The Science of Happiness Reading List

Tonight I am hosting a TEDxAsheville Salon, presenting Martin Seligman’s excellent video on positive psychology. Afterwards we’ll discuss the video. If you’re in Asheville, you should attend.

Positive psychology studies happiness and well-being. Unlike much of psychology (but not all), it studies people who are not feeling depressed, suicidal, addicted or schizophrenic. It studies those feeling elated and satisfied with their lives.

But why?

To learn what makes people happy and to teach others to be happy.

The secret: happiness can be learned. It can be increased by practicing specific techniques, similar to how muscles grow from strength training exercises (and just like muscles, happiness is partly genetic).

Over the past year, I’ve been reading about positive psychology, well-being and happiness. As a followup to TEDxAsheville Salon tonight, I’ve collected links and resources I’ve bookmarked on the science of happiness below. Please enjoy.

Videos & Films



Blogs & Web Sites

I don’t claim this list is complete. Nor have I finished reading all these. But it’s a start.

Have I missed any useful links on positive psychology? Add them in the comments below.


  1. Ed Melendez says:

    Hi Trevor. Definitely suggest checking out The Happiness Hypothesis:

    1. trevor says:

      Thanks for the recommendation. I just added it to the book list. From the Wikipedia article, this looks like an excellent book.

      If I had read the overview before the discussion yesterday, this would have been perfect as the discussion centered around science vs. traditional spiritual methods of creating happiness.

      Hope you’re doing well. It’s been years since we’ve talked. If you’re ever in Asheville, let me know and we’ll grab lunch.

  2. Pratt Bennet says:

    Great list, Trevor. Thanks for sharing.

    I would add a few that I have found very useful in my coaching work with clients seeking to become more engaged in both their personal and work lives:

    The How of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky (great on what kinds of activities research has shown actually help make people happier)

    Drive, by Daniel Pink (great on explaining what makes people happier, more motivated, more productive, and happier at work)

    Rewire Your Brain, by John Arden (great on learning how to break out of destructive/unproductive patterns and how to create and reinforce more productive ones).

    1. trevor says:

      Thanks for the suggestions. Just added them to my Amazon reading list.

  3. Tea says:

    Thanks! Great list

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