaders on this book about the advice they’ve given their daughters. This read will give you some warm fuzzies and hope for the world’s future.

8. “The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner

NPR foreign correspondent Eric Weiner details his search for the happiest country on the planet in this autobiographical read.  His journey takes him across multiple continents, and his insights into what makes people happy in different regions will help you create (and find) your ideal definition of happiness.  This is an especially great read if you’re interested in travel, but lack the funds or time to pursue it.

9. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson

Sometimes, all you need to feel a little bit better is a classic self-help book. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…” is a reminder that trusting your intuitions and listening to your instincts is key to finding happiness; not everything is a life or death matter, meaning that you can slow down and focus on what’s important.

10. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

Pausch gave his titular last lecture after learning he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The lecture, seemingly focused on how to achieve your childhood dreams, was actually about the importance of overcoming the obstacles one encounters in life. This book will be the inspiration you need to seize the day.